Alma Histórica

Best boutique hotel in Montevideo

This is a Guru’Guay Top Pick

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Alma Historica –which means “historic soul”– is a luxury fifteen-room boutique hotel set on Plaza Zabala, Montevideo’s most romantic park.

Alma Histórica, the 1920s art-deco townhouse was lovingly renovated by its Italian owners, opening in 2014. It went straight onto Conde Nast’s hot list. The New York Times praised it as “an antiques-filled haven that bridges historic charm and modern efficiency”.

Now Montevideo’s top boutique hotel, each room is uniquely decorated, inspired by artists and creators from Uruguay’s past – including an aviator, an actress, and a tango singer.

What’s included

  • Rooms categories – classic, superior and suites with private terrace
  • Views of the plaza, the River Plate, the port and the Old City
  • Roof terrace with jacuzzi, massage room, deckchairs
  • Lounge for relaxing and for private meetings
  • iPads, computer, printing and local cell phones for guests’ use
  • Concierge service to assist you throughout your stay
  • Coffee shop and lounge bar service

Alma Historica – Boutique hotel and the soul of Montevideo’s Old City

Montevideo saw a boom in hotels in the last decade. Regrettably many are soulless, generic high rises. So when you stay in Montevideo seek out the gems

A truly boutique hotel

The decor of each room is inspired by famous figures from Uruguay’s past – an aviator, an actress, a tango singer, the list goes on.

The Doña Delmira room (pictured above) is a subtle boudoir with two wrought iron balconies overlooking the plaza. Delmira Agustini shocked polite Uruguayan society over a century ago with her fiery, erotic poetry.

Step back in time in the library which has ipads and a computer for guests’ use. The hotel can also provide a local cell phone to use during your stay.

The roof terrace has wonderful views of the Plaza, the River Plate, the port and the Old City. The two suites also have private terraces, perfect for breakfast (pictured above). 

The family conserved as much of the original townhouse as they could. Original floorboards were salvaged and recut to go further. Original ceramic tiles were often too badly damaged to reuse but you can spot pieces that were intact used as decorative features in the hallways. Damaged books from the library found a second life as art.

And the conservation continues. Today if a china teapot is broken, the pieces are collected and delivered to designers who use recycled porcelain in their jewelry.

Who’s behind the soul?

The directors of Alma Historica, Dario and Caterina, are thirty somethings from Italy. Dario is an Italian wine exporter and Cate an image consultant. Caterina first visited Uruguay ten years ago. Her parents are friends of the Uruguayan sculptor, Pablo Atchugarry, and Pablo was inaugurating his art foundation out on the coast.

Caterina committed that same mistake that many tourists (particularly those advised by Uruguayans – yessss, really) make when they first come to Uruguay. She skipped visiting the capitalIn fact she had visited Uruguay several times before she finally made it to Montevideo, by this time with her future husband Dario.

We finally arrived in the Old City on January 6,” she laughs and raises her eyebrows. I know exactly what she’s implying. January 6* is a public holiday in Uruguay and on public holidays Montevideo appears to fall into an enchanted sleepThere were no people, no cars. I felt like I was on a photoshoot with the entire city just for us,” she says. And she fell in love.

About the same time, her parents had also fallen in love – with an abandoned mansion on Plaza Zabala. Over the next few years, they set to renovating what would become Alma Historica.

In the meantime Dario and Cate, who were living in London, decided to get married. In Sicily. Where wedding planners do not exist, so Cate tells me. So they organised the wedding themselves using email and the occasional Skype call. Despite the long-distance planning, the wedding went off flawlesslyCate’s father was impressed and a throw-away joke “you should organise the opening of Alma Historica” ended up with Cate and Dario heading to Uruguay in late 2014.

They came initially for three months. And they ended up staying“We realised that we needed to be on site if Alma Historica was to be a true boutique hotel,” Cate says.

Booking.com

Fashion and design tours in Montevideo

Cate has not abandoned her passion for design. She is blown away by the creativity of Uruguayan designers. Their biggest obstacle, she says, is their lack of visibility both internationally and locally.

Her hot tip is Ana Livni, a self-labelled “slow fashion” designer working in felted merino wool. Her showroom is just a couple of blocks from Alma Histórica.

Drawing on the experience of her previous company Cat Walker Tours from her years in London, Cate offers private fashion and design tours in Montevideo. To arrange a tour drop a line to Alma Historica.

Contact

Alma Histórica
almahistoricahotel.com
Solís 1433, Montevideo, Uruguay

Support local businesses by booking direct on the Alma Histórica website. You can email info@almahistoricahotel.com or call on +598 2914 7450 / 7451.

Rates

Classic room from 136 USD. Suites from 240 USD per night.

Photos: Indrasish Banerjee for Guru’Guay; design shot on AnaLivi.com

4 Responses

  1. After having spent two weeks in Uruguay in March, I made a note to send you an e-mail to thank you for a number of the recommendations you made in your Guru’Guay guides. You have really filled a gap by providing accurate information for English-speaking people who want to visit the country.

    I’m shocked that there were not more American, British, or other English-speaking tourists. Their loss! At home, when I told people we were going to South America, and specifically Uruguay, I was always asked why. Now I know I can defend the choice without hesitation.

    My fiancee and I can strongly agree with a number of your suggestions:

    Alma Historica Hotel – Fantastic. Understated. A wonderful concept. It was amazing to stay in a room dedicated to a poet and artist and then discover that his portrait appears on the 200 peso note.

  2. Imagine soaking in a rooftop hot tub, sipping wine and gazing at a tree across the way with a dozen green parrots suddenly flying off after a hawk lands close by. You’re completely relaxed — no sirens, honking vehicles or insane traffic noise (we’re from the metro Washington, DC area). You’re at Alma Histórica Boutique Hotel in the Old Quarter of Montevideo.
    A marble staircase greets you at the entrance. You walk into an antique-filled parlor where a friendly staff meets you. They treat you like old friends. The hotel is comfortable, informal, and impeccable at the same time.
    If we were to design the perfect master bedroom for our home, we’d copy the Don Joaquin room on the 4th floor. You enter into a light-filled sitting room with a sofa, mini-fridge and writing desk. Passing through pocket doors, you enter the bedroom with large windows overlooking the park. On the opposite wall there’s a full wall of closets. If you don’t have enough closet space in this room, you’ve probably packed too much. The bed is a comfy King with soft sheets and a choice of pillows. The bathroom is large with a red accent wall and plenty of counter space. The large shower has both a handheld nozzle and rain shower. Two soft fluffy bathrobes complete the scene.
    The room is decorated with antiques and appealing artwork. Coincidentally, we ended up visiting the Torres Garcia museum while in Montevideo solely because we saw his work displayed in the hotel. That’s a first.
    Alma Histórica is stylish, tasteful and delightful in every way and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone. For leisure or business, you can’t go wrong here. We can’t wait to return so that we can again enjoy their unique take on scrambled eggs w/cheese & tomato.

    [This comment was added to Guru’Guay’s old site on 24/02/2019]

  3. Imagine soaking in a rooftop hot tub. You’re sipping wine. You’re gazing at a leafy green park with parrots fluttering in the treetops. You’re completely relaxed. You’re at Alma Histórica Boutique Hotel in the Old City Montevideo.
    A marble staircase greets you at the entrance. You walk into an antique-filled parlor where the friendliest staff meets you. Kudos to Matias, Letitia and Leonardo. Our wishes were their commands. Staff treated us like old friends. The hotel is comfortable, informal, and impeccable at the same time.
    If I were to design the perfect master bedroom for my home, I’d copy the Don Joaquin room on the third floor. You enter into a light-filled sitting room with a sofa, mini- fridge and writing desk. Passing through pocket doors, you enter the bedroom. Again, you’ve got the large windows overlooking the park. On the opposite wall there’s practically a full wall of closets. If you don’t have enough closet space in this room, you’ve packed too much. The bed is a comfy King with soft sheets and a choice of pillows. The bathroom is large with a red accent wall amd plenty of counter space. The large shower has both a handheld nozzle and rain shower head. There’s a toilet, a bidet, and a towel warmer. Two soft fluffy bathrobes complete the scene. My only suggestion is that they might consider a higher octane blow dryer – but maybe that’s an American thing. Some people may want a coffee maker in the room, but I’m of the school that doesn’t think those thinks are sanitary. A coffee or tea is a phone call away and always available in the breakfast room.
    The room is decorated with antiques and appealing artwork. Because of the artwork on the wall, I discovered an artist that I did not know before— Torres Garcia. I ended up visiting the Torres Garcia museum while in Montevideo solely because I saw his work in the hotel. That has never happened to me before.
    Did I mention the perfect lighting in the room and the temperature perfectly set at 23 degrees C when we checked in? Alma Histórica is stylish, tasteful and delightful in every way. Because I have so little free time in my life, I’m a picky and demanding traveler. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone. For leisure or business, you can’t go wrong here. I can’t wait to return.

    [This comment was added to Guru’Guay’s old site on 24/02/2019]

  4. Great hotel – perfect location in the heart of the old city, beautifully decorated rooms, stunning lobby and library (which you can use to relax and read), friendly staff and delicious breakfast. A bit pricey but worth it.

    [This comment was added to Guru’Guay’s old site on 11/01/2018]

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