Accommodations are few, particularly at the budget end, but improving. Nearly every mid- to upscale place offers a 10 percent discount for cash.
Río Grande’s first backpackers’ hostel, at the south end of town, Hotel Argentino (San Martín 64, tel. 02964/422546, hotelargentino [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$10 pp) gets high marks for hospitality, good beds, and good common areas including kitchen access, but a couple of rooms are rundown and it sometimes suffers water shortages. They’ll fetch guests from the bus terminals for free.
The simple but spotless, family-run Hospedaje Noal (Obligado 557, tel. 02964/427516, US$8 pp–US$20 d) has spacious rooms with shared bath but plenty of closet space and good beds, and some rooms have private baths. Hotel Rawson (Estrada 750, tel. 02964/430352, US$12 pp–US$20 d) has slipped a notch, but next-door Hostería Río Grande (Estrada 756, tel. 02964/425906, US$22/28 s/d with breakfast) is a worthy alternative with private baths. Perhaps the best value for money, rehabbed Hotel Villa (San Martín and Espora, tel. 02964/424998, US$30/34 s/d with cash discount) has cheerful contemporary rooms and assiduous service.
Around the corner from the former bus terminal, the seaside Hotel Isla del Mar (Güemes 936, tel. 02964/422883, fax 02964/427283, isladelmar [at] arnet [dot] com [dot] ar, US$32/38 s/d with breakfast) is frayed, rather than just worn around the edges, with loose doorknobs, scuffed walls, and slowly eroding wooden built-ins. Still, it exudes a certain funky charm, even if “sea-view” is a relative term here—with an enormous tidal range, the Atlantic tides sometimes seem to be on the distant horizon.
Beds are softer than some might prefer in the aging but tidy rooms at Hotel Federico Ibarra (Rosales 357, tel. 02964/430071, hotelibarra@netcomb bs.com.ar, US$36/44 s/d with breakfast), but it’s worth consideration with a 10 percent cash discount. A glass palace that looks out of place, Hotel Atlántida (Av. Belgrano 582, tel./fax 02964/431914, atlantida [at] netcombbs [dot] com [dot] ar, US$39/44 s/d) has decent rooms, but it’s also well worn.
Río Grande’s most professional operation, Posada de los Sauces (Elcano 839, tel. 02964/432895, www.posadadelossauces.com.ar, US$50/63–64/80 s/d) is easily the top of the line. One of the suite bathrooms is large enough for a hot-tub party, and the restaurant is the city’s most elegant.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition