When you begin your descent into Buenos Aires International Airport (EZE), the greenery of the country immediately grabs your attention. Small towns dot the landscape and the rural quality of the surrounding area is almost deceptive, as the sight you see next is anything but rural. Driving into the heart of the city, your eyes are immediately taken by steadily rising apartment buildings, many bearing murals courtesy of the city’s many street artists, and impressive skyscrapers. Cathedrals represent days gone by and lush parks act as a reminder of the greenery you flew over as you landed.
For my time in Buenos Aires, I was lucky enough to stay at the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt. This grand hotel is located in the heart of the La Recoleta neighborhood, which boasts some of the chicest shopping & dining in Buenos Aires. The Palacio Duhau itself is a marvel with two buildings on property – one old & one new. As you arrive, you pull into a semi-circle drive way and the grand old building greets you. The Palacio is an aristocratic, posh building constructed in 1934 and features a grand Oak Bar and utterly elegant décor. The rooms in the Palacio are decorated in a classic, old world style and are perfect for those who love a vintage feel when they travel.
To access the second building, you can either walk through the beautifully manicured courtyard, which has plenty of lounge chairs for relaxing and enjoying the garden. All rooms in both buildings feature stunning views of the courtyard, which is particularly beautiful when it is illuminated at night. The buildings are also connected by an underground tunnel that acts as a stunning art gallery, boasting an incredible collection of modern art. Also on the underground level is their stunning Ahin spa, which features the largest indoor pool & best-equipped gym in the city, an adorable macaron shop, florist and an upscale boutique. Needless to say, it might take you a while to make your way to the second building!
The rooms in the Duhau building are decisively more modern, which matches the architecture of the building. All of the rooms feature high tech amenities, large walk-in closets and incredible bathrooms that ensure you will luxuriate in high style. The Duhau also houses the tea room, where a beautiful breakfast buffet is set up each morning and offers guests fresh fruit, pastries, espresso and many more options. Beautiful light floods the room and the simple, elegant décor transports you to another world. It all feels very Parisian while still maintaining a distinct Argentinian quality.
Dining at the Palacio Duhau is an incredible experience in and of itself. Off the lobby is the Palacio Duhau’s wine bar, which boasts a collection of over 7,000 bottles of wine. A long marble table sits adjacent to a cheese room which, for a cheese addict like myself, was a joy to behold. Wine tastings can be arranged for two to twelve people and are paired with incredible cheeses, charcuterie, breads and jams – all of which hail from Argentina. Above the wine bar is the Gioia Restaurant. The restaurant features an interesting fusion of modern Italian cuisine with a very obvious Argentinian influence. We enjoyed at late night dinner on the beautiful terrace overlooking the courtyard and the entire experience was unforgettable.
The hotel’s convenient location and posh neighborhood is perfect for a leisurely stroll. While exploring, you are sure to find beautiful boutiques, fun bars and quaint cafes to fill your days! La Recoleta has a massive market each weekend where you can browse local goods ranging from jewelry made of pink quartz to beautiful leather pieces. Just off the square is the Recoleta Cemetery, one of the top attractions in the city. Resting place to some of Buenos Aires most influential families, including the beloved Evita. Winding alleys lead you past impressive mausoleums, some of which are decorated with flowers and small offerings while others are sadly abandoned – a testament of time passing in one of South America’s oldest cities.
One simply can’t visit to Buenos Aires without checking out the city’s signature dance – The Tango. We visited Rojo Tango, located inside the Faena Hotel. The club is decorated with deep red velvet and dim, soft lighting. As soon as you step inside the club you are immersed in the romance and sensuality of the dance itself. Photography is not allowed during the show and as you sip your wine and eat the incredible food you can feel the anticipation in the room mounting. Almost as soon as the dessert plates are cleared, the lights go down and the dancers take stage and you are swept away right along with them. It is truly beautiful and you will leave feeling strong emotions of awe and envy.
If you find your mind wandering back to the greenery that greeted you upon your descent, then visiting an estancia is the perfect fix! I visited La Estancia La Bamba de Areco, a Relais & Chateaux property. Located about an hour drive outside of Buenos Aires off of a quaint dirt road, it is a perfect reprieve from the bustling city. The red buildings are beautifully surrounded by ancient plane trees and expansive lawns, decorated with polo in mind. Several friendly dogs freely wander the property and mosey up to guests for some affection. An outdoor kitchen flanked by long rustic dining tables churns out incredible carne asada, sure to satisfy even the most insatiable carnivore. Gauchos perform for guests daily proving that the bond between a man and his horse is a beauty to behold. With only 11 rooms and suites, the property is peaceful and private and can serve as a one-day escape or a several night retreat.
Buenos Aires is a city of duality and as such it has something for everyone. It can provide the chicest shopping right alongside local artisans selling their homemade wares. The haunting beauty of the Recoleta cemetery sits beside the lively marketplace and the refreshing relaxation of the Estancia La Bamba makes it hard to believe it is only an hour outside of the city. Even the Palacio Duhau embodies this duality – the Palacio with its classic design acting as a landmark of where the city has been & the Duahu’s contemporary design a testimony of where it is going.