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An antiques-loving couple has restored this old building into a cosy guesthouse, says Sorrel Moseley-Williams. In a tranquil street, a stone's throw from Salta's busy 9 de Julio square, Carpe Diem could just be another home.
But look beyond the light blue exterior and discover a turn-of-theth-century property that is far from insignificant, given its complete makeover. Many original features remain in the eight-bedroom property, from the living room's pine floorboards to the creeper vine in the back garden. Modern touches that blend well include a conservatory and a fireplace blazing at the first sign of autumnal chills. With several communal spaces, including a library well stocked with travel guides, a cosy living room and a breakfast room that also serves up hot drinks throughout the day, guests can feel perfectly at ease here.
Carpe Diem offers both single and double rooms. Each en-suite room blends ethnic art and wall hangings with treasures unearthed by the antiques-loving owners. A roll-top desk features in one room, while large country-style wardrobes are par for the course. Each spacious quarter comes with a PC and modem; Wi-Fi is also freely available across the property.
Some bathrooms have tubs, others have large walk-in showers — all have heated towel rails. The owners have two house cats that they will happily demote to the back garden should a guest suffer allergies. A tempting selection of home-made bread rolls and slices of cake awaits, accompanied by two jams, all baked and made at Carpe Diem. Freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit and yoghurts are welcome additions to the circular table that overlooks the well-kept garden.
Tea and coffee are served in fine English china. Former social worker Silke Schefold was on sabbatical in Argentina a decade ago, when she met Riccardo Morsani at the dining table of a Mendoza mountain lodge. It was love at first sight, she says. And although her plan was to return to Germany, she stayed to help Riccardo search for a property in which to open a hostel. However, this Salta home came to their attention and the pair set about renovating it.