In with the Inn crowd – The Hostel Inn, Buenos Aires

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The Hostel-Inn, Buenos Aires on the inside.Ed. Note: The Hostel Inn, in San Telmo, Buenos Aires is an excellent hostel and gathering place, of which this is a review and recommendation.

As an expat living in any corner of the world it is difficult not to enmesh yourself in the small expat community you will inevitably find there. Similar experiences, backgrounds, sense of humor, and most importantly language, make this microcosm a bubble of comfort in an otherwise strange environment. It is a natural and understandable impulse to seek out your own kind, but beware the trappings. Gringos hang with other gringos, go to gringo bars and host gringo dinner parties. Before you know it, a year has passed and you have yet to make a true local friend.

Breaking into the local social scene is no easy feat however. You have to fight the tourist prejudice, be extremely outgoing, and risk sounding a fool with an attempt at a witticism in a second language. Local circles of friends are well established and can be hard to infiltrate, and accepting advances from inquiring members of the opposite sex rarely leads to a true lasting friendship. The hardest part is where or how to begin, sometimes it is just dumb luck. You sit next to someone on the bus, a friendly neighbor brings you your mail, or a curious café barista ask you where you’re from, and sometimes you pick the perfect hostel.

Choosing a place to stay in Buenos Aires is really luck of the draw. The abundance of accommodations in every price range and the routine descriptions of cozy rooms and great location mean your eventual selection can be hit or miss. A personal recommendation is always best and obviously what you’re personally looking for in a place to stay is crucial to finding the best fit. I chose at random, and I was lucky; I found the Hostel Inn-San Telmo and it was a hit. Not so much for the place itself, but for the people who I met there.

Hostels tend to always be social places. The constant flow of international travelers creates a revolving door of interesting, friendly, adventure loving individuals. Most, upon arriving in Buenos Aires, are excited to be back in a city with hot water and hotter nightclubs, and so hostels quickly turn into bars and meeting joints where people pre-game for the two am departure to Opera Bay, Mint or one of Buenos Aires’ many happening clubs. All the people, partying and potential international partners, does not solve our problem of making local friends, if anything it makes it harder. And most hostel staff, while usually decent, aren’t always eager to mingle with the tourists outside of work hours. Unless, that is, you’ve chosen to stay at the Hostel Inn, home to the coolest and friendliest Argentine staff in the country. (I am taking some liberties here but please allow me my exaggerations.)

The Hostel-Inn, Buenos Aires on the outside.The Hostel Inn on Humberto Primo in San Telmo is a three-story abode, complete with bright red walls, lofty ceilings, and beanbag chairs in abundance. In typical backpackers fashion some combination of Bob Marley, Manu Chao or Coldplay is blasted from the downstairs stereo at all hours of day or night, and you can always find a friendly face to share a cigarette with on the upstairs terrace. The weekly Asado is delicious, and cold beers are a bargain in the main entry hangout. But none of these features are what make the Hostel Inn worth mentioning. The Hostel Inn is the proverbial bridge between foreigner and local; a true commingling of worlds.

Any given night finds a mix of locals and foreigners, sharing mate, making plans for the weekend, or even doing karaoke. Friends of the Hostel Inn staff come and hang with the visitors and Friday nights sees everyone traveling en masse to the local pub to share a beer, a dance, a kiss. After a few short days at the hostel, it felt like home. I stayed a mere week at the Hostel Inn – Buenos Aires, some I know have stayed months turning their bunk bed and locker into a veritable nest. It was party central and not always the place to get a good nights sleep, but the vibe is always good and the staff are really great. They are funky, funny and interesting, as opposed to being merely polite and informative. Arriving straight from California, I knew I had found a perfect group of likeminded creative and spirited individuals.

I have since become friends with several of the staff, going to parties in their homes, attending gallery openings and sipping wine, once I even found myself swimming in a pool at an estancia outside the city at three in the morning. While I would like to attribute these new bonds to my glowing personality, I think it has more to do with the charismatic and truly open staff of the Hostel Inn – Buenos Aires. They have become my passport to the true Buenos Aires and I am eternally grateful. I have since moved to an apartment in San Telmo, not far from my old hostel, but I feel lucky every time I bump into one of my hostel friends that I chose to stay at their hostel and became a part of their world. So for those wishing to avoid the expat abyss, look no further than your friendly hostel receptionist, and cross your fingers that they are as awesome as those at the Hostel Inn.

The Hostel Inn – Buenos Aires
Calle Humberto Primo 820, Buenos Aires (San Telmo)
Phone: +54 11 4300-7992
Hostel Inn site (multiple locations)

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[…] For those coming to Buenos Aires on a budget, the Argentina Travel blog has a nice review of San Telmo’s Hostel Inn that may be of interest to you […]

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