Regularly making it onto the list of Salta’s best hotels is Legado Mítico, an intimate boutique property in the historical quarter. You may already know its sister hotel Legado Mítico Buenos Aires in the achingly hip Palermo district. Set in a renovated townhouse, it has 11 rooms, each wholly unique and adhering to its own theme. Having just a handful of rooms gives a lot more leeway for personalisation and Legado Mítico curates an experience that celebrates the culture, history and heroes of Salta, Argentina’s most beautiful province.
A cut above the rest
Legado Mítico is a member of TheBBH, an alliance of the best small luxury hotels in Latin America. It’s a quality stamp travellers can trust to find hidden gems. It also has a spot on the coveted list of Great Small Hotels (Pequeños Hoteles Emblematicos). The brand is accustomed to well-heeled guests from far and wide – Vogue and The New York Times have already given it their seal of approval.
Legado Mítico is superbly located mere minutes from Plaza 9 de Julio, the epicentre of the city with its candy-coloured cathedral, museums and congregating Salteños.
It’s all about the little touches here. I received a warm welcome upon arrival and shortly after check-in; a glass of Salta’s green gold was delivered to my room alongside meaty green olives with llama-shaped cocktail sticks.
Legado is worthy of your leisure time even just for its open-air area and most importantly, the library and reading rooms. They’re a bibliophile’s dream and are stocked with a host of magazines and books to cater to light-hearted perusing or swotting up on the region’s storied background. The communal areas are delightful and owing to the small size of the hotel, it’s unlikely you’ll be sharing them with many others.
That elusive feeling of home is attained through the intimate hallways and attractive paintwork crowned by the warmest of service. There’s a quiet ambience which really lends itself to relaxation. The décor is elegant but unassuming with wood-panelled walls and little touches that add character. It’s a love letter to Argentina’s northeast with gaucho paraphernalia, cowhide furnishings and fabrics splashed with the same burgundy red of Salta’s flag.
There are three room categories: Míticas Classics, Míticas Superiors and Míticas Luxury rooms.
The five lavish Luxury rooms are El Cachaquí, La Escultura, El Músico, La Escritora and El Caudillo. All boast hydro-massage bathtubs and wood-burning stoves. Besides El Cachaquí, all Luxury rooms are the proud owners of regal four-poster beds.
The two Superior rooms are an ode to the northeast region’s native communities, the Wichí and the Kolla people. These larger rooms have sofas and are adorned with framed depictions of the tribes and also decorated in muted earth tones that evoke feelings of the arid Andes.
The Classic rooms are El Gaucho (named after Martin Miguel de Güemes, a Salta hero of the Argentine War of Independence), La Hidalga (meaning “the noblewoman” in honour of Güemes’ sister Macacha, also considered a wartime heroine), and lastly, La Capitana. This room is inspired by Martina Silva de Gurruchaga, the only Argentine woman to attain the title of honorary captain owing to the part she played in the Battle of Salta.
La Capitana would be my weekend home away from home. I took full advantage of the two private balconies and roomy bathtub in this palatial space. I adored the abundant mirrors, paintings, the white and blue colour pallet and the ceilings that just couldn’t get any higher. The space is certainly large enough for “La Capitana” and even her captain too – if she were to travel with one. A heavenly night’s sleep is assured in the large bed and the stocked mini-bar is equally generous.
The breakfast room
I awoke to a room bathed in light for breakfast, the most enjoyable of all my time in Argentina. Freshly pressed orange juice was enjoyed in quarters that ever so gently let the sun in. Like the rest of the property, a grand painting watched over us as we broke our fast. The pleasing art coupled with calming folkloric instrumentals in the background made for a gentle way to wake up. Over breakfast, I would meet a lovely couple from Chicago who were on the last leg of a grand tour of Argentina. They’d touched down in Iguazu, Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Jujuy, but Salta was their favourite part.
All bookings at Legado Mítico include a hearty buffet breakfast including fresh fruit, cheeses, divine Argentinian meats and pan casero (homemade bread). There isn’t a restaurant on site for evening dining but you’re spoilt for choice with an infinite list of restaurants practically on your doorstep.
Nearby activities and attractions
After enjoying your decadent breakfast, stroll to nearby Plaza 9 de Julio; the undisputed heart of the city. Here you’ll encounter locals drinking mate, playing the guitar and leisurely taking in Salta’s renowned warm weather. Situate yourself at one of the many alfresco cafes and enjoy traditional dances put on by Salteños of all ages as well as the colourful buildings and charming colonial architecture.
Within the square is the MAAM (The Museum of High Altitude Archaeology) where three cryogenically frozen Inca children reside. The youngsters were discovered in near perfect condition on the Llullaillaco volcano by North American anthropologist Johan Reinhard. The children were sacrificed and placed in high mountain graves and it’s astounding how well preserved they are. Visit the museum to learn about Andean culture as well as to see them for yourself. MAAM’s is a rotating exhibition and only one child is displayed at any given time. Museo Güemes is another noteworthy museum. It’s a vivid and interactive Spanish-language experience detailing the life and death of General Güemes.
Get all your sightseeing done in one fell swoop by booking a half-day city tour with an operator like Uma Travel. They’ll pick you up from your accommodation anywhere in the city and whisk you to Plaza Armada Argentina and the Monumento 20 de Febrero, the aristocracy’s former summer village of San Lorenzo, Salta’s handicrafts market, and of course, San Bernardo Hill, revealing local insights and history along the way.
Salta is best admired from above at Cerro San Bernardo (San Bernardo Hill), which even has a man-made waterfall to tickle visitors a tad more. Two restaurants, a gym and a mobile wine shop will keep you entertained as you devour panoramic views of the city. There are three ways to get to the top: walking or running up a designated footpath, by car or with the Teleférico cable car. The latter gets my vote as the most scenic and impressive option.
Legado Mítico is also a hop, skip and a jump from the train station for Train to the Clouds, one of Salta’s biggest attractions. It’s the third-highest high-altitude train in the world and an adventure through the depths of the Lerma valley on a railroad with a century of history behind it.
As Salta is rumoured to be the birthplace empanadas, locals are near evangelic about their love for them and eager to tell you where to get the best ones. To decide for yourself, head to a peña; a restaurant that combines a musical experience with traditional and regional food. La Casona del Molino and La Vieja Estacion come highly recommended for both the cuisine and the immersive local experience.
The city of Salta is a pleasant surprise bursting with charm and a delightful gateway to the rest of the province, nicknamed “Salta the beautiful”. Legado Mítico is a sweet retreat that makes you feel like you’ve truly experienced a destination, which surely, is the point.
Prices start at USD 180 plus taxes for a classic room. Book your stay now.
Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, author of the book “Escape To Self”, and content editor for Club Elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram @TheBeachBell.