B&B and Beyond: The 5th Floor, Buenos Aires

Discover this Art Deco guesthouse with a strong psychological connection. Sorrel Moseley-Williams put her mind to the task

The 5th Floor was a psychiatrist's practice for almost half a century. It is located in Villa Freud, an unofficial mini-barrio in the bustling Palermo neighbourhood that is mainly residential, and named for the concentration of psychologists' offices here. The 5th Floor actually occupies two floors of a 1942-constructed Art Deco building. The ride up in the cramped three-person lift fades to a distant memory as soon as guests take in the high ceilings at this newly-converted, airy, seven-room B&B. Many original features remain, such as stained-glass windows depicting summery palm trees or cardon cacti in blue hues, and the stunning pink, white and grey marble curved staircase leading to five of the bedrooms.

With several communal areas designed for visitors to kick back with a borrowed novel or a glass of Malbec from the honesty bar, shared space is geared up for as much or as little socialising as one pleases.

 

The bed

The curved walls and natural light enhance the Art Deco proportions and interior design, from parquet flooring to antique chandeliers and 1930s-style leather club chairs. The larger en-suites have the feel of a luxury yacht cabin, complete with private viewing deck, while guests staying in compact rooms recharge batteries "down below". Black-and-white chequered marble floors are the norm in elegant en suite bathrooms, which have either a walk-in rainfall shower or tub. There's also a communal living room, front terrace, dining room and terrace, complete with the quintessential Argentine grill and potted herbs.

 

The breakfast

Taking a full English fry-up on the beautifully tiled Andalucian-style terrace is an unusual experience in Buenos Aires, but it works. The owner has sourced an English supplier for his back bacon, a Texan for the smoked variety, and German expatriates for the sausages, while locally grown vine tomatoes, mushrooms and organic eggs complete the line-up. Too hearty? Greek-style yoghurt, fresh fruit and medialuna pastries are available from the self-service sideboard.

The hosts

Owner Miles Lewis and his Argentinian partner Verónica Romano are on hand to offer insider information about their Buenos Aires querido. London-born Miles had visited Argentina every year since 1996 to play polo, then spent two years living in Buenos Aires before going back to Britain. Then the former venture capitalist realised that the capital had, in fact, become his home. He returned, later purchasing an ex-girlfriend's grandmother's apartment. The easy part done, Miles and lawyer Verónica have spent the past year converting the adjoining consulting rooms into a seven-bedroom B&B, taking care to maintain the property's original Forties features.

Although this is an about-turn for Miles's career, he says: "When I had a home in Cap d'Antibes, I'd always entertain and cook for 30 friends over the course of a weekend, so this is a natural transition."

The weekend

As Buenos Aires's largest neighbourhood, Palermo is buzzing at the best of times. However, this residential zone means that guests can delve into an authentic part of town, while having the luxury of Palermo Soho's bars and restaurants a stone's throw away. The ultra-modern Alto Palermo shopping mall (Santa Fe 3253; altopalermo.com.ar) is around the corner for stocking up on local staples, such as Paez's espadrilles (laspaez.com.ar).

Friendly service at La Pharmacie (Charcas 3494; lapharmaciepalermo.com.ar) has kept punters enjoying light pasta lunches for years, while nearby Plaza Güemes is home to the picture-perfect Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church (parroquiaguadalupe.com).

As night falls, head to Thelonious (Salguero 1884; thelonious.com.ar) for jazz jams before dropping in for a nightcap at Verne Club (Medrano 1475; vernecocktailclub.com), a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea-inspired cocktail bar led by renowned bartender Fede Cuco.

 

The pit stop

Sample traditional folk music and the taste of north-west Argentina at La Peña del Colorado (Güemes 3657; lapeniadelcolorado.com.ar). This venue offers a programme of musical guests every night of the week, so expect mournful vocalists and guitar combos accompanying locro beef- and blood-sausage stew, quinoa and pumpkin pie, or porky packages known as tamales. Show tickets cost 30 pesos (£3), 90 pesos (£9) for a meal.

 

The essentials

The 5th Floor, Vidt y Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, Argentina (00 54 9 11 2181-8574; the5thfloorba.com). Double rooms start at US$90 (£60), including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine