Located in the leafy Palermo area of Buenos Aires, the award-winning Palo Santo is the first boutique hotel built following the LEED rating system. Designed by local architect Mario Cito (ex Aisenson), the luxury hotel is located where a former printing house used to be. The energy-efficient building is wrapped with a biodiverse vertical garden, features a 66-foot high rainwater cascade, a top French restaurant serving seasonal dishes, contemporary furniture and stunning multicolored FSC certified palo santo wood flooring that gives the hotel its name.
Palo Santo opened last October in the green and trendy ‘Palermo Hollywood’ neighborhood. Inspired by Patric Blanc’s vertical gardens at Musée du Quai Branly and Caixa Forum, its front and back blooms with 800 plant species. Created by architect Jorge Garino, this luscious 98-foot-high living wall is not only beautiful, but also delivers extra insulation, oxygen, and a delightful aroma to all rooms.
Currently seeking the (expensive for Buenos Aires) LEED certification, the hotel greets guests with a glazed entrance covered in foliage-printed vinyl. The translucent wall allows daylight to filter in, block exterior views and emphasizes Palo Santo’s eco-amicable design philosophy.
After the reception and elevators, there is a high-end restaurant with cocktails-bar run by French chef Sébastien Fouillade. Called ‘Topinambour’ after the Jerusalem artichoke (portrayed on the wall), the eatery serves fresh, seasonal ingredients gathered from Argentina’s sea and land. The eatery extends into the charming back patio area, enclosed by flourishing bamboo canes, flowers and autumnal ivy creeping up the old brick warehouse walls.
Right at the back there is a glass vertical cascade, which acts as a focal point and circulates rainwater. But there is another glazed cascade at the hotel, a huge 66-foot-high water wall, which also plays with rainwater and goes right from the top into the internal patio area. This unique feature creates a perfect environment for both people and plants, filling the space with misty and soothing sounds.
Looking from above one can see the rainwater collection system and how the patio brings natural light into the different floors. All 24 rooms look comfortable and wide, and are both naturally and LED-lit. They were furnished with both fake classics by Noguchi, Eames and Jacobsen by Manifesto, as well as other custom-made designs from local designers using Paraiso wood.
Some highlights include Nakina’s branch hanger and A3’s ceramic pendants. They also come with small but well-equipped kitchens with organic treats and Malbec wines for indulging in, as well as a desk. The toilets are minimal and modern, with easy-to-clean marble countertops, double flush toilets and smooth concrete walls.
All floors are paved with FSC-certified palo santo wood from the north of Argentina, to which the hotel pays homage with its name. The textiles are also local and natural, the windows double-glazed, and a pearl-hue wallpaper offers a VOC-free alternative to paint. All rooms come complete with a balcony wrapped with plants, rounding out a wonderful place to stay in the bustling city.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat