Most people associate Argentina with prime beef steak, majestic Tango performances and hotly contested football rivalries. But there is one more thing that should be on your Argentine bucket list, but for this, it might be best done during the hours of darkness.
Catering for both regular customers and one-off gringos looking to try something different, telos are discrete “love hotels” where you and your partner can pay by the hour for a novel and interesting sexual encounter.
The world telo itself comes from the lunfardo word for hotel. The H is silent and in lunfardo the syllables are often reversed. Yes, motels are not unique to Argentina. Many countries have their own love nests located off highways where you can pay by the hour. But what sets telos apart from the rest of the Americas is the lavish extras and additions afforded to guests.
They are entirely fit for purpose and are under no illusions of what their guests are getting up to in the early hours of the night. Many telos have pornography, branded condoms, strategically placed mirrors and even cameras to make a keepsake of the whole experience.
Of course, at the lower and of the market, you can still find tacky dens of sin with coloured lighting and sheets you wouldn’t want to see under a UV light. But at the top end, these places have jacuzzis, minibars, plasma TV screens and modern décor.
There are also plenty of themed telos. If it was your fantasy to do the deed in a spaceship, a Pyramid from ancient Egypt, or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, you can find a themed room to suit your wildest fantasies.
These novel nests of erotica were bred out of necessity. In Argentine culture, it is not uncommon for a son or daughter to live with their parents well into their thirties, and even beyond. Rather than sneaking partners back in the middle of the night, telos arose out of demand for a private place to go after a night out.
Of course, young couples looking for some privacy aren’t the only people who use these upmarket shag pads. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During the week, when office workers take their lunch hour, the telos fill up with a different type of clientele. Telos will never ask for a name, and they don’t have bars where you could bump into someone you know.
They have streamlined the whole experience of sexual activity. Get in discretely, do your business in private and skulk out of the plain looking door. Even if you have done nothing wrong, you come out feeling like you’ve been up to no good with a mischievous grin, and a great experience to tell your friends about.