Like in Arequipa, Peru, we wanted to stay in a local hotel – not a western chain. Our research led us to the Casa Piedra Hotel Boutique in La Paz. We would be spending three nights in this hotel, which was just a 3 minute walk to the Plaza San Francisco and the neighboring church. The hotel was about 25 minutes from the main airport in El Alto. The hotel didn’t have an elevator, so you had to schlep your luggage up the stairs from street level to the lobby. The restaurant is on the street level and our room was on the main floor with the reception area.
After we landed, we headed straight to the hotel, arriving at reception around 14h45. When we approached reception, we were greeted by name (again). Either we stick out like sore thumbs, or we were the last ones expected to check in that day. In any event, we were given our keys (actual metal keys) and shown to our room, which was just off the main stairs.
We booked a double room with two twin beds. We will book two beds if we think it is important to do so culturally (not necessarily the case here) or if the king beds don’t look like actual king sized beds. We’ve gotten burned many times when booking a king bed and getting stuck with a double. I need room and space when sleeping. Little did we know that the beds would be perfect for us on this stay – La Paz was rough on us.
Our room had a private bathroom, which was elevated from the rest of the room (likely, the bathroom was added as an after thought and it needed to be elevated to accommodate the plumbing requirements). The beds were small (narrow), but pretty comfortable.
Our room had a lofted space with a small dining table and two chairs. The room had great ceiling height, but in the lofted space you were so crowded, it was virtually unusable.
Our room also had a small desk, which under normal circumstances would have been great to write post cards, or do a little work, if needed. We used the desk only to store our hats and nothing else.
The room itself was perfectly comfortable. The door wasn’t all that secure – it never came open, but if someone wanted to get into our room, it wouldn’t be difficult and it likely would go unnoticed by everyone on property. I just made sure I kept all my valuables with me at all times. The bathroom (I failed to take pictures of the bathroom for some reason) had pretty respectable water pressure and access to hot water.
I thought the building itself was a charmer – a lovely old colonial building that has rustic, but not overly so. The floors creaked as you walked across the room or down the hall, but not so much that it bothered you while you were sleeping or relaxing in your room.
We had dinner one night in the hotel and the food was mediocre at best. We were feeling the affects of the altitude at this point. We were short of breath and were really feeling some GI distress. I didn’t realize that altitude would wreak havoc on your stomach as much as it did to us in La Paz. That’s another issue I had with the hotel (and it is likely an issue with many older hotels in La Paz) – you couldn’t flush your toilet paper, you had to put the soiled TP in the waste bin next to the toilet. In general, that wouldn’t be a big problem – we’d just make sure that we used the facilities while out and about or before the room was serviced. Unfortunately, with our upset stomachs, we spent a lot of time trapped in the room and the waste bin filled up quicker than it normally would. I tried a couple times to get the bin emptied, to no avail. Gross, I know. We had upset stomachs and the room didn’t smell as fresh as it should have.
In general, the hotel worked out fine for us and I would likely return, if I needed to be back in La Paz again. That being said, I really don’t think I’ll ever be going back to La Paz again. The altitude sickness really soured me on the City.
Where did you stay on your visit to La Paz? Do you prefer to stay at traditional western chain hotels, or more locally owned and operated properties? What do you think about the inability to flush the toilet paper?