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“Service surpassing far more expensive hotels” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Los Ponchos Apart Boutique

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Los Ponchos Apart Boutique
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Los Alamos 3321, El Calafate 9405, Argentina   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 71 Hotels in El Calafate
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Service surpassing far more expensive hotels”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Having stayed in many hotels in many places in the world, none of us can remember any with better service than Los Ponchos Apart. They were gracious and hospitable throughout our three night stay but went really above and beyond the night before we were scheduled to make a somewhat complicated trip (involving a bus to Rio Gallegos to catch an internal flight and another transfer to a very remote location on the east coast). My husband discovered that Sol Air had his old passport number and couldn’t change it and might not let him board the plane. The wonderful staff at Los Ponchos spent many hours solving this for us: by phone and on line, saving us from a disruption that would have wrecked the remainder of our family trip. This on top of many other services: restaurant recommendations and reservations, taxis, help with excursions, a surprise bottle of champagne for my birthday: altogether surpassing the service we’ve had in hotels costing several times as much. It is also a lovely, peaceful place to return to after adventures around Calafate. The same simple, harmonious taste evident in the owner’s antique poncho collection is apparent in the lobby and rooms. The small kitchens are clean and outfitted with exactly what you need and nothing more. Though it required taking a taxi to dinner, we were happy to be away from the very touristy center; we also were the last picked up and first returned from the ice trek and trip to Estancia Cristina. While the view to the lake is not pristine (a half built hotel marks the real estate bubble), the dogs chasing cars driving past give you a feeling of being in a place where people live. Worth every penny and much more.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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150 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Norcross, Georgia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Our family of 8 spent an incredible 3 days over New Year's 2013 at Los Ponchos. From the moment you walk in the front door, you are greeted with a warm smile and attention to detail. Pamela stayed up late and waited for us to arrive so she could personally see that everything was wonderful for us.

The room set up at Los Ponchos is ideal. A first floor sitting area and full kitchen and a second floor bedroom that overlooks Argentina Lake. The floors of the first floor are heated which are a real treat on your feet in the morning.

If you have a group of 6, here is a small cottage in the back of the main house that can be rented for groups. I don't believe there is information about this cottage on their website, so ask them when you email or call them.

We had four rooms - so we were able to take over an entire wing of the hotel - which was wonderful for our family. We played games and ate breakfast together (with some of the best fresh squeezed orange juice in the world) in the central area and then retreated to our rooms for bed.

On New Year's Eve Ignacio prepared the traditional mate tea for us - which, we admit tastes a bit like dirt - but is a very popular Argentinean beverage. Then at 11:00 pm the hotel provided champagne and canapés for everyone to ring in the New Year.

A magical place. We're looking forward to returning soon.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

We had a wonderful stay at Los Ponchos. The hotel is small, but has everything you'll need: attentive staff, a comfortable room, and delicious breakfast served in the room. The hotel is in a beautiful area with wonderful views of the lake. The rooms are two-story apartment-style and equipped with everything you'd want in a small apartment. It was a pleasure to stay and we'd recommend it to others.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Well before our arrival at Los Ponchos, the staff there graciously responded (in excellent English, I might add) with helpful suggestions to our emailed queries about transportation and activity options. During our stay (two days before a short trip to El Chalten, and then one other day) the staff was unflaggingly helpful, whether booking a day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier, arranging for lunch to take along on that trip, providing restaurant recommendations in town and making reservations there, and outlining our travel options to El Chalten and booking the one we preferred.

While not really "walking distance" from the heart of town, taxis were plentiful and inexpensive. Do not rule out Los Ponchos because of location. We are walkers, though, and found it easy enough to walk back from the Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve on the shore of Lago Argentino (a great "arrival day" activity which should not be missed).

We are used to communal breakfasts in the B&Bs and small hotels or inns in which we usually stay, and it was a lovely treat to have breakfast (including some of the most delicious medialunas we had during 3 weeks in Argentina) delivered to our room each morning at a time of our choosing.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Los Ponchos Apartments for three nights in November 2012.

Location and Description : These are fabulous, modern apartments, suitable for all travellers – couples, families, as well as single travellers. While we were there, two large families were staying as well, but when this happens, they accommodate the family in the other wing of the apartments, so as not to disturb guests. The furnishings and artwork throughout Los Ponchos are beautiful and it really creates a homely feel for your stay. Upon arrival and driving from the airport to the apartments, I was initially a little concerned as to the location, which appeared to be quite a bit out of town. However, having spent three nights at the apartments, I can honestly say, that it was not an issue for us at all. The apartments are approximately 35 minutes by car from the airport and about 5 minutes by car to the town. You can walk to town, which is an easy flat walk, but it will take you approximately 45 minutes strolling. This was not a problem for us, as the times that we chose to walk, we were not locked into a time frame and just walked casually along the water front to the main street taking photos.

Dining : Breakfasts were lovely and varied each day. They were served outside our room on the indoor verandas, which I thought was a really nice thing. If for some reason you decide not to dine out in the evening, you can order your meal from two local restaurants and they will deliver to your room. We did this twice, as we were exhausted from our full days sight-seeing. One of the restaurants is however within walking distance of the apartment, but the food delivered to us one evening was amazing! Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the staff will be able to help you.

Wi-Fi : Free Wi-Fi was available to guests.

The Staff : Were helpful with any of our questions and went out of their way to help us one day, to organise an English speaking taxi driver to take us to Perioto Merino Glacier.

Accommodation : The apartments are excellent. Fully equipped kitchens, modern, spacious with all the amenities that you need for a great stay.

