THE SHORT OF IT:
La Comarca is a lot like a young teenager.
It has a lot of potential, and some beauty is starting to emerge, but there are some noticeable blemishes, being around it can be a little awkward, and it takes a lot of money.
In two or three years, guest will arrive to find beautiful, hewn stone rooms with wooden floors, sizeable bathrooms, cactus gardens, a stream that wanders through the property, a spacious pool, and a full-service spa.
Right now, they find dusty landscaping with a few catci studding odd corners, a restaurant that frequently isn’t open for dinner and serves scraps of fancy bread for breakfast. (And bring your own butter, because, despite the limited breakfast menu, they tend to run out of it. The cows who roam the alfalfa field behind the hotel are apparently unwilling to share.) Add to that the “no frills” beds sporting nothing more than sheets and blankets, bathrooms with paint-stained tile, and toilet seats that aren’t quite screwed on as tightly as they should be.
It’s not to say I didn’t have a good time at La Comarca. It was just disappointing. Management has a long way to go before catching up to the grandeur that they advertise on their Web site.
What the Web site showed: (with the caveat that the hotel would be fully operational in June, 2005)
-Rooms with plush furniture, pottery, and artwork
-There’s a heated pool
-a full spa and a gymnasium
-a restaurant featuring regional cuisine
What we found: (In late July, 2005)
-A bed with a sheet and a blanket. Two small night tables were our only furniture.
-An empty pool
-A spa and gymnasium still under construction
-A restaurant that wasn’t open either of the two nights we stayed there (one night, they said they were shut down because it was going to be painted. The painting wasn’t done until the following night, but the restaurant was closed both nights.)
-There was a library?
The buildings are stunning, stone edifices coloured to match the orange hills surrounding them. (Purmamarca is famous for the multi-coloured rocks in the area.) The floors are either hardwood or tile, and separate cabañas with fireplaces and kitchenettes can be rented.
The furnished rooms are stunning. However, it seems like the place was supposed to be up and fully running around mid-2005, but they are nowhere near being finished.
My fiancée and I believe we were the first ones ever to stay in our room, as knobs and handles still had plastic covering them, like they had just been bought. Another hint we got was when a workman barged into our room, carpenter belt and all. I don’t blame him: I’m sure nobody at the front desk bothered to tell him our room had occupants. And as Spartan as our room was, it didn’t come equipped with even a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
In addition, we woke up to a chorus of hammers at 7:30 a.m., as the day’s work commenced, and they kept ringing well into the evening.
It seems to me the hotel is having trouble getting up to speed (and maybe having enough rooms open to keep any kind of cash flow) so they rent out rooms that aren’t quite ready.
We paid 130 pesos a night, far too much for what we got from it.
Note: It’s common practice for hotels in Argentina to ask for a 50 percent deposit up front, especially for a multi-night stay. They usually won’t accept credit cards, and tell guests that they must make the deposit into a bank account. (In Argentina, that often means a wait of 25 minutes or more.) La Comarca is no exception.
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- Also Known As:
- La Comarca Hotel