|Photo by Freeimages.com/Alberto Carvalho|
by Sara Wheeler, The Daily Telegraph, April 12, 2016
In Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Cafayate, these three characterful hotels make perfect pit stops for anyone exploring Argentina's Puna.
Our recent article on Puna, Agentina's wild and rugged western frontier, documents the spectacular sights that await intrepid travellers who choose to explore this beautifully remote region. Should you aim to explore the area yourself, these three characterful hotels should provide some welcome comfort en route.
Buenos Aires: Hub Porteno
The superb luxury 11-room boutique hotel is situated in old-money Recoleta district next to Avenida Alvear, the Fifth Avenue of the city. The décor is customised hardwood, and the exterior so discreet that there is no sign. Uniquely, hotelier Gonzalo Robredo offers day-long immersion experiences in things Argentinian – select from Wine, Gaucho, Tango, Art, and more. The Literature option involves an in-depth private talk from a professor, a walk round the cafes of the Palermo district where Borges chewed bitter fat with Cortázar, and a visit to the city’s top antiquarian bookdealer – for book fans, it is one of the best experiences you can have in Buenos Aires. Tarquino, the superb restaurant attached to the Hub, recently appeared at number 16 in the prestigious Best Latin American Restaurants list – the highest new entry. The chef trained at el Bulli, and favours molecular cuisine. Look out for the foam pizza – and book well in advance. Doubles from £350.
Mendoza: The Vines
Situated west of Buenos Aires, in the foothills of the Andes, The Vines is one of the most sophisticated and upscale resorts in Argentina. Its 22 villas, with views of vineyard and mountain, are landscaped in earthy colours that blend into the pampa. Its Siete Fuegos restaurant is the creation of Francis Mallmann, the leading Argentinian television chef, whose cuisine focuses on both traditional and modern South American flavours. IN addition to the experience of becoming a vineyard owner and winemaker, The Vines offers plots on the estancia where people can build homes and use resort facilities. At the spa, guests may blend their own scents. Hiking, horseriding and other activites are available as are excellent open-air cookery classes. Doubles from £450.
And another Mendoza tip: make a visit to the gorgeously simple María Antonieta restaurant in the heart of the city if you are en route to the mountains. Either sit outside on the pavement with local office types, or inside the old, tiled dining area by the bar. It’s bistro-style with an Argentinian twist.
Cafayate: Grace Cafayate
The Grace is made up of 12 rooms, and 20 villas, in the middle of a 1,360-acre estancia outside Cafayate, near Salta, up in the northwest. It already boasts the best golf course in Argentina, its own winery, a spa that uses local ingredients in its detoxifying products, and a polo ground offering classes with a professional player. Its Greek owners have ambitious future plans. The cost of the 400 lots on the estancia range from £70,000 for an average site of 21,500sq ft, although most have been snapped up already. Doubles from £180.
Cazenove+loyd (020 7384 2332) can organise a14-day trip to Argentina, including return British Airways flights, Aerolineas Argentinas domestic flights, private transfers and private guiding, from £4,500 per person based on two sharing. The accommodation includes nine nights’ b&b at Hub Porteño in Buenos Aires, The Vines in Mendoza, Grace Cafayate in Mendoza, House of Jasmines Salta, Finca Valentina Salta, and four nights' all-inclusive at Manantial del Silencio in Purmamarca, Casa Andina in Tolar Grande and Hosteria El Peñon in El Peñon.
This article was written by Sara Wheeler from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.