“Fresh-faced boutique bolthole in Palermo Soho, a few blocks from Buenos Aires’ hippest shopping streets, with a pretty terrace hideout”
With highly personalised service, sleek design features and zesty colour accents, Vain looks and feels every inch the small, cool Palermo hotel. After the economic crisis of 2001, the cobbled streets of Palermo became the focus of the city’s flowering design scene, with artists and designers opening studios and bijou boutiques in what was then a quiet residential neighbourhood. Inevitably, a bevy of hip bars, restaurants and hotels soon followed suit, and Vain - a beautifully refashioned 1920 townhouse with modern interiors and a gorgeous old façade - is a lively exponent of this new energy.
- Very chic design, from the antique armchairs to cool circular sinks
- Decadent details: a welcome drink voucher, fresh flowers, turn-down chocolates and, in some rooms, whirlpool baths with huge bowls of bath salts
- Staff are friendly, professional and super-quick, without being fussy
- Gorgeous public areas, including a streetside bar and a comfy upstairs lounge opening onto a terrace with loungers (perfect for an aperitif)
- In a city of underwhelming breakfasts, Vain excels
- We repeat: location, location, location - close to good shopping, Plaza Italia and the Palermo parks
- The rooms aren’t the biggest (and only the top rooms have kingsize or twin beds; the rest are doubles)
- Aesthetics trump function in places - the open wardrobe, say, or the sleek sinks
- Bathrooms in general are slightly cramped, and not all have baths; if this is important to you, opt for a Senior Room
- Not all rooms have a window with a view: some face the hallway (which can limit privacy) or an internal patio (noise can be an issue). We advise booking a Junior or Senior Room if you can
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- 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
No two rooms are the same, but all have a light, crisp feel, with soft white sheets and towels, freshly cut flowers and colourful accents (a retro orange lamp here, a bold modern painting there). In line with its 1920s home, Vain has well-judged retro touches throughout - an antique armchair updated with a turquoise print, say, or a mirrored coffee table with a hint of Art Deco. And, although none of the rooms are large due to the historic nature of the building, the space has been cleverly utilised.
There are 4 room categories: V, A, I and N (natch), with V being the plushest and N the cheapest. V rooms (Senior Rooms) and A rooms (Junior Rooms) have kingsize beds that can be set up as twins, and many have private outdoor space (a patio, balcony or mini terrace). Bear in mind that most N (Standard) and I (Standard Superior) rooms have windows that give onto an internal patio. For those wanting lazy starts and nights in, it could be worth paying the extra for more privacy and lounging space.
Bathrooms are white and modern (if sometimes a touch small), with neat circular sinks and cool, test-tube-shaped house toiletries, each with a pop art-inspired Vain motif. Bath addicts should request one of the Senior Rooms, which have the extraordinary bonus of a glass-enclosed whirlpool bath, meaning you can gaze up through the trees into the blue BA sky while taking a soak (fear not, they aren't overlooked).
All rooms have polished concrete floors, cable TVs, cordless phones, heating, A/C, free WiFi access, hairdryers, bathrobes, electric safes and well-stocked minibars.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
There's a small but good-looking bar-restaurant area by reception with a handful of white tables, decorated with bright yellow flowers. While it’s no destination restaurant (in any case you’ll be wanting to check out the infinite dining options in the neighbourhood), prices are accessible and it's the perfect place to relax in-house with a glass of Malbec and a fancy sandwich or some tapas (think roasted vegetables with goat’s cheese, deep-fried mozzarella croquettes with a basil dip, or pitta bread and olive hummous).
Breakfast is a highlight; portions are big, service is quick and the quality is high. Start the day with a huge glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a platter of fruit and you might just have room for the house banoffee pie by afternoon tea. (Naturally, it's slathered with dulce de leche, the ambrosial caramel-like sauce that's nothing short of a national obsession in Argentina.)
You're also perfectly placed for exploring the innumerable restaurants in Palermo, which has the city’s most fashionable and adventurous dining scene. Most of the top restaurants can be found over the railway tracks in Palermo Hollywood (hotspots include Standard, Miranda, Olsen and, for Japanese-Peruvian fusion food, Osaka). Though it's only a short walk away, it's advisable to take a cab to cross the tracks at night. For superb steaks and homely Argentine surrounds within striking distance of the hotel, make a reservation at Don Julio (Gurruchaga 2100, on the corner of Guatemala; tel: 4831 9564).
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Shopping is a big deal in this neighbourhood - and you’ll want to put aside a day to nose around the irresistibly dressed boutiques and studios
- Buenos Aires doesn’t have many green spaces but at Vain you will be close to the city’s largest and prettiest parks. The Botanical Garden, designed by French-Argentine architect Carlos Thays, is ideal for strolling or reading on the grass, and the Rosedal (Rose Garden) is a romantic spot, with a boating lake and a flowery scent on the breeze. Both are free
- Visit the MALBA gallery (Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415) to see its fantastic collection of contemporary Latin American art, including works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
- Hop on the Subte (metro) to the Plaza de Mayo and see the cathedral and the famous Casa Rosada presidential palace, then wander up to the dazzling Teatro Colón, which hosts world-class opera and ballet
- The hotel can organise tango classes, Spanish classes, personal trainers, personal guides, city tours, polo and football tours, and just about anything else you put to them
- You can go cycling, fishing and kayaking in Tigre, a pretty resort town on a delta just outside the city. It's reachable by train and makes a lovely day trip
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Language courses
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
Children of all ages are welcome, and there is a lift to all floors. Baby cots and/or extra beds can be added to all rooms with advance notice, and babysitters can be booked via reception.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Baby cots are available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking