This grand old hotel's days of glory have come and gone. It could be really cool if it were fixed up, but sadly it is malodorous, dirty, dark, creepy, and seems it was last updated in the 1960's/70's. One gets the feeling that they just can barely afford to keep the hotel going, and that it has been slowly deteriorating over the decades, and thus out of desperation they are charging an exorbitant price to stay here. The rooms and facilities would need a prohibitively expensive overhaul to bring this up to the level of even just being comfortable and clean. We overlooked the outrageous price of US $200/night (which was $30 more than our beautiful beachfront boutique hotel in La Barra/Punte del Este) and decided to stay here because we thought it would be interesting due to its classic vintage luxury and its location in a smaller, more humble beach town. This was by far the worst quality and most expensive hotel we stayed at during our trip to Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Uruguay beaches.
The building is grand and has some beautiful architectural features, but these do not make for a comfortable stay. The carpet in the hallways was old, dirty, and stained. Many of the rooms sit vacant with old dirty mattresses drug out in to the hallway, light bulbs in the hallways that are burnt out, and there is an enormous amount of vacant space and eerily old furniture, both that of the 1970's and from earlier periods, in the hotel common areas that makes one feel like they are staying in the lodge in the movie "The Shining". We felt like we were staying in an insane asylum from the early-mid 20th century, or in an old decrepit funeral home. The room smelled stale, like the faint scent of urine odor one notices in a hospital or nursing home. The mattress was very old, thin, uncomfortable, and the sheets were threadbare and stained from decades of use. The bed had only a thin, cotton blanket, which was sufficient because it turned out the rooms had no air conditioning. It looked like they may also have no central heat, as there were portable electric space heaters in the rooms. The bathroom was last updated in the 70's, and had not been well-cleaned. The shower tile had grime, hair, and sludge in the corners, and an old electric ventilation unit inside the shower that vented the steam into the hallway of the hotel. Other rooms had bathroom windows that opened into the hallway...which is not a great situation for the experience of passersby. Junky crusty small towels and an ashtray on the bedside table (even though it is illegal to smoke indoors in Uruguay) added some class.
The "spa" advertisements had photos from the 1960's that showed people wrapped in strange full-body vinyl accessories that looked like giant blood pressure cuffs and other obsolete medical-appearing equipment, and various pictures of people lying in bubble baths with tubes and electric panels with dials connected to them...so we skipped the spa. The outdoor pool and garden were pretty, but they told us we could not go in the pool because it had not been cleaned, and would not be open until the weekend. There was some old dangerous and broken play structure equipment for children, complete with a splintering wooden slide. The on-site casino had a handful of elderly people sitting at the slot machines with buckets of change, but nothing else going on.
The Piriapolis itself is interesting for a 1-2 day trip, but it is extremely windy at this beach and thus we were unable to open the windows in the room. There were also no screens, so bugs were also a problem with the windows open. The area has very few restaurant options, as most of those we read about had been closed. The restaurant that we did go to was awful. The hotel restaurant seemed vacant, huge, and sketchy, so we skipped the breakfast and didn't try anything from there.
Lonely Planet mentioned that the hotel even had an ice rink, and we were disappointed to learn that it was now gone. The beach town also used to have a chairlift up a hill from which you could see a view, and this was also broken down and no longer in use.
All in all, we had an uncomfortable stay and the service was minimal. We felt like we might have been better off staying in a hostel in this town, as none of the other local hotels looked much better from the outside. However, the price was just outrageous for the location and condition of the hotel, maybe if it were US $50 we would have just taken it for what it was and felt better about staying there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ¨ Nice Weather all year long ¨ ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Argentino Hotel Piriapolis