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Second Home Peru (Barranco, Peru)

4 Case Rating
Location The house is perfectly located within the vicinity of Barranco, everything is of minimal walking distance to some good restaurants, bars and a lot of street art work close to location. From Lima airport by Taxi- it takes around 40min-1hr. They use some local cab drivers in which they charge $20 for a pick up. $30 if using an airport taxi. You can walk down to the beach in 5-10 minutes. Miraflores walking is about 45 minutes. The house is on a hill cliff top and offers an amazing view from both the room and the garden of the coastline of Lima out to the Pacific Ocean. It's very relaxing to open the balcony doors and listen to the waves at night with a nice fresh sea air breeze. Room My room (3) was Ocean facing. It's initially a simple modest designed old but large room that grows on you quickly. The bed is very comfortable with a decent mattress and soft linen. Bed side table lamps either side but hard to find access to any close plug sockets. The room offers a chair, side table with two bottles of water on it, a standing fan plus overhead fan with a light directly over the bed. A tiny TV faces the bed offering local cable options and a tall wooden wardrobe. There is an open plan bathroom right inside the room with toilet and a classical old free standing Bath tub combined as a shower with curtains. Couples should be ok but sharing friends might find the open bathroom to be awkward privacy wise, since the toilet is in the same room. Amenities include some eco friendly shampoo and soaps. Decent towels. It initially feels simple comparing to what one is basically charged at the same rate as neighbouring 4 star hotels, but it warmed on me because the ambience is a unique experience. The wooden balcony doors for instance that can be opened, is great for hearing the sea air, you can even have a bath & watch the waves from it (in room 3). I was blown away by how relaxing & unique it is, just listening to the waves and observing the art in the old room was a special experience. Facilities The hotel offers free WIFI that is slightly slow but still it was available throughout the building, works for multiple devices. On my room and I believe the others have communal porch areas where you relax and watch the sea, depending where you are. Front communal balcony as well offers a some nice seats with a great view of the sea, if your not in the front ocean facing rooms. You get breakfast included in the price that is given out to you but it is quite minimal. A slice of melon, pineapple, 3 bread rolls & egg cooked to you liking. It's fresh but could be more of an offering of juices. Obviously you are staying in a art museum and the grounds have paintings and sculptures everywhere. Really nice pieces from this famous Peruvian artist. Tours can be arranged. The beautiful garden has a superb sea view. Stairs there lead to a pool a few levels down the side of the cliff. Nice refreshing pool of decent size for a private house, surrounded by art work. Very secure grounds that has a door bell system to get in the large steel door. There are also friendly animals - dog and cat, they don't hassle you & are very mellow so do not worry if your scared. Staff Staff are ok but not so efficient, booked a taxi to pick me up and one expect staff to check flight arrival time. Because I was an hour & half early from Madrid, I had to take an airport taxi. However return journey used theirs. Driver is very nice but doesn't speak much English. Hotel staff are friendly enough but its got a slight 'this is a privilege to be staying here' vibe, with a detailed rules and regulations letter you get upon arrival (like going to boarding school). However I understand they need to preserve the place, but one wouldn't get such a letter at a hotel. The check-out time is also very early at 11am, most earliest of other hotels in area, but you can use the pool and stow your baggage. Overall though try and speak Spanish since majority of staff don't speak English. I did enjoy my experience staying at an art museum and rate it as that rather than staying in hotel. You do pay for it though but the art work was worth it. Ocean facing rooms is certainly worth the upgrade.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Domeyer 366, Barranco, Lima, Peru
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Sunrock Guesthouse (Kempton Park, South Africa)

4 Case Rating
Location Guest house is located about 5-10 minutes drive from JNB airport. They offer free 24hr transfers if you inform them of your flight details. If however like me you decide to hire a car, to get to Soweto is about 1 hour and downtown area around 35-45 minutes. Kempton park seems like a suburb of the airport. I wouldn't say there is much to walk to etc. The place is very secure inside a compound. Room The room is rows of ground level attached cottages with glass sliding doors and private covered porches. The room is quite small due to the large king size bed that takes up most of the space. However there is still room for a luggage rack workable desk with kettle & plugs and tall empty wardrobe. The bed is very comfortable with lots of pillows, nice bedding and bed side tables each side. Access to plug sockets though is limited to the desk sockets. If your not local to the country, you will need a plug socket adaptor because SA has their own unique design of which main stream adaptors won't fit. Staff though did kindly provide one to me since I was only there one night. The room also offers a cable TV positioned in corner of ceiling with many international channels. The room also offers an above bed fan but no AC, however didn't find it hot. Decor is warm, homely and room is very clean with a Christian feel about it. The desk is sufficient if you need to get work done. The adjoining bathroom is of adequate size offering a shower cubicle their own in-house branded mini amenity bottles. The noticeable items missing in the room is a safe & mini fridge but this is a guest house. I would say a safe is not important because the property seems very secure in my opinion. A couple of other thing is that a blue light does face you from TV area (when lights out and off) in which can't be turned off. It's kind of annoying so bring an eye mask, There provide a nice collection of main stream magazines to read. Facilities The hotel offers free parking, free wifi (though it is slightly slow) & free breakfast. The breakfast starts and finishes quite early and offers a buffet plus an egg cooked to your liking, it's meeting a good standard of food. They also offer a dinner buffet at around 160zar but since I went out I didn't experience this. All these catering facilities are by the medium size pool in what they call the entertainment zone. This consists of a bar, pool & ping pong table, a gym upstairs and plenty of tables to sit & unwind with complimentary coffee. There is also an out door area with fire burning to relax at. There is also a traditional curio shop. Overall for a guest house it offered very nice facilities. Staff Staff are what shone out at Sunrock. Naturally helpful and caring especially with their concerns about me visiting Hilbrow. Check-in and check-out is fast and they remember your first name. Staff also accompany you to room. Excellent level of service that gave a homely and a relaxed atmosphere to your stay. Previously I stated at Intercontinental at airport & while that is nice. Sunrock proved to be a decent alternative that was quiet, clean, welcoming and excellent value for money. I would definitely stay here again if I go back to JNB.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] 11 Park St, Kempton Park Cbd, Johannesburg, 1619, South Africa
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Peru – Lima Bar (Barranco)

Peru – Peru Nazca (Lima)

Colombia – San Andres

Columbia – Traditional House

Columbia – Monserrat Bogota

Colombia – Catedral Primada-Monserrat (Bogota)

Chile – Lama (Santiago)

Argentina – Buenos Aires (Caminito)

Argentina – Tango & Houses (Caminito)

Argentina – Che Guevara (San Telmo)

Argentina – Tango (Buenos Aires)

Argentina – Obelisco de Buenos Aires

Holiday Inn (Ezeiza Airport, Buenos Aires)

4 Case Rating
Location Located about 10 minutes drive from EZE airport. Their is a free shuttle bus that goes every half hour, the Holiday Inn stand welcome you as you walk out of international arrivals. Next to hotel is a Shell station that has snacks etc and about 10-15 minutes walk away is a small town with some shops, not far walk from hotel. The hotel is right next to the main highway to the airport but the windows are double glazed so no noise is heard. Room The room on the 5th floor, which I used for day rest (10am-6pm or 12pm-8pm- $121US) was spacious with large king bed with firm labelled pillow and soft but firm bed. Bed side tables either side with reading lamps and local plugs are offered as is a phone and alarm clock. There is a large wardrobe that offer an easy to use laptop size safe and convenient iron & board plus plenty of coat hangers. Facing the bed is a unknown brand of LCD TV that offers 78 channels of which other than local there is the usual variety American channels such as Nat Geo, Discovery, ESPN. The TV is on a wooden unit that holds a luggage rack, a small mini bar (you get one complimentary water at check-in), working desk with telephone & plugs. Also a coffee machine is offered. In addition there is an arm chair and small table in the room. The decor is very much brown and conservative. There is also digital controls for the AC unit. The bathroom is quiet spacious and offers a shower/bath combo- fixed shower, no head etc. Plus the bathroom offers a bidet. Amenities are slim none branded shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and soap. However plenty of towels. Overall the room was comfortable between flights. Facilities The hotel offers free un-secure WIFI for multiple devices, no issues and worked fine. There is a restaurant and bar but did not use. Leisure facilities include an outdoor pool- quite small but fairly nice design. There is also a SPA facility which for me they charged 300 peso's (likely because I was on a day rest rate)- it is very nice a indoor pool, quite hot with jacuzzi sides, a steam room, sauna and even a scottish shower (bucket with ice cold water) though this did not work when I was there, nor did the multiple shower functions. However steam room and sauna were excellent and the room offers a coffee machine and unlimited water. They also offer massage's and a hair dresser closeby- though did not use. There is also a small gym with modern equipment. The hotel also offers free parking next to a Helipad. Staff Some staff speak English but not all- however all are polite and especially the girl at the SPA was quite upbeat and friendly. Check-in was fairly quick as was check out. Overall would say here again but thought the fee of 300 pesos for the SPA facility was a bit overpriced considering some of the showers did not work and the foam came out of the vents of the pool while swimming. However perhaps overnight it is included. Overall though with flight transfers where you don't want to be in centre of Buenos Aires, this hotel is fairly decent option.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Martin Miguel de (Autopista Riccheri Km. 20), M.M. de Guemes 4718, 1778 Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Hotel Airport Travel (Bogota, Colombia)

