Following our lucky win of 2 complimentary nights at the beautiful and colonial Alvear Palace, Doug and Mary Musgrave decided to dedicate 11 days to exploring Buenos Aires, “the Paris of South America”.
They had the luxury of checking into 4 different hotels during their stay, all but one of which were located in Recoleta, an affluent area of Buenos Aires just northeast of the City Centre.
(Fun fact: The neighbourhood’s popularity began towards the latter part of the 18th century when an outbreak of yellow fever (1871) in the southern suburbs forced the city’s residents to seek refuge elsewhere. Whilst the poorer headed south, the wealthier families chose Recoleta due to its higher terrain thus a lack of disease infecting insects).
Tell us a bit about the hotels you stayed at.
A Historic Expression
Situated on the water in up-and-coming Puerto Madero Este, Faena surprised us with its history – built using red bricks imported from Manchester, England, it takes the place of a former grain warehouse. During our 3-night stay, we were treated warmly by the staff and felt like we were at home. They even went above and beyond to provide us with the highlight of our experience – tickets to the Rojo Tango Show in the hotel, said to be the most iconic tango experience in Buenos Aires!
Old-world Paris in the heart of Argentina
Originally built as the palace to the Alvear family, it was transformed in 1932 into a luxury hotel, reminiscent of the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles. This style is evident in the furniture, the crystal chandeliers, walls decorated with gold leaf and works of art of famous artists. We were here for 2 nights, and truly felt like royalty. Dated glamour was its draw, and we felt pulled in to the vintage beauty of the whole setting.
The Four Seasons was a beautiful space, and in true Four Seasons fashion, did not let us down. The contemporary style of the rooms and common areas were a contrast to the French heritage district of Recoleta in which the Four Seasons is located. The hotel has been recently renovated, and oozes modernity. Whether of the outdoor pool, lush garden terrace or surrounding cityscape, we were pleasantly surprised to find that every single guest room boasted views.
Rooms: 116 (in addition to 49 suites)
Belle-époque understated elegance
Laps in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, breakfast every morning in the garden, wine tasting amongst the hummingbirds… the Park Hyatt on Recolata was the epitome of a luxury experience. With a “less is more” appeal, the Park Hyatt was the perfect fit for us. The style of the hotel was old-world stylish, without a sleek modern touch and not too much fanfare.
What was the most memorable moment of your Buenos Aires experience?
Mary: Arriving in Buenos Aires after a long flight, absolutely starving and slightly unsure of our new surroundings, we sat down for dinner by the pool at the Faena Hotel. The sun was setting, the Argentinian wine was flowing, and soon enough we felt right at home. Sitting directly in front of the waterfall by the pool, the soothing sounds of water were the perfect accompaniment to our conversation as we watched the beautiful orange sun dip below the horizon. It was magical.
Doug: My most memorable moment was visiting the famous Colon Theatre (Teatro Colon), built in 1908, with Mary on a guided tour. We were fascinated by its grandeur. It is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and it took my breath away. Seeing it in person enthused us to actually purchase tickets to the Philharmonic orchestra performance that night.
If you’re going to Buenos Aires…
Here are some tips:
- The subway is very clean and convenient. Do not shy away from using it as a mode of transportation.
- On the other hand, taxis are extremely affordable.
- Suggested (and widely accepted) currency is USD. Argentine peso is the official currency.
- Exchange rates around the city are extremely high; make sure you exchange your money before you go.