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Saturday 2 May 2015

A brilliant - and affordable - hotel in a funky quarter of Buenos Aires

Palermo Hollywood. It probably sounds a little more exotic than it is, just like neighbouring barrio Palermo Soho. 

Both, however, are trendy quarters of Buenos Aires, dotted with steak restaurants, lively bars and cafes. The perfect base, in fact, for anyone visiting the Argentine capital from overseas. 

Working class La Boca may be edgier, bohemian San Telmo may have the cutting-edge eateries, and Recoleta the boulevards and five-star places to stay, but when it comes to easy access to all the attractions of this sprawling 24-hour city then Palermo is probably where you want to be. 

Think arts and crafts markets, parks, leafy streets, and a district that is safe to walk around even late at night. 

Then think the funky Fierro Hotel, a boutique hostelry that has hosted me twice recently with grace and charm - no wonder it is among the top 10 rated hotels in Buenos Aires on TripAdvisor.

So what is it that makes the hotel stand out? For a start there are very helpful multilingual staff on a reception desk that is manned 24 hours a day. 

Then there are the comfortable rooms with excellent beds, well-equipped bathrooms, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and iPod docking station, mini bars and Nespresso coffee machines.

There are comfy couches on which to chill out, as well as work desks with power points

For those who wish to stay connected there is free wifi access throughout the property, and a computer on which guests can work free of charge. Bravo! 

The hotel also has a sauna and a small rooftop swimming pool with sun loungers. 

The on-site UCO restaurant is excellent. 

It is named after one of the hottest new wine districts in the Mendoza region and has a wine list curated by Andres Rosberg, one of Argentina's leading sommeliers; who has also selected a few bottles in each room. 

The hip dining room and courtyard are busy at breakfast, lunch and dinner and Irish-born chef Ed Holloway prepares everything from breads to bacon and smoked trout in-house.

Think dishes like ceviche-style salmon carpaccio with crispy fried plantain and mango salad, or perhaps crispy-skinned suckling pig with roast butternut puree and pickled vegetables, or maybe an 18-hour-cooked shoulder of Patagonian lamb. 

The Fierro is a five-minute walk from the nearest subway station and a 20-minute drive from the city centre and room rates start from around $US149 for single-night stays - excellent value. 

Guests are offered free membership at a gym two blocks away. 

Hotel Fierro, Soler 5862, C1425BYJ, Buenos Aires. +54 11 3220 6800. 

# The writer stayed at the Hotel Fierro as a guest of Wines of Argentina


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