El Quijote in Calafate tilts at windmills

April 22, 2011

In an attempt to avoid ever setting foot in the disappointing and highly over-named Esplendor we cast our lot by having the bus drop us off in the middle of town at El Quijote with no reservation. (We heard from an earnest Vermont yankee that El Quijote was at least exceptionally clean.)

The best thing about El Quijote (which has been in Calafate for over 30 years…that is, twice as long as the airport) is its complete non pretension. Unlike the Don’s visions, El Quijote knows exactly what it is. So what is that? Something like a slightly dolled up Holiday Inn, ready for a Saturday night on the town somewhere in the midwest.

The lobby and the breakfast room are nicely appointed in bright Patagonian colors with plenty of wood. The staff is down to earth and very friendly even when there is a mixup with the price. The front desk was exceptionally accommodating considering our complete lack of reservations. The rooms (at least 204 and 205) are passable though the walls are made of cast concrete that does nothing to dampen noise (see what I mean about Holiday Inn?). I had to call down at 11:15 and ask the front desk to tell the people in the next room to turn down their blaring TV (it worked).

The standard hotel room layout prevails in La Mancha. Rectangle for bed and TV, with a closet entrance shared by the small bathroom. The shower has great pressure (which after 6 hours on a horse feels incredibly good).

The bathroom itself is mostly shower.

El Quijote deserves at least two shower heads for attitude (and for knowing what it is).

Hot restaurant tip. Make sure to eat at La Pascasio even if you don’t stay at El Quijote. It is a fantastic restaurant.

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