Ignore the Hotel Bel Air's claim that it is located in Barrio Norte: aside from La Isla, this is as top an inner-Recoleta location as you will find. The hotel is tucked away on the better side of Callao surrounded by antiques shops, designer boutiques and hair salons for professional housewives, and it's only a few yards from Plaza Vicente Lopez, perhaps the most fashionable park for showing off one's pedigree poodle.
At the Bel Air you are safe, and that is what you are paying upwards of 390 pesos for in this converted 1920s building, still handsomely dressed in its period white façade. Inside, judge the Bel Air on the cosy lobby, which features nicely pretentious space-age raised comfort booths overlooking the restaurant, with its views of Arenales street.
Do not expect luxury: the rooms are stark, but nevertheless spacious and well lit. Ask for one of the top-floor suites, which have balconies facing the street, perfect for soaking up the atmosphere of this well-heeled neighbourhood. The Shamrock, El Alamo, Million and El Gran Bar Danzon are all within walking-distance. For a cheeky dinner, pop out to Sirop or Resto.