Premium King Rooms offer the best views

When the world's highest capital city, La Paz, opened its first boutique bolthole some 12 floors up, we sent Darren Loucaides to discover if the Bolivian hotel scene had reached dizzyingly new heights too.

First impressions

It’s only my first morning in lofty La Paz, but already I’m thinking any praise for the Bolivian capital has been woefully misplaced. Perched in the Andes, some 3,600m (11,811ft) above sea level, at this altitude my head feels like it is being squeezed in a giant vice. So the prospect of climbing higher still, to the 12th floor of Multicine Mall, to reach the city’s first boutique hotel, is not a welcome one.

Yet welcome is exactly how I feel once I have coaxed myself out of the elevator and into Stannum Hotel. In the lobby – a kind of lounge, bar and restaurant all rolled into one –a cheerful receptionist offers me a cup of mate de coca. The source of South America’s most infamous narcotic, coca leafs are also known to ease altitude sickness in their raw state, and are particularly refreshing when sipped as a tea.

Feeling more myself after the mate, I’m given a quick tour of the small hotel. Opened in December 2012, there are 20 rooms in total which are spread across one floor of the Multicine Tower (work on a new floor with 20 more rooms and a spa is set to begin soon).

StannumReviewLobbyDesigner Norah Quintero arranged the stylish interior
Stannum Hotel

The stylish interior was arranged by Colombian designer Norah Quintero, whose work is known in the Caribbean and Miami. With silver and white-leather upholstery, moody lighting, straight lines and dark-wood flooring, Quintero has attempted to conjure a contemporary, metropolitan vibe. I guess the predominantly business clientele appreciate this (there’s a business centre for such guests, with computers and telephones).

While the sleek look risks being a bit soulless, subtle Bolivian touches rescue it from being just another city hotel. Stunning photography by Bolivian artist Marcelo Perez adorns the walls (his prints can be bought); spotlights illuminate his images of Bolivian landscapes along dimly lit corridors – the most striking is a picture of the snow-capped Illimani Mountain, the highest of the Cordillera Real range.

It may be a little too self-consciously smart and trendy, but Stannum’s extremely friendly and helpful staff make you feel more than comfortable; they’ve always a smile on their faces. This coupled with the incredible value for money makes Stannum the hotel of choice for La Paz.

Ideal for…

A short stay in the centre, near the heart of the action.

The room

The first thing I notice on entering my room is the huge floor-to-ceiling window which offers a grand vista of La Paz. There are few buildings as tall as Multicine in the vicinity and the grey mountains bounding the city can be seen in all their glory from here, especially Illimani which gleams in the distance.

StannumReviewWorkDeskSome rooms show the mountains in all their glory
Stannum Hotel

The room itself is very contemporary, in keeping with the rest of the hotel, with white walls and ceiling, clean lines and angular furniture in dark-wood veneer. The large comfortable bed is backed by a huge headboard, its white pin cushion framed in dark wood. There’s a desk of glass and chrome and two wiry lamps on either side of the bed which cast beguiling shadows against the walls. A striking photo of a little girl wearing traditional clothing reminds me that I’m in La Paz.

Best room

I’m fortunate enough to stay in one of Stannum’s two best Premium King Rooms; room 2010. This and room 2011 offer the best views and boast a larger television. All the rooms on this side of the building have views of the mountains, while rooms on the other side look out over the city.

Eating and drinking

Although restaurant, bar and lounge are essentially one room, the dining area feels relaxing and inviting rather than cramped. Stannum’s Bolivian chef offers international dishes as well as more locally inspired fare such as the grilled trout and salsa de Maracuyá (passion fruit sauce). Perched on a leather-upholstered stool at the small bar, you can order a free welcome drink of juice and Singani, Bolivia’s national liquor made from muscatel white grape.

StannumReviewCoffeeBarThe dining area feels relaxing and inviting
Stannum Hotel

Breakfast is a generous buffet of fresh-baked breads, cheeses, hams, bacon and frankfurter sausages, with eggs to order. The fig jam and cream cheese are nice touches, and real coffee is best enjoyed while you can in this land of instant blends. There are also plates of mango, melon and apple. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything ostentatiously Bolivian to try despite the country’s growing culinary reputation.


Being set in the Multicine Mall, Stannum provides access to a modern gym. There’s also a large cinema, several restaurants and upmarket shops in the building.

Room for improvement

A few more definably Bolivian touches would help make this stylish hotel feel more unique.

Out and about

The area around Stannum (which is Latin for ‘tin’) is about 10 minutes from the city centre and is known as Sopcachi, which in yesteryear was home to some of the country’s richest tin barons. It features a number of restaurants, cafés and shops. A visit to La Paz’s main churches, museums and bars in the historic downtown is an inexpensive taxi ride away.


Address: Avenida Arce No 2631, Torre Multicine, 12th floor
Telephone: +591 (0)2 214 8393.
Rooms start at $100 per night including breakfast. Book the ‘romantic getaway’ package including dinner, breakfast, champagne and chocolates for $169.

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