The sumptuous formality of the Alvear Palace Hotel conjures Buenos Aires's golden years of the early 20th century. But these days a more modern ethos is sweeping through the city's hotels, bringing with it a growing rank of design-minded boutique properties.
The hippest new address is Home Hotel ($140–$350; 5860 Honduras; 54-11/4778-1008; homebuenosaires.com), in the heart of Palermo Hollywood. The 17 rooms have a Swinging Sixties style—all tulip tables and swirly wallpaper. Book the Garden Suite, a little fiefdom to itself on the other side of the gorgeous interior garden, with a whirlpool and its own terrace and plunge pool.
In the central business district, Cecilia Timossi and Mauro Bernardini have transformed an 1890 neo-Renaissance building into the Esplendor de Buenos Aires ($155–$235; 780 San Martín; 54-11/5256-8800; esplendorbuenosaires.com), a 51-room hotel showcasing some of B.A's best talent. Martín Churba, who helms the fashion label Tramando, did many of the fabrics for Esplendor's clean-lined furniture, and the paintings are by Argentine artists. Room to book: the chic beige Suite 104 VIP, which has a giant bathtub in the center.
Five Cool Rooms Buenos Aires ($100–$150; 4742 Honduras; 54-11/5235-5555; fivebuenosaires.com), a former boardinghouse turned 16-room hotel, has the look of a cool artist's studio—wood floors, irregular shelving, and sliding floor-to-ceiling windows. There's a 1,500-square-foot roof terrace with lava tiles, outfitted with a shower, and lined with bamboo shoots. Rooms (book a Large) have wenge-wood furniture and llama-wool rugs.
The 40-room Design Suites & Towers ($110–$160; 1683 Marcelo T. de Alvear; 54-11/4814-8700; designsuites.com) and its neighbor, the 28-suite Buenos Aires cE Hotel de Diseño ($130–$200; 1695 Marcelo T. de Alvear; 54-11/5237-3100; designce.com), have brought a new measure of style to the conservative Barrio Norte neighborhood. Both were done by Ernesto Goransky, who used loads of concrete, glass, and steel and put high-tech gadgets everywhere. A young clientele gives these places a 24-hour party-people vibe.