The Victoria Hotel is a San Telmo institution and one of the best deals for budget travelers to Buenos Aires.
This historic, family-run hotel sits on the narrow and lively Chacabuco Street, but once you enter its sturdy confines you’ll find a tranquil old-style pensión with rooms surrounding an open patio full of plants.
For some reason the San Telmo hotel ‘for families and gentlemen’ doesn’t make it into the listings of many popular guidebooks anymore, and can’t be booked online, maybe that’s why it’s still so affordable.
The reasonable rates are quite a contrast to the numerous ‘tango hostels’ in the neighborhood, which charge about the same rate for a bed in a dormitory shared with strangers.
Victoriano Prieto took over management in 1959 here, eight years after emigrating from Galicia, Spain. He oversaw all the hotel’s operations for 56 years, until well into his 9th decade of life. He died in 2016 and now the hotel is run by his son, José, who rebranded it as Victoria Hotel Tango, but the hotel remains pretty much the same.
The international array of guests here includes experienced travelers and tango aficionados mostly from Europe and a handful from Japan. Housed on the third floor of the hotel are long-term guests — mostly a mix of students, travelers and families from neighboring Latin American countries.
There are shared kitchen and laundry facilities available for all guests. The first floor courtyard has wifi and is a lovely place to sit outside and lunch with visitors or catch up on email, although the wifi is not good in the rooms.
Jose Prieto, Victoriano’s son speaks English, and can help visitors find local restaurants, shows and milongas that are economical and off the tourist trail.
“We think we offer a good deal here. This is a unique place,” says Daniel Daglio, Prieto’s son-in-law who also works at the hotel.
The Victoria may also be more secure than the more transitory hostels on the surrounding blocks. No one messes with the Victoria — they have their ears on the ground.
The front door is locked from 10 p.m. and guests are given a key.
The Victoria is a safe, affordable option for savvy travelers who are beyond the typical hostel age and willing to forfeit a bit of luxury for an authentic Argentine hotel experience.