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“Quite an expensive horseback ride, it turns out, but the ambience was nice.”

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Estancia El Ombu de Areco
Certificate of Excellence
Philadelphia area
Level Contributor
437 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
“Quite an expensive horseback ride, it turns out, but the ambience was nice.”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

We stayed the night--basically $400 (US) for the two of us, not counting the transportation there and back. Since we'd not been to the Pampas before it was worth it, and my spouse enjoyed the hour-long horseback rice (he and three others, with two guides). The estancia is full of antiques and nice twists of decor. But on reflection it's quite a chunk of change for a piece of the countryside.
The owners were busy with various business activities and did not interact with guests, at least not English-speaking ones, as much as we'd been led to expect from the reviews. However, lunch (under the trees) was excellent--many kinds of meat, and two salads, with wine. Hawks circling the sky, and interesting dogs of most every kind were part of the experience. Doves coo'd throughout.
There are two swimming pools which other guests were enjoying, and there was a ping pong table that got some use. But primarily it was a relaxation experience.
The evening "cena" (light supper) was a tasty quiche-type tarta and a lasagna-type pasta, followed by a fruit cocktail tart. Breakfast was the customary liquid yoghurt, juice, coffee with scant cold cuts and breads. Ample, but nothing special.
On reflection, glad we went once but one night is enough.

Room Tip: The shower was dreadful--you might check yours out before agreeing to the room.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank NorthArrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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274 reviews from our community

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English first
Minnesota
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 24, 2013

After spending the Christmas Holiday in Buenos Aires, we ended our trip to this beautiful country at Estancia El Ombu. Our family of five (3 teens & parents) booked two rooms and spent three fabulous days relaxing and riding at this quite oasis that takes you back in time. Besides all the wonderful horseback rides, our teens enjoyed playing soccer on the field, the game room, the amazing meals and watching the gauchos working and getting the horses ready each day. My husband and I enjoyed sitting by the pools or patio areas relaxing and enjoying Malbec with all our appetizers and meals, the wonderful lunch and show each day and the horseback riding. I must mention the special attention that Diego, the owner’s son, took in our planning and reservation. He is truly the reason we ended up at El Ombu. After several failed attempts on our part to book bus tickets on-line (lack of Spanish and problems with the Chevallier bus web site), Diego offered to book our bus tickets himself which was a lifesaver!! We just paid him back once at the estancia. He made sure everything was in order for our travelers to and from and he was so prompt at answering my e-mails. Because we were heading straight to the airport on our final afternoon, we chose to have Diego book us a private van which was there on time, very professional and got us to the airport smoothly. Diego and staff also personally chose horses for us and got them ready each day. The staff at El Ombu takes exceptional care and concern not only with their riders but with their horses which are very healthy and happy! The food staff and servers at El Ombu also need a “shout out.” They were amazing. One early morning, my husband & I were just enjoying some quite time on the patio and before we knew it, we had coffee, breads & jams delivered to us. Amazing service! Lastly, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 50th birthday at El Ombu and I will never forget it! At lunch, Diego and staff delivered a birthday cake to my table and Oscar, the Gaucho guitar player, came and sat by me and sang a song. An amazing place to spend a holiday with my family and start a new half century! Need a relaxing break in the country, book a stay at El Ombu…you will be happy you did!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank bigcountryMinnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
51 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Our group of five spent a lovely day at this estancia in December. The weather was perfect for a day of relaxation. While perhaps not an "authentic" estancia experience, I'd recommend El Ombu simply for its relaxation. We took an hour horseback ride through fields of cows (beware the mosquitoes!) and then had lunch under the trees.

This estancia attracts a lot of day visitors in addition to its overnight guests, but it never felt crowded, and guests have full run of the place, including two lovely swimming pools.

Lunch included a wide variety of grilled meats and chicken, plus several salads suitable for vegetarians (apparently, with notice, a more substantial vegetarian meal can be provided). Dessert is included, as were empanadas to greet us and yerba mate/sweets at our departure. After lunch, the "gauchos" performed some horse tricks for tips.

There are lots of lovely, friendly animals around. The dogs are very sweet, and I even saw some cats scurrying around. The owner doesn't live here anymore, but visits often, it seems, and brings her dogs. She was very friendly, as were all the staff.

There's a small gift store on premises.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank maxfrancis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Level Contributor
31 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2012

What a great way to spend a day! Don't be dismayed by the poor and terrible ratings. These seem to be older and whatever problems existed last year and the year before don't seem to be problems as of October 2012. This estancia was recommended to us as a "more authentic" experience. If you're a turista looking to led around on a string and just hang around and watch dancing, singing and equestrian performances, then El Ombú is not for you. But if you are a traveler who likes to experience the culture of the places you visit, then El Ombú is definitely worth the effort. Yes, the estancia is accessible only via a dirt road, but their website warns visitors about this, and when it rains they pick you up in a 4-wheel drive vehicle -- you will get muddy! So what! The food was great. If you're a vegetarian (why did you go to Argentina, the land of beef, in the first place?), you may want to ask them if they provide alternatives to the "traditional Argentine asado" which consists mainly of meat -- and delicious meat at that! The gauchos were great during our horseback ride, and I never felt unsafe (and this was my first horseback riding experience). Some of the staff speak English. In fact, Patrice(?), I think that was here name, the manager of the place, appeared to be fluent in English, French and German based on her interaction with all of the guests. In reading the bad reviews, it seems that the folks who wrote them signed up for something that they weren't prepared for -- in other words, it was their own fault for not having researched the place. My wife, our daughter, and I had a great time! Our daughter, who is studying in Buenos Aires, had been to another estancia in Lujan the week before, and she said it didn't compare to El Ombú. For those who need their hands held constantly, I would look into that one. But if you want to truly soak in the culture of the country, then El Ombú is the place to go!

Room Tip: Didn't spend the night, but will definitely do so next time!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank George P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
53 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2012

My friend and I came to El ombu for a day stay. I thought at first that the price $60 was a little excessive but it was well worth it. We had been in Buenos Aires for five days and wanted a chance to see the Pampas...or as close you could get to it without going to far away. We had a great time. We arrived at 11 am and stayed until 6 pm. We got to sit outside (sunny day in July - chilly but warm in the sun) drinking wine and eating homemade empanadas. then we took a horse ride around the grounds for about an hour and a half, all while taking in the animals and scenery. If you asked the head gaucho, Oscar, for advice or help he was more than happy to help you. There was a lady in my group who had never ridden a horse in her life and by the end of the trek she wanted to know when she could go again. I have ridden horses before, many years ago, and at no time felt uncomfortable on the trek. The lunch at 2 pm was delicious! The best steak and other meats that i have had in a long time! We even got treated to music by Oscar himself. Dessert and a whole bottle of wine was included. After lunch we had the option to ride bikes, go on the horses again or go on a carriage ride.
If you have an extra day or two and dont mind getting on a bus at Retiro and stopping at San Antonio de Areco and taking a remi (60 pesos) then head to El Ombu!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank ctyankee05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi
Level Contributor
47 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2012

Estancia El Ombú is a genuine Argentine pampas working ranch, where visitors are invited to share the experience -- horizontal beauty of the pampa vistas, horse riding at an amble or a mustering pace, superb range-fed beef, cosy period accommodation, and a daily routine ranging from the bucolic to the chaotic. It's is not a posh hotel and it is not a tourist trap: it's the real thing.

I browsed through the 100+ entries in the 2012 Visitors Book and was struck that in six languages, there was not a discouraging word (assuming the Chinese comment was also complimentary). There was unqualified praise for the food, staff, horses, accommodation in about that order. More than one guest said their visit was the highlight of their Argentine experience, wished they had come here first, happy they saved it for last, or planned to come back soon.

The general enthusiasm seems to largely eclipse any concern expressed on TA about the 6 km (3.7 mi) unpaved access road, which, from our experience as regular visitors, can become a challenging drive for a couple of days each month on average when there is heavy rain. But the estancia has a two 4x4s plus one Unimog with a trailer for fetching guests from the tarmac road. The majordomo, Antonio Corea, is one of the best mud drivers I have ever seen (I've lived in Africa for 40 years). It's all part of the experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Harvey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayward, CA
Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2012

Our vacation to Buenos Aires was mostly spent in the city with a couple of side trips to Le Tigre and Colonia, but we wanted to experience more of the rural Argentina. My partner had written a report on gauchos and the pampas in the 4th grade and so we headed out to the country to this estancia at the end of our time in Argentina.

We took the bus from BA to San Antonio de Areco which was incredibly easy to do and cheap: only $49 pesos for bus ticket. It was a great way to see the Argentine countryside and a couple of other smaller villages where the bus stopped along the way. It is about a 2 hour trip on the bus to San Antonio. Once we arrived we took a taxi from the terminal to the ranch. The driver knew right where is was - about 6 miles or so outside of the village. The road to the ranch was a bit scary and luckily it was not raining because I am sure when it does rain, it would make the dirt road a mess.

Once we arrived at the ranch the hospitality started right away. They were in the midst of a party for a large bus group who had just had lunch and were now singing and dancing. The staff person took us to our room and suggested that we join the party. We dropped our bags and joined the crowd. It was fabulous. They shortly moved us to an area nearby where they did several demonstrations of gaucho traditions on horseback. There was seating available for those who chose not to stand to watch. We briefly met Eva, the owner, who then described what we were seeing. It was spectacular. After this the group was invited to go horseback or carriage riding. We decided to hang back since we would be there for two nights and would have our chance. I am glad we did. While the others rode, we strolled around the grounds finding out where things were and ended back to the patio, sat and had a drink and empanadas-like afternoon tea. We got to meet many of the delightful dogs that call the ranch there home. If you are not a dog person, this might not be the place for you. Our room was nice with bathroom ensuite and plenty of space.