NOTE: My only complaint, which is more of a concern rather than a complaint, which I would like Management to seriously consider. The floors at Los Ponchos are beautiful polished timber floors - but and this is a big but, they cover them throughout the property (and in the rooms) with rugs and mats. As lovely as it looks, it is really dangerous. I cannot tell you how many times my husband and I nearly slipped over and hurt ourselves. In the end, we had to continually make a conscious effort when we were walking, to walk around the mats and not on them. Please take this feedback into consideration, as I believe that someone may slip and really hurt themselves.

Highlight : Prior to us leaving and having done extensive research, we booked a full day trip to Upsala and Spegazzin Glacier. We chose Option 1 with Marpatag. This is definitely not a cheap tour, but it is worth every single cent. If it is in your budget, I highly recommend you spend the money and take the full day – you won’t regret it. http://www.crucerosmarpatag.com/

Would we recommend Los Ponchos Apartments to others? Absolutely.

Regards
Cherie
Sydney, Australia

Room Tip: A corner room on the ground floor.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
82 hotel reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

Los Ponchos is a beautiful property with absolutely fantastic staff who speak excellent English. It has ~8-10 units (and one large cottage in the back); our unit was two levels with the bedroom on the second level and a small living room area with flat screen TV, bathroom and tiny kitchen on the lower level. Three of us shared the unit, which was one too many (the couch on the lower level can be made up as a bed). Too cramped for three, it would have been perfect for 2 people. The upstairs bed was extremely comfortable and the room was beautiful. The lower level floor is slippery in socks but no problem in bare feet or shoes.

The breakfast was, by far, the best on our travels. Strong coffee (rare, it seems, for the region), cereals, the best medialunas (small, sweet croissants) we've had, toast with butter/jam, yogurt, ham/cheese, orange juice, etc. This is brought to your room on a tray at exactly the time that you specify the night before. The welcome drink when we arrived was also a nice touch.

The staff are lovely and willing to help with anything you need - arranging glacier tours, calling taxis, recommending restaurants, etc.

The downsides have been described well by others but I'll echo them:
- The hotel is 1.8 miles (40 min walk) from town. Others have said they've walked it in 30 min; maybe we're slow but it took us a solid 40 min each time. And the last part is up a very steep hill. Taxis cost $7 USD each way - which can add quite a lot on to your total costs (one plus was that every taxi driver we got knew where the hotel was by name). I wish they had a shuttle; that would make a huge difference.
- The beautiful views are slowly disappearing. A huge sprawling structure was being built directly across from the hotel when we were there, obstructing the view from the lower floor.
- We could hear noise from other units but our neighbors were fairly quiet - so no problem for us but I could see this being a problem with louder neighbors.

Overall, I'd recommend it but suggest also comparing prices at hotels in town, factoring in the taxi costs.

Finally, a tip for El Calafate in general: be sure to bring a lot of cash. Many restaurants in El Calafate will not take credit cards and there are long lines at the ATMs (which often run out of cash). Try Banco Patagonia on the main street slightly out of town (in the direction of Los Ponchos); we had the best luck there (shorter lines, available cash) and were able to take out $1000 ARS (other ATMs only allowed us to take out $500 ARS at a time - about $100 USD - and charged a $5 USD fee each time, in addition to the fees charged by our home bank).

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harpenden, UK
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We had a lovely 3 night stay at Los Ponchos.

The staff were absolutely amazing, better than many 5 star hotels we have stayed at. Nothing was too much trouble. They helped us booked restaurants, organise tours, arranged packed lunches, etc..... They made us feel incredibly welcome, every time we arrived back they were waiting at the door to greet us and find out how our day had gone.

The hotel itself is fairly small (probably just 10 rooms). The whole hotel was decorated to a very high standard and absolutely beautiful. It had a lot of character. For once, the interior photos on the website were a good reflection of the hotel itself.

Our room was over two floors with floor to ceiling windows. The bedroom upstairs had a huge comfy bed and two rocking chairs by the window to admire the view. Downstairs was a well equipped kitchen, small dining table and sofa. The bathroom was also downstairs (which may not suit everyone) but it was nice and modern. Everything was spotlessly clean.

Continental breakfast was delivered each morning to the room. It was fairly basic, cereal, croissants and bread, but delicious.

However, there were a few downsides to the hotel, which is the reason for giving it 4 stars.

The hotel is located outside El Calafate and up a very steep hill. There are no cafes or restaurants within easy walking distance, so you would need a car or taxis to get around. The location is however, incredibly peaceful.

The views form the hotel are stunning but more and more is being built around it, including in front of the hotel. The views from upstairs are still amazing but the ones from downstairs are being obscured.

The rooms had thin walls so there was noise from neighbours. Heating also seemed to be controlled by a central thermostat for the whole hotel, so the only way to control the temperature is by opening and closing windows. Wifi in the rooms wasn't reliable although it was available in the lobby.

Having said that, the above were all minor points and overall this is a fantastic hotel which I would definitely stay at again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Los Ponchos Apart Boutique

Address: Los Alamos 3321, El Calafate 9405, Argentina
Location: Argentina > Patagonia > Province of Santa Cruz > El Calafate
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in El Calafate
#2 Luxury Hotel in El Calafate
#2 Romantic Hotel in El Calafate
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Los Ponchos Apart Boutique 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
LOS PONCHOS APART BOUTIQUE, is located at 2 km from the downtown of El Calafate, between steppe and glaciers. You can live a unique experience in our cozy rooms, decorated with Hispano-American art pieces that connect the guests to our cultural identity. From the ten wide and comfortable rooms you can enjoy the impressive view of the lake Lago Argentino and admire the beauty of the Patagonic skies. In Los Ponchos we work to make our guests feel at home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Los Ponchos Apart Boutique Hotel El Calafate
Los Ponchos Apart Boutique El Calafate, Argentina - Patagonia

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