The difference between a good boutique hotel and a bad one is pretty much the same in Buenos Aires as it is everywhere else. The good ones don’t treat guests like extras in a fashion shoot. They don’t dismiss complaints about aromatic drains, leaky Nespressos and kleptomaniac staff with a shrug and a “Well, what did you expect from a funky, independent property like ours?” And they offer something— usually but not always to do with intimacy and personalized service—that the big chains do not.
To an even greater extent than trendy shops and restaurants, trendy boutique hotels are concentrated in Palermo Viejo, a sub-neighborhood of Palermo that is often further bisected into Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood. Those who are here to eat, drink, and shop will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. Those who have come to sightsee or to explore the south of the city might consider laying their hat in San Telmo instead.
Home Hotel Buenos Aires
Owners Tom Rixton and Patricia O’Shea blazed a trail for others to follow when they opened Home a decade ago, but it’s hard to argue anyone has overtaken them. Lovingly restored mid-century furnishings, vintage wallpaper, delicious breakfasts, and a garden with pool that beckons at the cocktail hour are among the reasons to make yourself at Home.
Fierro Hotel Boutique
It tweets, it blogs, it posts, it pins, and it even updates its Google + account. In countless ways, the Fierro is achingly current. You would, therefore, expect it to fall flat on its face when it comes to doing the basic stuff right. That it doesn’t; that the beds are comfy, the guestrooms gorgeous, the staff friendly and helpful, and the breakfasts top notch reflects well on the management. This is a personal favorite.
A former convent overlooking one of Palermo Viejo’s sweetest street corners, Nuss is unpretentious, perfectly placed, and just plain good. Twenty-two guestrooms spread over three floors blend wood and fabrics to cozy effect, without stinting on the gadgetry du jour. The lobby bar and restaurant is as good a place as any in the ‘hood to sip a coffee and watch the world go by.
To create a theme hotel that isn’t lame is an achievement. To create one this special is a miracle. Each of the 11 guestrooms pays decorative homage to a famous Argentine, from Eva Perón to Che Guevara to Carlos Gardel. Books, photographs and knickknacks flesh out the concepts, which thankfully aren’t taken too far: you aren’t, for example, expected to sleep with your horse in the Gaucho room.