“Lovely tranquil Belle Epoque townhouse with a lobby art gallery on a leafy residential street in Buenos Aires' most exclusive neighbourhood”
A Hotel (formerly called Art Hotel) is a 1927 townhouse turned European-style boutique hotel just a couple of blocks from shop-til-you-drop Avenida Santa Fe. From its multi-storey lobby - which doubles as an art gallery - take the sweeping marble staircase or 1930s elevator (with 'Viva Perón' scratched into the crystal mirror). Ranging from 'cosy' to canopied romantic, the 34 rooms marry period architectural details (lofty ceilings, arched windows and French doors) with industrial-style minimalism (concrete floors, metal-mesh wardrobes) and all the modern amenities (cable TV, minibars) you need.
- Very good value in exclusive (and expensive) Recoleta
- The historic building drips with period charm; rooms are updated with mod-cons including air-conditioning, free internet, cable TV and minibars
- Enviable residential location, blocks from the city's best shops, restaurants and cultural attractions
- The lobby art gallery hosts monthly exhibitions, and guests can purchase the original drawings, paintings and sculptures on display in the rooms
- Roof terrace with cushioned sun loungers and a small hot tub
- Some adjacent rooms can be connected, forming 'apartments' for families and small groups
- The smallest rooms have barely enough space to store 2 large suitcases, and most bathrooms are bijou (some have showers only)
- Rooms facing the interior courtyard are dark; a few others have dismal views
- Although staff are on the whole wonderfully friendly, helpful and enthusiastic, it can fluctuate by shift
- The hotel is located in the commercialised, middle-class Barrio Norte rather than Recoleta's most fashionable quarters (although they're within easy walking distance)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
If you have your heart set on staying in Recoleta but can’t afford the fancy hotels, A Hotel is a good alternative. Its 34 rooms offer a comfortable place to lay your head after a day of sightseeing and shopping. But - and it's a big but - while you may revel in architectural elegance, be prepared to give up some space and natural light. Many of the Small and Cosy Rooms are downright tiny (120 sq.ft. / 11 sq.m.). Eight have twin beds, some separated by barely 2 feet. Even in the mid-sized Queen Rooms, storage space is cramped - stowing 2 intercontinental-sized suitcases and daily purchases can be a challenge. Street-facing rooms get the most natural light; many rooms have faux windows or dreary views.
Because room features vary widely, the bottom line is to decide what's important to you (space? natural light? bathtub? balcony?) and specifically request it. Our advice for the optimal experience is to 'splurge' on one of the King Rooms, with kingsize four-poster canopied beds and larger bathrooms; some also have balconies overlooking the quiet street.
That said, romantic touches - draped fabric, swirled wrought-iron headboards, dimmers - and modern conveniences - make even a small room a welcome retreat at the end of a busy day: a little cable TV, something from the minibar, then off to sleep in a comfortable bed. All rooms have individually-controlled heating and air-conditioning, plus safe boxes and internet access.
Each room showcases original drawings, paintings and sculptures against a canvas of muted tan, warm cinnamon and ivory. Bathrooms are stocked with bath products and vanity kits containing Q-tips, powder puffs, nail files, shower caps, combs and tissues. If you don't see a hairdryer, call the front desk. Some bathrooms have showers only. Ours had a tub and a shower, but was barely big enough to turn around in.
Some of the Queen Rooms connect with adjoining Small and Cosy Rooms to make 'apartments' for families and small groups.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Internet access
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Each morning a generous breakfast buffet is set out. It's a typical Argentine spread, it includes a choice of juices, cold cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, sliced ham and cheese, and boiled quail eggs. You also get breads and pastries, including croissants (medialunas), served with spreadable cheeses, jams and thick caramel dulce de leche.
If the breakfast room's brick ceiling and track lighting starts to feel too cave-like, take your coffee or tea into the art gallery. Its vaulted glass ceiling makes it seem like an indoor patio. Linger over the current exhibit (arranged by a local private gallery), relax with a copy of the Buenos Aires Herald, check your email or browse through art books.
While there's no room service, your minibar is well stocked - choose from soft drinks, bottled water, fruit juice, sweets, snacks, beers and spirits, including aged whisky.
Staff are ready to recommend restaurants within walking distance or a short cab ride away, ranging from typical Argentine parillas to sushi bars.
- Restaurants nearby
- At the hotel: sunbathe or soak in the hot tub on the roof terrace; share stories with other guests over breakfast; linger over the latest exhibit in the lobby art gallery; browse through exquisite photography books covering Tierra del Fuego or the gardens of Buenos Aires; enjoy a massage in your room
- Stroll the neighbourhood. Rub shoulders with affluent residents at art exhibits, weekend fairs and in corner bakeries and cafés - such as La Biela, beside a massive rubber tree across from Recoleta Cemetery (be prepared to skirt pet-walkers squiring as many as 14 pooches at a time)
- Shop. The hotel is 2 blocks from hundreds of name-brand shops lining bustling Avenida Santa Fe (highlight: El Ateneo, a treasure-trove bookstore ensconced in a beautifully restored opera house). Browse boutiques and high-style home design stores in Buenos Aires Design Recoleta, a 6-block-square indoor/outdoor mall behind Recoleta Cemetery (highlight: Tienda Puro Diseño Argentino, a working space for 120 designers). Recoleta's swanky 5-star hotels are home to some of BA's finest jewellery stores, but you can find bargains in gold along Calle Libertad, near Avenida Corrientes
- Immerse yourself in culture. Find Eva Perón's grave among the maze of neoclassic, Art Nouveau and Art Deco tombs in the renowned Recoleta Cemetery - where presidents, heavyweight champs and murderers rest side by side; the adjacent Centro Cultural Recoleta holds art exhibits, theatrical events and musical performances. Museum highlights include the Museo Evita (opened 50 years after Eva's death), displaying her clothing and toys bearing her image, and the world-class Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, which includes works by Renoir, Rodin and Van Gogh
- Book tango lessons, a city tour or a day trip. The front desk staff have all the details
- Party like a porteño (as residents of Buenos Aires call themselves) - dine at 11pm, hit the clubs at 1am, and roll in after an early breakfast at 4am
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
Children are welcome, although this isn't the ideal place for them - small spaces, concrete floors, marble stairs and ledges overlooking the lobby make this hotel inappropriate for small children. Cots are available on request in the King Rooms only. Apartments can be created for families by combining a Queen Room and Small and a Cosy Twin on each floor if required.
Family friendly accommodation:
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking