Inside Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires' $40 Million Renovation

Ushuaia Argentina
Ushuaia Argentina // Photo by OlgaCanals/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY, New York -- Luxury Travel Advisor recently sat down with representatives of the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires and got the skinny on the resort's $40 million renovation that is expected to bring in a younger, more chic client through its doors.

General Manager Rebeca Selley-Morales told us the property in Argentina, located in the heart of Buenos Aires, can expect a clientele in 35-50-year-old range once the makeover is completed. Currently, the resort attracts older clientele in the 50-year-old-and-above range.

The hotel recently unveiled the first phase of the project with the debut of redecorated rooms, suites and lobby, freshly landscaped grounds, and three new dining and drinking concepts that are quickly becoming the city’s newest hot spots for socializing. The final phase of the renovation, a refurbishment of the hotel’s meetings spaces, is set to be complete later this year.

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Operating as a hotel since 1992 with the addition of a modern, 12-story tower to the historic 1920 La Mansión, Four Seasons has managed the hotel since 2001. The current renovation is being led by WA International (lobby and rooms), EDG (food and beverage venues) and 40NORTH (landscaping and garden design).

New gardens and lobby now feature five sculptural cantering horses outside the property’s exterior, a sense of movement and passion has been created by local artist Vivienne Duchini. Formal topiary speaks to the city’s European sophistication, while jasmine vines on the hotel’s façade soften the look. Terraces adjacent to the hotel’s new dining spaces invite VIPs to come in from the street.

Several columns were removed to open up the space, welcoming VIPs to new reception desks decorated with South American semi-precious stones in shades of vivid blue. Caballos Libres, or “free horses,” a painting by renowned Argentine artist Alejandro Moy, portrays horses in full gallop, another reference to the country’s favorite sport of polo.

Cushioned by a hand-tufted custom made carpet, lit by sculptural lighting fixtures of blown glass overhead and perfumed by the distinctive Bayo scent created by Fueguia 1833 exclusively for the hotel, it’s a promising start to a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires.

The hotel’s new restaurant, Elena, is named after Elena Peña Unzué, the bride who was presented La Mansión as a wedding gift from her husband Félix Saturnino de Álzaga Unzué in the 1920s. Rooted in the traditions of the Argentinian family kitchen, Elena is a place to gather for modernized versions of classic dishes created by Executive Chef Juan Gaffuri, and enhanced by a carefully curated wine list by new sommelier Sebastian Maggi.

The dramatic double-height, sky-lit space features a spiral staircase leading up to the balcony level, and is ideal for private dining events. The space is decorated in the style of a courtyard – fresh and open, yet a welcome escape from the busy city. Rich interior furnishings, including locally-sourced antiques, seamlessly blend South American and European cultures in true Buenos Aires fashion, with hand-crafted finishes by local artisans adding a unique character.

Inspired by the sport of kings, the new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires brings to life the casual chic of La Dolfina polo lifestyle. Pony Line balances urban sophistication with the carefree elegance of polo in leathers and other fabrics, riding motifs, art by Alejandro Moy, and rugged yet refined elements such as pergamino-clad trunks that act as cocktail tables. On the menu are hand-craft cocktails and a new “bites” menu.

Nestled between the modern tower and La Mansión near the Hotel’s outdoor pool and newly landscaped gardens, the new venue will host private asados – the traditional open fire barbecues of Argentinian culture – and transform into an open air restaurant in mid-April. Styled with gaucho blankets and pillowed seating alongside English and French garden antiques centred around the asado, the new summer venue promises to be the ultimate venue for cozy urban backyard entertaining.

The hotel’s 116 guestrooms and 49 luxury suites have been thoughtfully redesigned to be contemporary yet timeless, elegant and spacious, and accented by locally-inspired themes, motifs and materials.

In the guest rooms and suites, the space between bed and bath has been opened up with new leather-clad sliding doors. Leather-wrapped drawer handles, nail head-studded trims and carved horse lamps evoke the Hotel’s polo theme, while an impressive alpaca-embossed headboard made by local artisans graces the bed. In the bath area, finishes include polished walnut, Italian crema marfil marble, blue and turquoise glass mosaics, and technological upgrades including an LCD television built into the mirror.

Four floors of the hotel have now been renovated, with the remainder scheduled for completion in 2013.

This year, all meeting spaces on the hotel’s mezzanine floor will sport a new look in early 2013, when Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires will also introduce a bold new catering concept for weddings, social functions and corporate events. In addition, the hotel will continue to offer the exclusive private rooms of La Mansión, which were fully restored in 2007.

“This is a tremendously exciting time, and we are thrilled to share the results of phase one of our renovation project with the people of Buenos Aires, and our guests from around the world,” says Selley. “There’s no question: for business or pleasure, Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires is the place to experience the very best of the city.”


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