Buenos Aires: Super barrio adventures

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02 June 2009
  • Flower shopping in PalermoTango in San TelmoPalacio Barolo, Centro: modelled after Dante's 'Divine Comedy'View from the very top of Palacio Barolo, Centro

A building modelled after the 'Divine Comedy'; Palermo shopping; San Telmo boutique accommodation -- check out our Buenos Aires highlights.


Palacio de Aguas Argentinas
Riobamba 750, 1st Floor, Barrio Norte.
+54 11 6319 1104

From the outside it is a baroque style building ornamented by more than 300,000 Royal Doulton ceramic tiles, but inside it’s mainly tanks that once stored 72,000 tons of water. Walk up to the first floor, pass the displays of old lavatory paraphernalia and knock on the big white door for a tour.

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Palacio Barolo

Avendia de Mayo 1370, Centro.
+54 15 5027 9035.

Once the tallest building in South America and located on one of Buenos Aires’ busiest streets, Palacio Barolo is no secret. A lesser known detail is that the entire building’s design is based on principles derived from Dante’s Divine Comedy. A guided tour is offered by Miqueas – just go to the lobby on the hour Monday to Thursday between 2pm and 7pm and he will take you to the tiny (fitting 10 people inside is a stretch) glass globe that sits on top. Booking ahead is recommended.

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El Zanjon de Granados
Defensa 755, San Telmo.
+54 11 4361 3002.

El Zanjon’s inconspicuous white front opens up to a large and well-presented excavation site, showcasing the layers upon which an old mansion was built. A unique opportunity to explore underground tunnels that were once landfills and see some of the artefacts discovered during the 20-year excavation and restoration process.


Maru Botana
11 de Septembre 982, Belgrano.
+54 11 4772 2478.

We asked our concierge where she likes to go for breakfast and ended up in the leafy green barrio of Las Cañitas. The lemon-infused scones with jam and cream hit the spot, but it’s hard not to have cake envy with so many divine creations in the display case. 

Rodriguez Pena 1149, Recoleta.
+54 11 4813 9207.

Roquefort, corn and squash, ham and cheese and (of course) beef are among the dozen or so seriously tasty empanada options here. The food is cheap and Cumana is usually quite packed. If you are happy to settle for a hearty steak, try your luck next door at La Cholita (Rodríguez Pena 1165, +54 11 4815 4506).

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Planet Cubico
Thames 2145, Palermo.
A fairly new edition to the collection of Palermo's hip boutiques, Planet Cubico is a small retail space/art gallery exclusively showcasing the works of local artists. Pick up a hand-painted T-shirt by street artist Cobrinha or a unique piece from one of Jazmin Chebar’s (Argentine fashion house extraordinaire) designers.

Armenia 1838, Palermo.
+54 11 4831 2373.

Soft leather bags, bright stationary and offerings from popular street wear brands are set off by retro embellishments and a very, ahem, trippin’ wall mural. The majority of the items in shop are locally made or designed.

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Telmho Hotel Boutique
Defensa 1086, San Telmo.
A sleek nine-bedroom boutique hotel that, despite sitting on the busy Plaza Dorrego, offers a central but quiet place to rest your head. It may be a bit nosier on the rooftop terrace, but the crisp white cushioned deck chairs and expansive views of cobblestoned San Telmo somehow drown everything else out.

cE Design Hotel
Marcelo T. de Alvear, Barrio Norte.
As the name suggests, a strong point of the hotel is design – from the glass floor looking down to a four-by-four-metre Jacuzzi to the female staff’s dresses sourced from a boutique just around the corner. The beds are large and comfy, the ensuites feature spa baths and the staff is incredibly helpful; if you get a chance, take advantage of the list of their favourite local hotspots they provide when you check in.

For more barrio highlights check out our Super barrios gallery.

Karla Courtney


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