There is a wide range of hotels and hostels available in El Calafate, from budget beds to 5-star luxury, but across the board you’ll see huge difference between high and low-season prices. In fact, many hotels close completely over the winter months (June-August), while prices from December-February will often be literally double those for the rest of the year.
Hotels are clustered by the lake shore and in the downtown area, while most shops and restaurants are also to be found downtown. Eateries tend to be low-mid range, with only a couple of high-end restaurants, but the quality (as everywhere in Argentina) and value is uniformly good, particularly if you stick to classic Argentine steak and pasta dishes, or some of the local Patagonian specialties: lamb and trout are both generally good choices here.
The high season for hotels in Calafate is December through February, as the area is at peak crowded in its summer season. Many hotels are closed from June through August (winter), and you can get good deals at the ones that stay open. The remaining months are shoulder season, and also much cheaper than the peak summer rates.