By Paola Singer
November 02, 2015
Alma Historica
Credit: Courtesy of Alma Historica

Fall is a prime time to travel, especially with chic new hotels opening around the globe. As the weather begins to cool down and the trees start shedding their foliage, our thoughts are turning to South America, where springtime is in full bloom. These intimate new hotels provide a perfect base from which to explore some of the top destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, from Chile to Brazil.

Matildas Hotel Boutique, Santiago

Classic French architecture and beautifully designed interiors made Matildas Hotel Boutique an instant favorite among clued-in travelers when it opened last April. This three-story building from 1912 underwent lengthy renovations that brought fresh luster to its turn-of-the-century facade, parquet flooring, and intricate ceiling moldings. Inside, architect Marcelo Varetto mixed chesterfield sofas with crystal chandeliers and trompe l’oeil bookshelves, adding strategically placed contemporary details like brightly colored accent chairs and throw pillows in geometric prints. Some of the 17 airy rooms face an interior garden planted with palm trees and jasmines; all have plush beds and modern bathrooms. Just steps away are the boutiques and cafes of Santiago’s Barrio Brasil, a historic neighborhood in the midst of a revival.

Hotel Clásico, Buenos Aires

Hotel Clasico
Credit: Courtesy of Hotel Clasico

Although this 32-room property in trendy Palermo Hollywood is a new construction, you wouldn’t know it. Hotelier Adolfo Suaya—whose other lodging, Casa Suaya, is a favorite among celebrities visiting the Uruguayan coast—asked the building’s architects to find inspiration in France’s Belle Époque. Behind its classic exterior of intricate wrought-iron balconies lies a truly eclectic, almost cinematic milieu. Louis XV sofas upholstered in moss-green velvet and herringbone parquet flooring are matched with massive industrial-style doors; the elevator is covered in tufted leather and murals depicting famous Argentinian actresses. Every floor has hallways painted in dramatic colors—deep blue or fiery red, for example—leading to polished rooms featuring leather headboards and granite-topped nightstands.

Alma Histórica, Montevideo

Italian financier and art collector Gianfranco Bonan was so captivated by Uruguay that he bought a summer home on the beach and then built a boutique hotel (pictured at top) in Montevideo’s Old City, or Ciudad Vieja. This elegant property pays tribute to local culture; its 15 rooms and suites are dedicated to Uruguayan icons like the poet Juana de Ibarbourou (her room is decorated in soft lilac tones and filled with feminine ornaments like antique hand-held mirrors) and the painter Joaquín Torres García (whose suite has clean lines and bright colors that emulate the artist’s constructivist style). Common spaces display a similar level of thoughtfulness. The library on the second floor is outfitted with dark wooden shelves, tufted sofas, and an oversize cowhide rug, providing a luxurious residential feel. Another inviting corner at Alma Historica is the sixth-floor rooftop, which faces the most romantic plaza in the neighborhood.

Guest Urban Fruttare, São Paulo

The word “urban” is key at this new hotel, which encourages guests to immerse themselves in the multifaceted metropolis of São Paulo by doling out insider tips, bikes, and even metro cards. Set in a 1960s townhouse in Pinheiros—a lively and diverse district that attracts young artists—the 14-suite Guest Urban Fruttare features contemporary interiors with a gritty edge. Its owners hired a team of high-profile architects and designers to create an irreverent yet carefully curated atmosphere. Rooms have exposed electrical wiring, cement floors and photographs from Compota Edições Limitada, an artist collective. Staffers wear denim shirts and graphic pants from local retailer In addition to looking stylish, they’ll be happy to tell you about the latest openings or suggest off-the-beaten-track experiences.