The weather was glorious so we just sat and absorbed the atmosphere and quiet. The cook came to find us and asked if dinner at 8:00 p.m. was fine and if fish was alright for the entree. We agreed. It was pack to the room to unpack. There was a wood fire burning in the stove and it smelled wonderful and homey. We grabed our books and headed for what we called the Great Room. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace and comfortable furniture, so we just made ourselves at home. There was also a pool table in the adjoining room, a games chest, a chess board, etc. It really felt like home. At 8:00, we moved to the dining room which maintained the rustic charm of the ranch. It was at this time that we realized that we were the only two guests at the ranch this evening. Our table in front of another roaring fire was set just for us. The meal was divine (starter, entree and dessert) and included wine. The cook was also our server and she was wonderful-checking on us, but also giving us space. We slept incredibly well -probably one of the best nights rest of the entire trip.

Breakfast the next morning was simple: juice, fruit, cereal if you wished, croissants, rolls, coffee, ham and cheese. This is the typical European style breakfast. If you are looking for bacon and eggs- you are not going to get it. The weather was again superb, so after breakfast we wandered around the ranch some more - just loving the peacefulness and beauty. It is a photographer's paradise. One of the staff came to find us to invite us to go horseback riding and so we agreed. Neither of us has done much riding, so there was a level of apprehension there, but again, hospitality saved the day. Oscar, an original gaucho and in his early 70's, got us on our horses and took us on a gentle two hour ride on the pampas: through fields, over streams, next to herds of cattle and other horses. It was ideal. Once back, we sat on the patio again and discovered that we were being joined by two couples who were out just for a day trip to the ranch. At lunch they seated us at a common table and we had fantastic conversation and comraderie. The meal was a typical Argentine parilla with the asado bbq. It was amazing. The meat just kept coming and it was supplemented with potato salad, green salad, and a cabbage salad. It was accompanied by a fine Argentine Malbec wine which just kept flowing throughout the meal. Dessert was a ice cream treat with dulce de leche covered in a chocolate shell. After lunch Oscar, the gaucho, came and sang us some traditional songs which was followed by a short demostration by one of the younger gauchos with his horse. It was delightful. Our new friends left to head back to the city and we once again had the ranch to ourselves. We grabbed our books and headed to the Great Room once again and read for awhile and played a game of pool. At one point the cook came to offer us an afternoon snack which we gladly accepted. Dinner was at 8 p.m. again.

That evening we were joined by a family who had moved to Argentina from Houston as the gentleman worked for an oil company. We had a delightful conversation and evening with them. After dinner we walked around a bit and were amazed at the stars you could see since this is far enough away from BA. After breakfast the next morning (same as the day before) we packed up our bags and waited for the hired car to take us to the airport. For some reason, the one that was slated to take us did not show up, so the staff arranged for another car and it was there quickly. It was about an hour and a half ride back to the airport.

We have a family tradition on vacations of talking about our favorite and not so favorite parts of the vacation at our last dinner. For both of us, this was indeed the highlight. It is hard to describe the hospitality that was offered to us from the entire staff-from the owner, to the kitchen staff, to the housekeeping staff, to the gauchos and even the maintenance staff. As gay men traveling outside of a city environment and who speak little to no Spanish, we were not sure what to expect. We were blown away. There are several options when looking at staying on a ranch on the pampas, we would highly recommend this one. We were so glad that this was the way that we ended our time in Argentina.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank jimboCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Estancia El Ombu de Areco

Property: Estancia El Ombu de Areco
Address: RP 31, cuartel VI,Villa Lia, San Antonio de Areco | Argentina, San Antonio de Areco 2760, Argentina
Location: Argentina > Central Argentina > Province of Buenos Aires > San Antonio de Areco
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in San Antonio de Areco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Estancia El Ombu de Areco 3.5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Recreational activities: Guests can go horse back riding throughout the 300-hectare estancia accompanied by gauchos, enjoying the Pampa with its birds and animals and observing the cattle grazing or feeding their young or wander around the park among the ancient trees and scented flowers. There are several horse rides during the day.They last 1 hour or 1 hour and a half aprox. If you prefer longer or shorter rides, it can be arranged at the estancia. We have horses for both beginners and experienced ridersWe also offer rides in a sulky with a Gaucho driver for those not wishing to ride horses, and bird watching. There are several bycicles available that one can use to get to the river inside the estancia.We have a play room with games and a billard table, soccer and volleyball field And if it´s hot enough, two large swimming ools. Also a game room featuring a fireplace for winter, pool table, ping-pong, foosball, and various board games for children and adults. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Estancia El Ombu De Areco Hotel San Antonio De Areco

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