Hotel Reviews for the Budget Business Traveler: South America

View from Hotel Splendido Montevideo

A good amount of the posts on Legal Nomads share stories or travel tips, usually involving some mishap with a monkey or some disaster of a bus ride. Packing aside, most of the service-related information (hotels, street stalls, food markets) is dispensed via email. But with my recent whirlwind work trips to South America and Europe, I overnighted at many different places designed for the budget business traveler. I should note that this is very different from my usual backpacking style; I’ve stayed at a cross-section of places over these last few years, hostels or teeny guesthouses, hotels or yurts, each markedly different depending on the continent but having one main thing in common: that they were very, very cheap.

With a dozen or so hotels in under 6 weeks, I thought I’d review these budget business hotels based upon their usefulness to a business traveler on a budget.  Perhaps some of my readers are looking for a business set-up (lots of us want WiFi!) and others might not be keen on hostels in South America. Keep in mind that I have reviewed these hotels based upon my needs for this trip: i.e. not as a backpacker. As you can see below, some of the hotels would be great for a different context, but did not work for me.

Budget Business Hotels from South America

1. Mexico City, Mexico

Hotel One Patriotismo.
Av. Patriotismo 229
Col. San Pedro de los Pinos
03800, México, D.F. México
Tel.: +52 (55) 52 78 50 00

budget business hotels in mexico city budget business hotels in mexico city

Pros: Very central and easy to get around the city; inside a mall with a food court and useful stores (pharmacy, etc); rooms extremely clean and new, with plenty of outlets to charge electronics; wifi extremely fast.
Cons: None.
Rates for single room: $56 USD
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: Yes, buffet breakfast that included both tacos and coffee. Why would I want anything else?
Takes Credit Cards: Yes.
On a scale of 1 to ‘really crotchety’ how crotchety was the staff: 1: Staff was very attentive and polite, helped organize cars for my meetings and ensured that I was up in time for my flight at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night.

2. Bogota, Colombia

Casa Paulina
Calle 63 (# 17-18)
Tel + 57 (1) 483-0881

Pros: Right next door to the best arepa stand I found in Colombia. Interesting area in Chapinero to wander in the afternoon. Close to the buses to the rest of tourist sites.
Cons: Not an ideal location for business travel in Bogota; far from the financial district.
Rates for single room: 55,000 CdP (approx $30 USD)
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: No
Takes Credit Cards: No
On a scale of 1 to ‘crotchety’ how crotchety was the staff: 3. Initially very crotchety, softened somewhat during my time there. Completely confused about why I kept asking for more arepa stands.

3. Medellin, Colombia

Hotel San Esteban Plaza
Transversal 39B No. 70
Tel: (+57) 123 582 9303
Medellín – Colombia

Pros: Fairly easy, inexpensive taxi ride to meetings throughout the city. Large rooms with clean bathroom, dining area doubles as office.
Cons: Taxis kept getting lost while trying to find the hotel; no real restaurants/food options nearby.
Rates for single room: 110,000 CdP (approx. $58 USD)
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: Yes.
Takes Credit Cards: Yes.
On a scale of 1 to ‘crotchety’ how crotchety was the staff: 4. Somewhat crotchety.

4. Quito, Ecuador

Viena Hotel Internacional
Flores 600 y Chile
Centro Historico, Quito, Ecuador

budget business hotels in quito
Pro: Beautiful courtyard in the centre of the hotel.

budget business hotels in quito
Con: Bathroom smelled like dead people.

Pros: Near the main tourist areas (the Old City, Plaza San Francisco). Lovely courtyard. Room’s balcony looked out onto the valley and streets below.
Cons: Very grumpy and unhelpful staff. Inability to find taxis at any point during the day (and refusal of staff to call one for me). Bathroom smelled absolutely terrible, very far from business district of Quito. Not recommended for business travellers.
Rates for single room: $20 USD/night
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: No.
Takes Credit Cards: No.
On a scale of 1 to ‘crochety’ how crotchety was the staff: Crotchety. Very.

