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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jet Set: Buenos Aires

El Caminito in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a city that I have longed to visit for quite some time now. My husband's parents are from Argentina (but from a different city) and I am constantly hearing about the wonders of the country. For some unknown reason, we haven't ventured there yet, but being the city-loving girl that I am, Buenos Aires appeals to me more than any other Argentine destination.

A beautiful fountain in a city park acts as a refuge for Porteños

The sprawling city is home to tango, soccer, fabulous food, and a vibrant art scene. Affectionately referred to as "the Paris of the South" it is a beautiful and elegant city comprised of wide boulevards, beautiful architecture, and lovely parks. The city and country are very European in comparison to other countries in South America as the great majority of its inhabitants are of Italian, Spanish, or French descent.

El Congreso Nacional

The dollar still goes pretty far in Argentina, so one can indulge in a luxe travel experience more easily than in say, Europe, where the exchange rate is not in our favor. My in-laws are constantly telling me about delicious steak dinners for two accompanied by a nice bottle of wine for about $25 or custom made suits and leather goods that can be bought for very little compared to what they would go for here in the States. Favorable exchange rates aside, I long to visit Buenos Aires for its beauty, the romance that seems to fill the air, and the passion that is so intrinsic to Porteños (people from Buenos Aires are called this because their city is a port). I want to be inspired by the gorgeous architecture, great food and wine, by antiques in the San Telmo market, or by a couple dancing the tango in the streets.

French-inspired architecture in the elegant Recoleta neighborhood

The colorful neighborhood of La Boca is the birthplace of the tango.

A couple dances the tango in the streets of Buenos Aires

Vintage telephones are among the fantastic finds at the San Telmo Antiques and Junk Market. Seriously, how cool are these?

You've got to love a fruit stand whose produce is as fresh as its hot pink antique, claw-foot tub!

If you're wanting to plan a trip to this splendid city, you're probably wondering where to stay. In a city this large, hotels abound, so I have narrowed down to four very different options.

Option #1: Indulge your Inner Bohemian at the Legado Mítico Hotel
This 11-room stylish boutique hotel is located in the colorful Palermo Viejo neighborhood, where the avant garde rules. It is surrounded by art galleries, bars, restaurants, fashion and interior design stores.The hotel is an exercise in Argentine identity and each room evokes the image of one of Argentina's most famous icons. Among them are Eva Perón, Carlos Gardel, the famous tango musician, Mafalda, the beloved cartoon, and the famous author, Borges.

The Lobby at the Legado Mítico Hotel

A desk and vintage typewriter in one of the suites
Don't despair! Wi-Fi is available on the premises.

The Carlos Gardel-themed Suite

Most of the suites feature fireplaces original to the building.

Option #2 For a Glamorous Experience, try the Faena Hotel + Universe Hotel
Housed in the El Porteño building, this luxurious hotel is an experience for all of the senses. It is located within walking distance to the Casa Rosada, the city's financial centre, and the city's oldest neighborhood of San Telmo. The Belle Epoque themed hotel was imagined by Alan Faena and designed by Phillipe Starck.

Decadence and comfort are combined in the guestrooms at Faena Hotel + Universe

The hotel's bar was inspired by the old cantinas of Argentina

The hotel's restaurant, El Mercado, was inspired by old-world markets and features natural and seasonal products. It has been described as "a spot where simplicity goes hand-in-hand with nobility", which is certainly reflected in the décor.

The stylish pool terrace is a place to see and be seen.

Option # 3: Grand Splendor at the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt

The Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt is located on Buenos Aires' famed Alvear Avenida in Recoleta, the city's most elegant and fashionable neighborhood.

Understated elegance is paired with every possible comfort in the guest rooms at this hotel.

The hotel is home to the Duhau Restaurant and Vinoteca, as well as the Oak Bar.

This elegant hotel has received countless awards and is considered to be among the finest in Buenos Aires.

Option #4: Enjoy Buenos Aires in the most traditional way, at the
Estancia Santa Rita.
An estancia is the equivalent of a Mexican hacienda, or an American plantation. It is essentially a wealthy landowner's estate. Isn't this building beautiful? "Nestled in 40-hectare woods, planted 150 years ago, with avenues of eucalyptus, casuarinas and ombú trees is Estancia Santa Rita, situated in the "Partido de Lobos". Without doubt, one of the charms of Estancia Santa Rita is its history, which goes back to the times of the Virreinato."

