The hotel that went POP

After months staying in bare-basics hostels through South America, when I arrived in Buenos Aires I decided a couple of nights in a decent hotel were in order. Luck was on my side when I found a great deal online for the intriguing-sounding Pop Hotel.

Lush furnishings, plush carpets and sturdy oak furniture you will not find at Pop. This first budget boutique hotel to open in Buenos Aires was designed with slick minimalism in mind – modern lines and built-in furniture keep the rooms functional yet sleek, with splashes of primary colours or monochrome to make it go pop.

My room and the lobby of Pop Hotel, Buenos Aires. Photo © Rachel Ricks

My room and the lobby of Pop Hotel, Buenos Aires. Photos © Rachel Ricks

Mine was a junior room, which to my surprise incorporated a mini kitchen – a black faux-granite worktop with sunken bowl sink, a kettle, two mugs and a mini fridge, all of which were really useful, particularly as the hotel doesn’t serve breakfast. After a while travelling, it’s the simple things that mean the most and it was a nice treat to come back to the hotel in the afternoon and be able to make a cup of tea and curl up on the bed with a packet of biscuits and the TV remote in-hand. I was lucky as I had a corner room, so the L-shaped layout meant my kitchen area was tucked away out of sight from the bed, making it feel almost like a mini studio apartment. Being on the corner also meant I had no less than four windows with pleasant outlooks on leafy Palermo.

There was everything you could need, but no fuss: cable TV; telephone; air con; safe; hairdryer: check. Toiletries were a bit different to appeal to younger tastes: funky little bottles of shampoo, soap, and dehydrated face cloths that came in the size of pills that expand to full size in water.

The decent-sized bathroom had floor-to-ceiling white brick tiles with black grouting, maintaining the urban living vibe, and a contrasting red bowl sink on a black stand, which provided useful resting space for my toiletries.

I can see why ‘pop art’ or ‘urban’ style is an increasingly popular choice for hoteliers – you can cut corners and your décor budget considerably, without losing on style and credibility. There was a small black table in my room that, although useful, was made of flimsy MDF wood and steel legs that gave it an Ikea-cheapie feel.

The room did the job well though – the jumbo-sized bed had crisp white bedding, a fluffy duvet, though only two pillows. An alcove fitted with a clothes rail above a built-in desk with two deep drawers provided the alternative to a musty wardrobe.

The room lighting was alternative, with a bendy reading lamp attached to each side of the bed-head and a low-hanging lampshade on the overhead light.

The only problem was, everything was so trendy and immaculately clean and contemporary that it only further highlighted the objectionable state of my backpack and its contents after six months on the road.

Pop Hotel
Juan Ramírez de Velasco 793, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Best for:
Pop art-loving minimalists.
What I paid: Around US$30, through a special offer on, otherwise the rate is US$110 +21% tax for a junior room.
Showers: Gas heated; you wait a while for the hot water to come through, but when it does, it’s excellent.
Internet: WiFi throughout; the enthusiastically named ‘Business Lounge’ has a desk with two PCs on the second-floor corridor.
Other facilities: The corridors on the other floors host the ‘Movies Lounge’ and the ‘Library Lounge’. I’d rather stay in the comfort of my room to watch a film or read a book, though. Rooms also come with iPod docks. Daily housekeeping. Laundry service.