Subject: Buenos Aires neighborhood
Hi Candice,

We go often to Buenos Aires. I believe this is the present situation: The de-luxe hotels (5*) such us the Alvear Palace, the Four Seasons, Sofitel Buenos Aires, and the former Plaza hotel now a Marriott, and a few others have rates in dollars from 250 up (rack rates).

Due to the collapse of the Argentine peso very nice hotels (4*) have much lower rates (easily obtained through a travel agency) and are also very nice.

I do not know very much about the Kempinski hotels but I have been told that they have very small rooms and that they are not as good as one would imagine.

We have been staying at the Argenta Tower hotel in Calle Juncal near Plaza San Martin, This is a nice four stars, with a good location, a good bar and restaurant, and a good buffet breakfast. Rooms vary a little in size, most of the time we had nice ample rooms, if I have to complain about anything it would be that they have too much furniture in the room.

I have been told also that the Hotel Bel Air Buenos Aires, Calle Arenales 1462 is very pleasant, It is advisable to pay a little more and get a superior room in this hotel. The Argenta Tower has a rack rate of $165 but through a travel agency we paid only $70. With the Bel Air Buenos Aires it's the same story.

I guess that if you wish to stay in a beautiful, luxury hotel, you have to go for the Alvear, or Sofitel or one of those. Probably the travel agency can get you a better rate also.

This is the way they work in Argentina, the travel agencies have wholesale rates that are difficult to get by other means.

Note: Do not miss MALBA the Museum of Latin American Art, Ave Figueroa Alcorta 3415, and have lunch next door in a very , very nice restaurant called Museo Renaud. ( Very chic, modern, good food, lots of ambiance)

I am sure you know that you cannot pick up a taxi in the street but have to call them by phone, there tons of good taxi companies, one of them is called Radio Alo Taxi, 4855 0455 or 4857-1111. There are many good remise car companies too in the yellow pages . Remises (a car with driver no meter) as a good or better than taxis and charge the same. Argentines take them all the time. Of course most likely the remise car called by a concierge will be more expensive. Hope this helps,

Graziella , Miami Beach.