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Reviewed February 11, 2013

We are a family of 4 with two boys aged 9 and 7 on a gap year together and have just spent 4 days at Hotel Ayelen, a rejuvenated hotel that dominates the small village of Penitentes, just a few kilometres from the foot of Aconcagua. The new owner, Steve, now in his second season in charge, is really turning the place around and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

The clues to the hotel’s former glories were clearly fading under the previous management. Now however, investment and refurbishment continues apace. And actually you forgive any work in progress (characterised by some dated bathroom suites and maybe the odd sign of wear) because the food is excellent, the service from the team is friendly and good, and the advice and guidance from the omnipresent Steve (he really doesn’t have a twin, he just works very long hours!) means that you quickly feel informed as to how to get the most from your stay.

We certainly were not disappointed with the buffet breakfast, included in the night rate, featuring delicious egg and bacon, a selection of cereals for sweet and non-sweet teeth, fresh fruit salad (this was proper fruit salad, not the fizzy mush we have sometimes had elsewhere,) complemented by cake and fresh bread, with unlimited fresh coffee and teas.

Although not included, there are good value options for lunch and dinner. You could get a packed lunch if you are off trekking, or a late lunch of toasted sandwiches and picadas. Dinner, (which most people take, thus creating a good ambiance) is provided from a high quality menu with plenty of choices, some reasonably priced wine and a generous and inventive selection of nibbles ahead of the main event!

There is a large games room on the downstairs floor, with table tennis, table football, pool, and a volleyball court, not often you find all these facilities in one place, the boys loved it and this was well used by guests.

A unique at the Ayelen is the make-up of the guests, and the sociability that this promotes. As much as there are people just passing through to or from Chile, there are groups who are about to climb, or who have just climbed Aconcagua. Their relief and enjoyment, if the latter, is both warming and inspiring. Their anticipation, if they are about to ascend, is tangible, and you share the sense of excitement as you discuss their expedition, their hopes, their planning, perhaps their sacrifices. This atmosphere is enhanced by the climbing photos from previous expeditions dotted around the building.

Our strong impression began well ahead of our stay with Steve’s helpful and informative approach by email too. We have no hesitation in recommending the Ayelen Hotel and look forward to a return visit with some greater climbing challenges once the boys are older.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Badersontour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

We stayed here the night before and night after our Aconcagua trip. I don't think we appreciated it before but as a place to come back to it was superb. First experience of civilisation after 2 weeks camping, there was plenty of hot water for all of us to have the worlds longest showers, clean rooms, excellent service. The food was phenomenal - great choice and great wait staff. Steve the manager was extremely accommodating and I would not hesitate to go back here. Thanks for looking after us all!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Sophie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

During a recent trip to Aconcagua, our group spent a night before our climb and a night after the climb in the Ayelen Hotel in Los Penetentes.
The buildings are old and in need of repair but the excellent service, hospitality of the owner (Steve) and the great food far outweigh any negatives. We were forced to stay overnight due to a problem with the road and Steve went out of his way to accomodate us (and the hundreds of other people that flocked to the venue) and make sure that we had a good nights rest after our climb.
Well done steve and trust that youe will realise your dreams for the future of this establishment.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank neilpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

We went to Aconcagua et we were surprised to find such a good hotel so far away of the great center of Mendoza. We had heard that the hotel had not been modified since the 60s, but the service, the cleaniness, the friendly staff, the quality of the food (wow, it beats any high end restaurant in the big city with such details in the presentation), the ambiance, all made us forget that some repairs are still needed. We heard that the new administration is investing a lot in the infracstructures: we wish them all the best. They deserve it. We recommand this hotel to anyone who wants to feel at home/and wellcomed after the big mountain!

Nous sommes alles faire de la montagne et avons ete surpris par lambiance, le service et la qualite des repas que nous avons eu. Oui, lhotel est viellot et necessite des reparations importantes. Mais lambiance conviviale, la gentillesse du staff et la qualite des repas et grosseurs des portions compensent amplement pour ces petits desagrements. Cest sur, que pour linstant, ce nest pas un hotel de luxe, mais la structure est la et la volonte aussi. Pour moi, je ne mattendais pas a cette qualite si loin de tout. Il semble que les nouveaux proprio investissent les revenus sur lhotel: je leur souhaite bon succes!Christine C

Room Tip: Any side for the rooms are good. The view is quite exquisite. Steve the co-owner with his spouse are working hard at updating all the rooms.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Guy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

An oasis in the Penitentes !!! For those of us with Aconcagua on our mind this is the last taste of civilisation or indeed the first on the way back. Either way , its a great place , good food , friendly and wine to wash the atmosphere down !!! Well done to all concerned

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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Thank didicum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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