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Hotel Solar de la Plaza

Calle Juan M. Leguizamon 669, Salta

While the nearby Sheraton Salta has more facilities for business travelers who are avoiding surprises of any kind, Solar de la Plaza is the best hotel in the city center for leisure travelers who want a sense of place — and who want to walk rather than depend on taxis.

Hotel Solar de la Plaza

Facing Plaza Guemes, just a few blocks from the center of Salta, this historic inn is in the converted colonial mansion of the Costas family. All the original furniture from when it became a hotel in 1950 has been preserved, creaky parquet floors and all. The staff is friendly and low–key but the place is about as lively as a library. Nevetheless, Solar de la Plaza evokes a refined, privileged air that the more modern hotels in the area can't match. It is by far the best choice for those wanting to feel they're far from home and to have pedestrian access to all of the city's charms.

Two steps off the sidewalk and you're in a lobby that still looks like a formal sitting room, with heavy paneled walls and molding, heavy drapes, gilded mirrors, and antiques. The reception desk is straight out of something from an old black–and–white movie. A glass–covered room that was once a patio provides more light and a lighter touch, utilizing wicker armchairs and glass tables to create an area for lounging with a drink or reading a book. The bar off this space is more Andean, with wood furniture, local wall hangings, and red walls dotted with sconces made from thin stretched leather. Cocktail hour includes a good list of Argentine and imported wines along with the classic local mixed drinks like Fernet with Coke and Gancia with lemon.

Hotel Solar de la Plaza winter garden

The attractive restaurant is one floor up, looking out on a winter garden, but dozens of other options are within a ten–minute walking radius. The ever–evolving menu includes international options and a few regional specialties. The cost of your room comes with a ample buffet breakfast which includes homemade bread, cold meats and cheeses, and some jams and preserves that are traditional in the region: higos en alminbar (preserved figs), dulce de chayote and peach marmalade.

The most desirable guest rooms are the two suites in the original manor, though note that these and two "classic" rooms on the same floor can only be reached by stairs. These suites feel like a grand master bedroom in a mansion, with high ceilings, 4–poster beds, and plenty of light streaming through the big windows.

Hotel Solar de la Plaza room

The remaining rooms are in the annex and are a shade quieter. All accommodations contain a mix of antiques, iron beds with new mattresses and fabrics, armchairs, and woven area rugs over hardwood floors. Ask for a room that faces the plaza for a lovely night view of the city lights.

Hotel Solar de la Plaza Sitting RoomDespite the historic air, safes, minibars and free Wi–Fi are still standard and at inspection the hotel was about half finished with installing flat screen TVs in every room. Tile and porcelain baths are in keeping with the period feel, but are stocked with hair dryers and quality toiletries.

A small gym with sauna supplements a rooftop pool that looks bigger in photos than it really is. In reality it's a glorified plunge pool whose view is not that spectacular. The hotel also boasts a small meeting room and is often host to local business meetings and dinners.

This small hotel can't match the quiet solitude and personal service of House of Jasmines or the modern aesthetic of Kkala Hotel, but it is far more convenient for those who don't want to fight traffic in order to explore the city's colonial atmosphere.

Review by Timothy Scott, update and photos by Lydia Carey.

Web Site:
Total Number of Rooms: 30
Published rates: $183 to $278 BB (official exchange rate)