3 Case Rating
Location Located in a residential area just off the main airport road- it is about 10 minutes drive from the airport. They offer a shuttle bus (but book ahead), free one way and $15 US back. The area it self is heavily residential but safe, around the corner is a convenient store and a pharmacy. Room Room was large, clean and quite basic but acceptable for the price. On the 4th floor, they offer a large double bed which was quite comfortable, they have a telephone and small lamps. Facing the bed was a huge wooden cabinet unit with a smallish TV in one of the slots- multiple channels most of which is local but some international like Nat Geo. A small empty fridge exists as well and inside the cabinets is a very small safe but amble room for clothes. The room offers a small very basic desk with plugs underneath so one can work from it. Overall the decor is very wooden with white walls, it is somewhat basic but has a degree of cosiness, huge windows were behind the bed so natural light was excellent. Good amount of plugs are offered. The bathroom is also quite big and includes a high tech shower with 6 heads that face body as well as overhead. Some mini unbranded shampoo and shower gel is offered. Facilities I only stayed for a day rest in between flight but was offered breakfast which is on the top floor. I think I was late but there was only juice, tea & coffee and some small fruit junks at the small buffet, in another room an egg station with a chef was cooking but did not try. WIFI is free and secure, works very well with multiple devices and was better than a more expensive hotel I stayed at in Bogota. There is a small drinks machine by reception. Staff All but one staff spoke English but was able to get by with the other staff- they are very kind and friendly, I needed some medication from the local pharmacy whom wouldn't take my CC (cash only) but the staff said they would cover it and charge at end of stay- it was most helpful. They seem quite enthusiastic and efficient, but speaking some Spanish would help a great deal. All in all for the day rest I had between flights, it was a decent option for the price paid. Its not luxury but its clean with good working WIFI and staff are all nice.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] PARQUE, Cra. 71b #49A-52 junto al, Cra. 8 Bis A, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
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Habitel Hotel (Bogota, Colombia)

4 Case Rating
Location Hotel is located less than 5 minutes drive from BOG Eldorado airport. There is a shuttle bus every 15 minutes, it has it's pick up and drop off upstairs outside on departures level between taxi and car drop off lane- just at the part where the terminal building turns. Well branded bus but service is not clear if you are not aware of where the pick up is. The city of Bogota is around 20-25 minutes drive to say Chapinero. There is not much around the hotel just a major road from the airport to the city. Room The standard execuitve room was fairly spacious that offered a large double bed, although quite firm mattress with overly soft pillows- personally was not that comfortable. Two lamps existed either side of bed with bed side tables, one with a phone & one with an alarm clock that had a IPOD/ iPhone 4 docking station. The room offered a small arm chair and lamp, small table and a simple desk area but adequate to work from. The desk is where a large bowl of mini bar snacks is located that include nuts, chocolate etc but only drink is bottle of water. The bed faces a large flat screen TV that has many channels (50 +) that includes full US satellite selection as well as BBC news and many latino channels. A large wardrobe exists which offers an easy to use safe, iron and ironing board plus sufficient space for clothes. The bathroom offers a decent powered hot shower with a large sink area - amenities include Shampoo, Conditioner, dental and shaving set- all local brands. The issue was the toilet in my room, it had to be unblocked three times as just the flush function wouldn't work and kept making noises. The decor is quite bland but US plugs are accessible and lighting is simple. There is though good blinds to block light. Overall the room was adequate for price, but did not find the bed that comfortable, there is also no AC control system and despite website saying room is soundproof - I could hear aircraft noise quite easily. The toilet simply did not function properly and was a lot of embarrassing hassle as had to contact housekeeping twice in 24 hours to sort out. Facilities The hotel offers two restaurants, one of which was not open during the stay. The other restaurant was where breakfast was held- overall decent choices offered although very much Colombian only choices for hot foods. Cold foods are also not covered but tasted ok with average amount of choices. I did have dinner and it was very nice food with overall good service. The bar is also ok and offers a good selection of liquor brand variety. There is a business centre offered by reception where various computers were seen. There is also a lounge area. WIFI is free and just requires passport details to login- it is though sporadic and drops frequently. Staff Staff at this hotel is the strongest area, they are friendly, enthusistic and very flexible, quite consistent in all areas. Check-in staff were flexible with being able to check-in early and they also assisted me in getting medication at 11pm at night by calling a delivery pharmacy. House keeping were also friendly but only reception and some bell boy staff speak English. However other staff made effort and found them very helpful at this hotel. Overall it is an acceptable choice to stay at when needing to being close to airport, but don't expect a premium experience. The food & staff service though is good but issues with the room toilet and WIFI gives an overall 3 star rating.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] avenida el dorado 100-97, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
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Scala Hotel (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

4 Case Rating
Location Located in a good position within the centre of Buenos Aires, just at the end of the famous Av.9 de Julio. There is a C line metro bus station called Est. Independencia just across the road that goes along the main avenue all the way to Plaza De La Republica or one can walk in 15-20 minutes. Also the Pink House or Case de Gobierno is about 20 minutes walkaway. In addition there is a subway station called Est. San Juan about 5 minutes walk away. From the main international airport the drive is about 45 minutes - expect to pay just under 300 Pesos by taxi. Within the immediate area there is some nice shops and bars in San Telmo which is about 5-8 blocks away. Room Room was very spacious, quite glamous with gold rimmed lamps and two double beds. There is also a small round dining table with two chairs, a mini bar, nice large wooden clothes cabinets with a safe inside and even a balcony. The decor is very clean and glamour white marble floors. The beds were very comfortable with decent standard of bedding and softness. Plugs are somewhat sparse but some do exist. There is a full mini bar. The bathroom offers a shower bath combo in a large bathroom, again glamorous with gold taps and marble tops. The bath also has a sort of jacuzzi function but there was no plug hole so no way to try it out. There is also a bidet and full mini amenities- all hotel branded. Facilities WIFI is free and although is given a password at reception, it was not required- it runs very fast. There is also an area on 1st floor with a terrace to perhaps lie in the sun. Breakfast is also included and the selection of food was interesting and predominantly more continental, a lot of delicious but very sweet Argentinean pastries along with scrambled egg, fruits and other breads. Overall there was a good selection.Believe parking is available as well. Staff Staff at reception are very nice, check-in/out was easier and didn't even require a deposit for mini bar. Staff at restaurant are non responsive, it is just help yourself to everything and so dialogue is very limited. Overall this is a good location if you in Buenos Aires first time or need to be near the central area. The only negative I would say is that check-out time is very early at 10am. However this maybe policy in most hotels in BA. However I would visit this hotel again as it is good value for money and very good location.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] Bernardo de Irigoyen 740, C1072AAP CABA, Argentina
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Hotel Novotel Sao Paulo Jaragua Convention (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

4 Case Rating
Location Very central location around 40min-1hour drive from Sao Paulo International airport - the hotel is located at the end of R. Augusta which is the upcoming party area full of bars and nightlife- although 10-20 minutes walk away from hotel so no noise intrusion. There are some nice restaurants though closeby within 5 minutes, Brazilian style and some upmarket. Around 20 minutes walk is the famous Av. Paulista. Right next to the hotel is a pharmacy and budget supermarket as well as some bars. The area felt safe at night to walk about although staff told me not to wear watch. Room The room on the 9th floor was very spacious and included a very large king size bed a small table, large desk with mini bar and TV and large 3 person couch. The room has very large windows. In the bathroom is like a floor level spacious shower, toilet and sink and some simple amenities shampoo and conditioner. The room itself was clean but not new with marks on the wall, also the level of detail with maintenance and cleanliness was poor with someone else floss on top of the shower and the desk lamp not working. There is also a safe and hair dryer but no kettle which might be normal in Brazil. There is limited plugs though and no lights on bed side table etc. TV worked well with many channels, for international travellers some are in English such as E and CNN. The bed was fairly comfortable and in general slept well but is not a premium style Novotel that one would find in somewhere like Asia more like a simple Ibis style room from Europe, although more spacious. Facilities There is a bakery, restaurant and bar- did not eat in there as room price did not include breakfast and too many better option outside. In addition there is a gym on the 9th floor which is of a decent size but weights equipment is quite old though cardio stuff worked well. There is WIFI which is free but is restricted to one device- it worked well and was fast. Staff Staff are relaxed and friendly willing to help, I did not speak Portugese well but they were able to speak English very well and offer me advice with the local area where to eat etc. Check-in took a little while as its quite a busy hotel but overall staff seemed very friendly. Overall would stay here again as quite reasonably priced and I quite enjoyed the close proximity of the night life of R Augusta - very random road with many bars, weird clubs intermixed with restaurants and gyms, it looks a bit shady but no more than Soho in London or Greenwich Village in New york. However its fun and people in the bars are really friendly if you are on your own. In regard to the room it was spacious but lacked some functionality however first time in Brazil so cannot compare to what the standards are like in this price range. Staff though are really nice but cleanliness and maintenance need more attention to detail.
[geo_mashup_map enable_scroll_wheel_zoom="false"] R. Martins Fontes, 71 - Centro, São Paulo - SP, 01050-000, Brazil
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