5. Lima, Peru

Miraflores Suite Centro
Av Benavides 1959
Miraflores, Lima
(511) 266-4058

Pros: Central and easy to get around the city to my meetings (which were scattered throughout). Very fast wifi. Use of 2nd floor as a ‘meeting room’ for meetings held at hotel. Right near a big supermarket for snacks.
Cons: Rooms were very cramped, very musty and very cold.
Rates for single room: 88 soles/night (approx. $31 USD)
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: Yes.
Takes Credit Cards: Yes.
On a scale of 1 to ‘crochety’ how crotchety was the staff: 2. Nice but aloof.

6. Montevideo, Uruguay

Hotel Splendido
Bartolome Mitre
Montevideo 11100, Uruguay
+(0)2 916 4900

budget business hotels in Montevideo
View from my hotel room at Hotel Splendido.

Inside hotel Splendido in Montevideo Uruguay
Quirky, fun decorations and tiny hallways.

Pros: Very central and easy to get around the city, extremely helpful staff, nicely decorated rooms, common room available for use.
Cons: Right over a street of bars, with no soundproofing in sight. If you’re a light sleeper and they’ve got no back-facing rooms free, this is probably not the place for you.
Rates for single room: 535 Uruguayan Pesos (approx $25 USD)
Wifi Included: Yes
Breakfast Included: Yes.
Takes Credit Cards: No.
On a scale of 1 to ‘crochety’ how crotchety was the staff: 1. Not remotely crotchety.

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

America Studios All Suites
Uruguay, 847
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(+5411) 4814 2060

This hotel got some terrible reviews on Trip Advisor but ended up being just fine for my needs (minus the lack of Wifi). Not the nicest hotel, but certainly not as awful as those reviews would infer.

Pros: Very central, next to the metro and easy to get around the city. Taxis plentiful. Rooms very large, with kitchen and coffeemaker for personal use. Extremely helpful staff.
Cons: Very old, scary elevator that I got stuck in for quite awhile. No staff at reception after midnight. No wifi.
Rates for single room: 114 Argentine Pesos (approx $40 USD)
Wifi Included: No.
Breakfast Included: No, though coffee and snacks were free in the room.
Takes Credit Cards:  Yes.
On a scale of 1 to ‘crochety’ how crotchety was the staff: 1. Not remotely crotchety.

I’ll be doing the same type of reviews for the Europe hotels as well.

If anyone has suggestions for business-type hotels in South America, please leave them in the comments!


12 thoughts on “Hotel Reviews for the Budget Business Traveler: South America”

  1. That’s an interesting point – this wasn’t my first (nor likely my last) hotel in Quito that had a funky bathroom smell. Dead people or not, the pipes are likely not so new! Where did you stay in Quito?

  2. Very good idea to list hotels for business trips where we don’t want to overspend (eg Santiago Chile, City Entrepreneurial Radisson $185 US…and you need to take a taxi all the time to go anywhere). Downtown, next to a metro station and 3 universities, Hotel Republica (which is in an old building with a center yard) is $20 with breakfast. I returned there 4 times when I was in Chile.

    Take care

  3. Thank you Yves! I found hotels quite expensive in the bigger cities of South America, so these were quite reasonable and (for the most part) quite central. Agree that it’s well worth a metro pass and a few extra minutes for a quiet, clean hotel. Will add Hotel Republica to the list for Chile!

  4. Not really “budget”, but the Marriott Reforma in Mexico City is absolutely ideal from a business perspective. Very new, all amenities, great staff, and ambience (when I was there last, there was a costume party for a CC company – got pics of me with batman, robin, etc.)


  5. Thanks Tony. A bit above what my company was willing to pay, but thanks for the suggestion.

    You know, Mark – as I was eating my tacos for breakfast I was thinking of who would appreciate this and you were high up on that list! Hope Africa is treating you well and you’re enjoying your family reunion.

  6. These are awesome, Jodi. And I think all guide books should start including your “staff crochety-ness” rating scale. GOLD!

  7. Thanks Rose. Now that I think about it, you and I could craft quite the guidebook. Category for staff crotchetyness & another for awesomeness, measured by how many cute shar peis we decide reward the hotel with in the end.

  8. Not bad. I think reviews such as this is very useful to travelers. As a traveler I always find it easy to plan my travels because of the wide list of travel blogs I read every day in the internet.

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