Telos: Rent-by-the-hour hotels you will actually want to visit.
Buenos Aires, sometimes referred to as the "Paris of the South," and the, "City of Fury," is known for its romance, ardour, and allure. Naturally, telos are a simple fact of Porteño life. They offer a place where you and a loved one can enjoy a couple of hours frolicking on water beds under mirrored ceilings, in all manner of themed rooms.
What exactly is a Telo?
Telos are basically a discreet hotel that you can rent by the hour or overnight. They are legal, non-taboo and as much a part of Argentine daily life as the national drink mate, football and asado. Some are cheap and somewhat seedy while others are used by film stars and politicians and boast every luxury your heart desires. What they all have in common is: anonymity. Telos are designed to be discreet and open 24/7, with hidden parking lots underground or around back.
While it is not necessarily a taboo topic in Argentina, we also can't ignore some of the "darker," history of telos. Every port city has prostitution and telos evolved from brothels in the La Boca neighborhood during the 1800s. Telos began to pop up in 1940s once brothels had been outlawed but it wasn't until 1959 that they were legalized.
Unlike many Western countries, Argentina embraces and celebrates sexuality. The problem, is that like many other predominately Catholic countries, it's typical for adults to live with their families well into their mid 20s or until they get married. Young lovers needed a place for intimacy without the high cost of hotels. Plenty are still used for lunchtime trysts with secretaries and mistresses or as respite from screaming children for married couples.
And with 150+ pay-by-the-hour hotels in the Capital Federal district alone, it’s a booming, multi-billion dollar industry. Telos offer a safe and discreet place for lovers to get some privacy. No matter if you just met someone at a nightclub, or have been dating for years, a Telo can add some extra "spice" to your evening activities.
The fun lies in the details. This isn’t your average Motel 6 by any means. Some rooms are worth checking out (or, rather checking in to) for their ornate themes alone. Couples can act out their wildest fantasies in themed rooms such as, ‘Secrets of the Emperor,’ 'The Travelers Loft,' and a Pirate ship suite.
For those ready to roll the dice there is even a "Casino suite," that comes with a roulette bed that actually rotates, pointing guests to a potential sex position. If themes aren't really your thing there are plenty of suites that are simple, modern, and downright beautiful.
As for room service you can order anything from burgers to dildos to kinky costumes. Most rooms are equipped with an airlock cabinet where the staff can place your goodies and you can retrieve them without having to open the door.
Telos are hidden in plain sight. Unless you know of their existence you likely won’t notice them. Once you do, they are everywhere. You start to notice “albergue transitorio” signs all over the place. If you see a neon sign that says ”Playa Privada” (Private Parking) then it’s guaranteed to be one.
Hygiene freaks need not worry, rooms are normally meticulously clean, and always have a private bathroom with a ‘disinfected’ seal on the toilet seat and all towels and robes also come with a seal.
A standard hour in a normal room will cost anything from $7-20 USD, and even the most luxurious overnight stays with breakfast in bed the next day won’t run more than $50 USD.
Albergues Transitorios is a popular online directory of over 150 telos in Buenos Aires.
Perfect for Travelers
You may be thinking, this is a solo-travel blog why are you telling me about this? Well, picture this. Your flight is late so you don’t arrive into Buenos Aires until 1 a.m. Your hostel/hotel stopped check in at 11 p.m. Check in the next day doesn't open until 1-3 p.m. Rather than waiting in an airport all night just go to a Telo. They don't care what you do in the room, sexual or otherwise, as long as you pay. My evening flight was canceled so I went to my favorite Telo and paid the equivalent of $18 for a room that was comparable to most 3-4 star accommodations in major cities. It puts any Hilton to shame and is a heck of a better deal than a hostel bunk bed.
Telos truly are the best-kept secret in Buenos Aires! Are you ready for a visit?