Last year we ran a reader contest with the N/A Town & Country group of small hotels in Argentina, giving away a week of stays among their boutique hotels around Buenos Aires.

Our winner was Ralph Blessing and he and his wife just returned from their trip. He agreed to let me share some of his comments and a couple hotel photos of where he stayed.

The Blessings explored Buenos Aires from their base of MyBA hotel in Belgrano. “Even though management at both places knew we were non-paying guests, we were treated like family. My BA even upgraded us to the suite for our first two nights since it was not already occupied,” Ralph says.

blessing2“Hotel del Casco, our second free hotel was an elegant old mansion converted to a hotel in San Isidro, a bedroom community about 20-25 miles outside of town, though now part of the metropolitan area. A relaxing commuter train connected the area to downtown as well as the weekend getaway community of Tigre, a few miles further out.”

The Blessings wisely extended the trip to head up north. “Right off the bat we asked ourselves why go all that way for just a week? So we decided to add a second week to explore areas outside the capital region, namely, the colonial city of Salta in the northwest and the desert country to the north in lovely Jujuy (say hoo-HOO-ee!) province. We flew to Salta, an Andean city more culturally akin to Bolivia and Peru than to the most of Argentina. We rented a car to drive north to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a valley that stretches for miles and which contains some truly gorgeous scenery, in particular the area around the village of Purmamarca with its “Hill of Seven Colors.” We spent a couple nights in the delightful town of Tilcara, a bit farther up the road, before heading back to Salta.”

The Blessings have a slew of great photographs and some even better memories. Ralph says, “Think I’ll keep entering those online contests!”

See our rundown of these and others in our Boutique Hotels in Argentina feature.