Argentines are almost obsessively sexual. Buenos Aires has more than 100 “love hotels” called telos, which rent rooms by the hour for assignations. Tango is the perfect complement to the telo.
Gay clubs across the city hold milongas gay — gay tango nights. Wiry Dali-mustachioed giants lead a girly boys in sequined ruby slippers. Elegant old lesbians with hair swept up glide serenely across dance floors. That’s the spirit of Buenos Aires.
In Buenos Aires if you think you’re getting cruised on the street, the man is probably straight and vain: He’s just interested in how your outfit hangs together. If a man glances at you and then looks away, it probably means he’s gay.
La Marshall offers milongas gay on Wednesdays at Maipú and Saturdays at its Rivadavia location from 11 p.m. till late.
(Maipú 444, Rivadavia 1392; +54-011-4912-9043; LaMarshall.com.ar)
Located in the heart of San Telmo, Mansión Vitraux, a 12-room boutique hotel, is just a few steps from the city’s legendary Sunday street market, and it’s surrounded by antique shops packed with reasonably priced treasures. Every element engenders calm, a necessary balance to the raucous B.A. nights: the candlelit swimming pool in the full-service spa, self-effacing but effective staff, a gourmet farm-to-table restaurant, and a wine bar with a deep list of Argentine vintages.
(Carlos Calvo 369, +54-011-4300-6886; MansionVitraux.com)
Like gay Hotel Chain Axel’s Madrid and Berlin outposts, Axel Buenos Aires has a decent restaurant and friendly staff (uniform T-shirts read HETEROFRIENDLY), but the place is really built for sex. Done in spare glass and concrete, with the occasional brightly colored lacquered surface (furnishings are by Eames, van der Rohe, Eileen Gray), the centerpiece of each room is a transparent shower stall. The top floor of the hotel atrium is a glass-bottomed pool, which means you can walk into the lobby, throw your head back, and get an eyeful of Speedo—unless, that is, the swimmers are getting to know one another in the hot tubs, steam room, and sauna upstairs.
(Venezuela 649; +54-11-4136-9393; AxelHotels.com/buenosaires)