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Not Much Cool at the Five Cool Rooms

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Honduras 4742, Buenos Aires, Argentina
April 15, 2009 at 4:26 PM | by | ()

Allow us to introduce our newest contributor. J. Jennings Moss has started a new business travel blog over at Portfolio.com which focuses on business travel. Recently, he scoped out the hotel scene in Buenos Aires. Got any questions about biz travel? Send 'em to us and we'll have him answer them for you.

Don't be fooled by the name. There isn't much that's "cool" about the Five Cool Rooms Hotel in Buenos Aires.

A disclosure to begin with: Five Cool Rooms was not our first choice for a boutique hotel. That honor, based on reviews in HotelChatter and word-of-mouth from friends, was Home Hotel. But Home was booked during our trip in early April, and we were swayed by the generally positive write-ups we’d seen of Five Cool Rooms, as well as by its advertising and jazzy website.

Five Cool Rooms is in the heart of Palermo Soho on Honduras (not too far from the Home Hotel, which is on the same street, but one neighborhood over in Palermo Viejo). At first glance, the hotel has a trendy feel to it—concrete floors, while walls, minimalistic furnishings, well-placed plant life that doesn’t overwhelm. But what first come across as a cool vibe soon ends up being just downright cold.

The service was sorely lacking—a request to help make reservations for a day trip to Colonia in Uruguay ended up being directions to a travel agency across the street; as we were checking out and asked the woman behind the counter to call us a cab, she looked at us and said it would be difficult to get one because it was raining. Um, the bad weather is precisely why we’re asking you to call. We could get a friendly “Buenos dias” or “Buenos tardes” from the front desk as we made our way in and out most of the time (the poor guy working the overnight shift, however, was quite friendly).

Room Reaction
We booked a medium room because of the promise of a balcony (the hotel has four room sizes, the majority of which are closet-sized small rooms that open up onto the hotel’s courtyard) but we weren’t that impressed. While it had a king-sized bed, there wasn’t much room for anything else. A small desk could fit a laptop, but not much more. The balcony allowed us to step outside, but nothing else, as there wasn’t any furniture.

The bathroom was serviceable and the shower had great pressure, but on our second day we discovered a long black hair in the Jacuzzi tub, which clearly wasn’t ours. We had free WiFi, a flat-screen TV hung from the ceiling in a corner, a room safe, and a small fridge with a handful of mini-bar items.

A continental breakfast was included, and like our first impression of the hotel, this too started off well, but then fizzled. The breakfast room is on the third floor, in a pretty sunroom (one of the few spaces to have non-white walls). The spread was sliced ham, sliced cheese, pastries, cold cereal, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. Everything looked great, but the pastries were slightly stale.

The second morning, we got the exact same spread, with the pastries aging one more day. Adding to the disappointment was the audio in the background: the hotel was playing an Argentinian morning radio show so it was mostly loud chatter in Spanish interrupted every now and then with a US rock song from the 80s.

Off the sunroom is a roof deck that runs about half the length of the hotel. There’s a barbeque pit, though nothing was fired up when we were there. And there’s a hot tub, but the water was cold and you got the feeling they really didn’t like to turn it on that much.

Bottom Line
Perhaps we would have been more enthused about our experience if the price had been lower. The small rooms are $140 a night, our room was $160 a night. Two doors down from the Five Cool Rooms is another boutique hotel, the Soho All Suites, which has rooms that were more than twice the size for $175. Next time, we’ll try that.

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