Carpe Diem, Argentina: Heritage with a pinch of Salta

An antiques-loving couple has restored this old building into a cosy guesthouse, says Sorrel Moseley-Williams

In a tranquil street, a stone's throw from Salta's busy 9 de Julio square, Carpe Diem could just be another home. But look beyond the light blue exterior and discover a turn-of-the-20th-century property that is far from insignificant, given its complete makeover.

Located in the Microcentro neighbourhood of the north-western Argentine city, this B&B has been lovingly restored by a German-Italian couple. Many original features remain in the eight-bedroom property, from the living room's pine floorboards to the creeper vine in the back garden. Modern touches that blend well include a conservatory and a fireplace blazing at the first sign of autumnal chills.

With several communal spaces, including a library well stocked with travel guides, a cosy living room and a breakfast room that also serves up hot drinks throughout the day, guests can feel perfectly at ease here.

The bed

Carpe Diem offers both single and double rooms. Each en-suite room blends ethnic art and wall hangings with treasures unearthed by the antiques-loving owners. A roll-top desk features in one room, while large country-style wardrobes are par for the course. Each spacious quarter comes with a PC and modem; Wi-Fi is also freely available across the property. Some bathrooms have tubs, others have large walk-in showers – all have heated towel rails. The owners have two house cats that they will happily demote to the back garden should a guest suffer allergies.

Morning tea Morning tea The breakfast

A tempting selection of home-made bread rolls and slices of cake awaits, accompanied by two jams, all baked and made at Carpe Diem. Freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit and yoghurts are welcome additions to the circular table that overlooks the well-kept garden. Tea and coffee are served in fine English china.

The hosts

Former social worker Silke Schefold was on sabbatical in Argentina a decade ago, when she met Riccardo Morsani at the dining table of a Mendoza mountain lodge. It was love at first sight, she says. And although her plan was to return to Germany, she stayed to help Riccardo search for a property in which to open a hostel. However, this Salta home came to their attention and the pair set about renovating it. "It was hard to find a constructor who didn't just want to pull the whole house down," she says. The result is a B&B that respects original features while carefully adding new ones.

The couple held their wedding reception in the breakfast room, saying their vows at the back table. They now have a five-year-old daughter; the multilingual family speaks English, Spanish, German, Italian and French.

The weekend

Known as La Linda (the beautiful one), Salta is the jewel of north-west Argentina. The city has plenty of museums and attractions that dip into its Spanish colonial, Incan and indigenous history. A must is the MAAM high mountain archeology museum (00 54 387 437 0592; maam.gob.ar; 40 pesos/£3), whose star turn is three mummified Inca children.

For a bird's-eye view of the city's highlights, take the Teleférico San Bernardo cable car (00 54 387 431 0641; telefericosanbernardo.com; 70 pesos/£5) 300 metres above Salta; but those with a real head for heights should ride the Train to the Clouds (trenalasnubes.com.ar; 1,288 pesos/ £96), a 16-hour excursion that takes in Argentina's highest town, San Antonio de los Cobres.

The pitstop

While local cuisine focuses on humita (baked corn), tamales (mince meat in corn husks) and empanadas (meat pasties), José Balcarce (00 54 387 421 1628; josebalcarce.com.ar) takes regional staples up several notches to create cocina novoandina. Think llama carpaccio or slow-baked lamb with a quinoa crust for around 200 pesos (£15), with wine.

A favourite pastime in north-west Argentina is hanging out at a peña, where folk musicians come together. La Casona del Molino (00 54 387 434 2835) is an authentic experience, where anyone with a guitar, a bombo legüero drum, pan pipes or simply a voice can join in. The tamales are among the tastiest and best-priced in Salta (10 pesos/80p). The place packs out most nights of the week after midnight.

The essentials

Carpe Diem, Urquiza 329, Salta, Argentina (00 54 387 421 8736; bedandbreakfastsalta.com). Double rooms start at 750 pesos (£56), including breakfast.

Silke can organise taxi transfers from Salta airport (75 pesos/£6).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition