San Telmo Neighborhood
Eat, drink, tango, shop, and sleep
Phone Number Note: To reach Argentina from the United States, dial 011 54 11 before all phone numbers listed.
San Telmo has few hotels worth staying at (the exception being the Axel Hotel listed below)—most of Buenos Aires’s good digs are about 40 minutes away by cab, so we’ve included several unique options that range from the funky to the opulent, located in San Telmo’s bordering neighborhoods of Constitución and Monserrat. They’re arranged in order of least to most expensive.
Estados Unidos 1393, Constitución
$60 to $100 (cash only, includes breakfast, served all day)
A self-proclaimed “pop hotel” in the former red-light neighborhood of Constitución, Boquitas Pintadas (“Painted Mouths”) is a cultural center as well as a cozy little hotel. It has five rooms and one suite decorated by a different local artist every few months (a spray-painted cityscape mural with stars and planets in a night sky dominates one room; red curtains and leather furniture give another a sleek feel). After 8 p.m., a DJ spins in the restaurant until dawn. Air conditioning (a necessity in the sticky summer months of December and January), a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, terraces, and a happenin’ bar add just the right touch of Argentine glamour.
Mexico 1330, Monserrat
$120 to $180 (includes breakfast and pickup from the airport)
A huge wooden door decorated with ornate metalwork opens onto this exclusive hotel in the historic neighborhood of Monserrat. It’s a recently remodeled aristocratic home built in 1820 and owned by the same family until the current owners purchased it at the end of 2005. The 11 suites are arranged around two central patios, and wild, barely kempt gardens in those patios make you forget that you’re in the heart of a big city. A breakfast buffet, a communal living room, and handicapped-accessible rooms are other perks.
Venezuela 649, San Telmo
$200 to $350 (includes breakfast)
South America’s first gay-oriented boutique hotel has set up shop in San Telmo, following the enormous success of its predecessor in Barcelona. The 48 soundproof, designer rooms feature LCD TVs, iPod docks, king-size beds, and hydromassage Jacuzzi baths. There’s also a rooftop garden with a heated swimming pool, whose glass bottom makes up the ceiling of the foyer, providing swimmers with a view to the lobby and guests a view of … well, whatever the swimmers are doing. Though designed and marketed with a gay clientele in mind, the hotel prides itself on diversity, and everyone is welcome. At the Axel Hotel in Barcelona, according to one user review on the website TripAdvisor, “there were many heteros who had no idea it was really a gay hotel—until they got to their room and found large artwork of a naked guy on the wall.”