Vocab Test: What is a Telo?

A “telo” is sex hotel…but more on that later!

First, I wanted to talk about “lunfardo,” which is a type of slang here in Argentina that arose from Tango culture. From what I can tell, lunfardo vocabulary is usually a clever play on words (for instance, the Spanish word for “veal” is “ternera,” which is also the lunfardo word for “young woman”). Additionally, the simple transposition of sounds (“hotel” to “telo“) can create a word.

Now onto the telo. Sex hotels, which offer rooms for rent by the hour through to overnight accommodations, are quite above board here in Buenos Aires. Frankly, they are a necessity when children live with their parents well into their late twenties and you have a lot of horny young backpackers visiting and living in communal hostels!

These inns of iniquity are also needed to facilitate the business of conducting extramarital affairs, as illustrated by one of my favorite telo services, hidden car parking (all for an extra charge, of course).

I’ve heard the pillows suck though, so if you’re going to use a telo, bring your own pillow!

5 Responses to “Vocab Test: What is a Telo?”

  1. Reed

    Are the pillows really all that necessary? Who sleeps in a telo? Jajaja.

  2. Barbara

    Telos are also useful when the gas in your building is shut off for repair of the main pipes, and you don’t have hot water. Check into a room in the morning for the minimum period (I think it’s 2 hours, not sure) and you can both have nice long, hot showers and get dressed for work.

  3. Buenos Aires Expats - Online Community of Expatriates and guide to living in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    […] around more than 60 art galleries, antique shops, museums and cultural c… Sunday, 19 April Vocab Test: What is a Telo?[micheleandtom.com] A “ telo ” is sex hotel…but more on that later! First, I […]

  4. Michele


    That is an excellent point! You can tell I’m a parent — all we care about is sleep!

  5. Michele

    Barbara, that is an excellent alternative use of the Telo! Who knew how useful they could be?

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