I had the opportunity to stay at the START Villa Morra for one week on a recent business trip (July 2023) to Asuncion, Paraguay, in South America. I chose Villa Morra because it was centrally located in an excellent area, and aside from being in a great neighborhood, it was relatively close to the airport.
At face value, the START Villa Morra is excellent value, providing large, spacious One Bedroom apartments with a fully stocked kitchen, a terrace, and a large shower bathroom. The minimal facilities are complemented by a nice pool and gym on the roof deck. The property had a decent speed and stable Wi-Fi connection, making working a breeze.
Overall, I would stay here again, as it’s very inexpensive and in an excellent central area. It is ideal for a minimalist stay, especially if you enjoy cooking (I’m more of an eat-out kind of guy). However, it was not the perfect location by any stretch of the imagination. I did have some issues with the furniture, hot water, and cleaning.
START Villa Morra Location and Access
The hotel is located in the heart of the Villa Morra neighborhood and is roughly 20 minutes from Asuncion airport by taxi or Uber. However, if you are at the wrong time of day and get caught in some traffic, this can take up to 30 or even 40 minutes.
The hotel is very close to everything, with various shops and malls only 5 minutes walk away. While to the north, a bustling commercial and restaurant/bar district is busy on the weekends. I also found a basic 24/7 convenience store only a 6-block walk away located at a gas station at a central intersection.
Two main shopping malls are located nearby; one is four blocks to the South in the Recoleta neighborhood. While another mall and shopping complex, Paseo La Galaria, is to the Northeast, about a ten-minute Uber ride away.
The are numerous restaurants, bars, and lounges nearby within walking distance. In a future visit, I’ll be sure to cover some of the nightlife and lounges in this area.
START Villa Morra Booking & Check-In
I was not actually involved in booking this hotel since a separate provider booked it as part of a workshop I signed up for. However, I did check Google pricing during my stay window, and it averaged around $60-75 per night, which is very reasonable.
Looking at other hotels in the area, the START Villa Morra was on the cheaper side of things compared to others. However, you may get even better deals on Airbnb in Asuncion.
Check-In & Check-out
Checking in was relatively simple and straightforward, and the staff were friendly and spoke a combination of English and Spanish.
As with many countries, you have to hand your passport over, where it is scanned and copied, and given back. Unlike other hotels around the world that give you a Key Card here, you are given an actual physical key to your room, so make sure not to lose it.
There is no real formal check-out process, I dropped off the key at the front desk, and that was it! On the day of my departure, I left for the airport at 9:40 am and arrived at around 10:10 am.
START Villa Morra Style & Character
The START Villa Morra has a minimalist feel geared more toward function than form. The first and lower levels are actually a parking garage. While the hotel lobby is small on an upper level (by stairs) and only includes a check-In desk and two leather sofas. It is definitely not like your typical hotel at check-in. The lobby also features a vending machine with water, snacks, and other drinks. In addition, there are two elevators you use to reach any of the hotel’s six floors.
Shaped like a U, with elevators at the base and rooms along the arms, the hotel has a courtyard with a bench seating in the middle of the U shape and tall trees rising inside the building.
The top floor (6) has an amenity space with a pool, gym, and a large meeting room.
At first, I noticed that the cleanliness was not up to par and could have been better. Upon first entering the room, I found the floors to be a little dirty.
START Villa Morra Hotel Rooms
The START Villa Morra offers standard one-bedroom apartments. I used the key given at reception to access my apartment, and at first glance, I thought wow, that is a massive space.
The apartment also has a large terrace accessible from both the living room as well as the bedroom.
The terrace had a great view of the street, although it was lacking in any furniture. I brought a table, chair, and table from inside the apartment to enjoy the terrace.
The main living space featured a large sofa, which, unfortunately, I found to be very stiff and uncomfortable. Directly on the wall opposite was a single tv, with a horrendous mess of cables and infrastructure on the wall beneath it. On the main dining table, there was plenty of coffee and sugar.
I ended up setting my laptops on the main dining table since the apartment lacked a proper working space was missing. The outlets in the room were awkwardly placed and hard to use, and I found it a considerable pain to manage to plug my laptops to the outlets.
The bedroom was in keeping with the apartment style massive! And featured a bed with lots and lots of closet space.
There was a huge, fully stocked kitchen to one side, with plenty of utensils, plates and dishes, and appliances. The kitchen also featured a coffee maker, microwave, full cooktop, and large fridge.
This is excellent for people who like to cook food at home. I also found a dedicated water dispenser from a plastic water tank.
The bathroom did not feature many amenities. It had a toilet, walk-in shower, and a sink with a large counter. Overall, it had a very basic low, quality feel to it. I ended up using soaps and shampoos I brought on my own.
The toilet had a bidet, which was cool. However, it barely worked and needed more maintenance. The shower was not great to use since it ran out of hot water quickly.
On average, I would get about a 10-minute shower with piping hot water before it turned icy cold. In retrospect, the hot water tanks in the rooms are a bit too small for the size of the shower.
START Villa Morra Amenities
The START Villa Morra has minimal amenities, which is to be expected from an apartment hotel property. There is only a gym and pool terrace on the top floor and a well-lit courtyard in the middle of the property. The property does not have a restaurant or bar, so if you want to eat or drink and don’t want to cook in the well-appointed kitchen, you will have to go out.,
The gym was pretty standard for a hotel gym but seemed in good condition. Gym equipment included:
- A selection of dumbbells.
- Various machines, including a peck deck machine and a pull-up bar.
- A bench press machine with a barbell.
- Two treadmills.
One thing I did note is that the gym had spectacular views over the city.
The pool terrace is the highest point in the building, with great sun and a beautiful view over Asuncion looking to the East. Sadly, I didn’t have time to have a dip, although the infinity pool looking over Asuncion was stunning.
The pool furniture was soft and comfortable, and the location was the perfect destination to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of Asuncion.
I must say I enjoyed my stay here and found it a minimalist, homey, inexpensive experience. I found the rooms and facilities spacious and located in a safe neighborhood. In fact, there was tons of space, with a huge kitchen, bedroom, and living room area. Although I wish the furniture were better, as that would have significantly improved the experience in the hotel apartment.
In terms of getting around the START Villa Morra was ideal. It was centrally located in an excellent area close to many great places in the city. I also found the staff helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable.
The hotel is perfect for more extended stays or if you enjoy cooking for yourself with its massive, well-stocked kitchens.
- Spacious with Tons of space.
- Very centrally located, excellent area
- Huge kitchen, well stocked with many cooking supplies, utensils, plates, cups, etc.
- Stable WiFi.
- Comfortable bed.
- Large patio
- Amiable and helpful staff.
- Disappointed with the cleanliness, especially the floors.
- Irregular cleaning needs work.
- Water tank is a bit small; it cannot supply hot showers longer than ten minutes, tops.
- Basic furniture was not the most ideally furnished. No terrace furniture, no working space.
- Could use a dedicated working space.