The estancia was built in 1790 by the Ezcurra family. The Spanish and European influences are very evident in its spectacular architecture. "In 1890, the estancia was acquired by the provincial senator Antonio Carboni, founder of the small village of the same name located 4 km from the estancia. Estancia Santa Rita remained in the Carboni family until 1988, when Isabel Duggan & Franklin Nüdemberg became the estancia's proud owners."

Located about 120 kilometers from Buenos Aires, it would make for the perfect weekend destination to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city with its cozy and romantic atmosphere.

Which hotel would you choose?


J said...

I would choose option #5 - rent an apartment! I spent 10 days in Argentina in November 2007 and we rented an adorable apartment right in the middle of Palermo. It was $400 for 10 nights in a 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment.

Buenos Aires is an amazing city. Seeing the photos you choose makes me want to go back, particularly to the San Telmo market!

Unknown said...

J, that is an incredible tip! That is such a great deal. Thanks for sharing!

Meg said...

I'm definitely a #4 girl! Such a great post Paloma, I've been researching BA for my business lately and was hoping to go sometime in April...not sure b/c of the economy right now...but this post just got me excited about it again after I've been a little down in the dumps about this economic situation lately! Doesn't it look so stylish and colorful??

Meg said...

J is right, I had found a few apartments to rent for $250 USD a week, which was what my mom and I had planned on doing!

Anonymous said...

Paloma, that's so funny I was going to do a post today about Buenos Aires..and the hotel from Alan Faena...! But end up deciding to do one about Bariloche!...I am from Argentina and what I know about you from your posts you would LOVE it!!


alice said...

Thanks for posting on Buenos Aires!
This is my husband and my dream destination that is always "6-12 months away"... on a moving target!!! Hopefully we'll get to go one day soon. Hopefully you'll get to go too, and you'll probably have a fabulous insider's tour that you'll have to fill us in on :)

Anonymous said...

I bet Buenos Aires must be such a beautiful place. I think I would stay @ Estancia Sant looks so romantic:)

Maria Killam said...

Okay, the fruit stand was the best most colourful thing I've ever seen! Wow. Wonderful photos, thank you!

My Galveston Cottage said...

I'm ready to go...! Besides loving the pink clawfoot tub, I was captivated by all the pictures. So diverse.
cheers, -s

Mica Perez Cataletto said...

Thank you for the informative and beautiful posts!
I think a stay in Argentina is in my future!

Lindley said...

i went to BA last year at this was phenomenal! had drinks at FAENA - sooo luxe..rented an apartment in palermo i belive. it was so cheap and so cute! all in all a fantastic trip!

Yoli said...

Paloma I have always been in love with Argentina but have never had the pleasure of going there. I really must. I love this post!!! I am going to show it to my husband when he comes home. By the way, I absolutely love, love your name. We are adopting again and I am naming my daughter Paloma.

Jess said...

Fabulous Hotel finds... I think I'd like to stay at each... if we're dreaming, why not go all out :)

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I are going to BA in May! Can't wait. I'm so glad you posted pictures. I plan to do alot of 'research' before we go.

chateaudelu said...

I have been dieing to go to Buenos Aires, I bought the Fodor guide months ago. Beautiful post, thanks!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

I just found you blog and I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!!!! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit in you.

My, have just presented Argentina in a beautiful light, and I'm just longing to go...The hotels you picked are gorgeous. I like Faena, but perhaps, I'd also like a stay at the Estancia Santa Rita, for its elegant portico and traditional furnishings!

carolina @ patagonia gifts said...

Such a wonderful post, Paloma! Beautiful photos! I'm from BA, living in Patagonia now. I think I didn't really appreciated when I lived there. Thanks for sharing!

kadler said...

I lived in BA a few years back. Definitely never stayed in any glam hotels (more like a teeny tiny tenement), but it was a great city. And your in-laws are right about the currency exchange - everything is so cheap! I definitely lived large.

Mélanie said...

I would choose the last one : La estancia

Unknown said...

Melanie, isn't it romantic? As gorgeous as all of these hotels are, you guys have me thinking that renting an apartment is definitely the way to go! I guess I could always visit the hotels for dinner or drinks.

Anonymous said...

Love the vintage telephones. They are worth a fortune back in the UK :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I went to Argentina last year and I had a great time. I enjoyed tango and soccer! People there is so passionate about it. I also stayed in a fancy apartment in Palermo which was really comfortable. Everyone should go to Argentina, it is such a great country!

Unknown said...

Beautifull pictures!!
Now that I'm going to live in BA for 2 months I hope that the apartments for rent Buenos Aires look like those places you're shoing here :)