Living Room at Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Algodon Mansion

If Madonna, Nicole Kidman or Lady Gaga were coming to Buenos Aires to film a remake of “Evita,” they would be sure to stay at the Algodon Mansion. Until the opening of this beautiful townhouse hotel, the most palatial place to stay in the Recoleta area—or all of Buenos Aires for that matter—was a room in the palace section of the Park Hyatt or Four Seasons hotel. Now, however, the more exclusive option is to check in to this ten-suite mansion just around the corner where you will be among a much smaller group of guests and in more private circumstances. The stunning Belle Epoque-style residence was built as a family home in 1912, and its grand classical façade and proportions have been meticulously restored but now a valet in a well-cut suit greets guests outside and ushers them into salons that are sleek and modern. The check-in desk sits in a marble hallway and to its left is an elegant bar with a fireplace flanked by handsome suede club chairs. Next door is the intimate dining room of the restaurant, the Algodon Club, where French/Argentine cuisine is served to a crowd of well-heeled locals as well as hotel guests. Downstairs is a wine cellar, which includes bottles from the Algodon Estates in Mendoza.

The ten guest suites feature sleek contemporary furniture from B&B Italia and Cappellini and all have vast marble bathrooms, including major steam showers, and the latest technology from WiFi and plasma TVs to electronic window shades, iPod docks and Nespresso machines. Some of the larger suites contain separate living rooms and baby grand pianos. To ensure that all guests feel at home, each room comes with an Algodon wine-tasting set and a 24-hour butler who can assist with cars, personalized business cards, reservations, or, in our case, fresh-baked cookies as a late-night snack. Though there are no fitness facilities, guests receive complimentary membership to a large and modern gym a block away. The Algodon does have a spa as well as a small rooftop pool, really large dipping tub, which is surrounded by a teak deck, complete with loungers. Individual suites or the entire mansion can be rented.

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Alvear Palace Hotel

Hermès toiletries, 500-thread-count Egyptian-cotton linens, daily fruit baskets, and fresh flowers everywhere are just a few of the amenities that make the Alvear Palace popular with traditionalists looking for a taste of Argentine opulence. A recent renovation at the hotel updated the 210 rose-, beige- and cream-hued Louis XV–style rooms and suites with marble bathrooms and LCD screens above the in-room hot tubs, though rooms still feel surprisingly dated. There are all-new accommodations on the top floors, with an ever-so-gentle veer towards a more contemporary style. Guests in these rooms have a private check-in experience on the 10th floor, and access to a club level.

Butlers will unpack for guests as well as secure reservations at the hotel’s refined French restaurant, La Bourgogne, the first Relais Gourmand restaurant in Latin America. The hotel’s spa has also been refurbished, and the gym features top-end equipment. For cocktails or high tea, don’t miss the dark and romantic lobby bar, usually busy with a local crowd. The multi-tiered rooftop bar is also a local favorite, and has some of the best views in city. Sunday brunch in the main restaurant is the best in the city, worth attending even if you’re staying elsewhere.

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Bedroom at Faena Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Faena Hotel

Buenos Aires entrepreneur Alan Faena and designer Philippe Starck teamed up to produce Faena Hotel + Universe, a stunning 88-room hotel that opened its doors in late 2004. Floor-to-ceiling silk and velvet curtains line the hallway leading to the popular Sunday brunch spot (El Mercado), charmingly designed with ceramics and glassware and knick-knacks from the city’s antiques district, San Telmo, and the funky restaurant Bistro, bedecked with white unicorn heads mounted on the walls and white leather sofas with gold claw-feet. Rooms and suites (including over-the-top residence-style accommodations) are equally dramatic, with cherry wood floors, red-velvet curtains and funky glass- and mirror-clad bathrooms. The reception area, four small desks in front of the elevators, is where the hotel dispatches its “experience managers,” butlers–cum–personal assistants who attend to guests’ needs. The state-of-the-art gym, spa and hammam area is divine. Note: The hotel lies a few miles from the Recoleta area, so some guests find it a bit out of the way for many of the main sites.

Exterior View - Four Seasons Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Four Seasons Buenos Aires

While the Four Seasons’ main building and mixed-style lounge decor are less dramatic than some of the city’s more stylish properties, the hotel’s mansion, a magnificent Louis XIII–style edifice built in 1916, houses beautiful and traditional suites well-suited to high-rollers, heads of state and celebrities. The adjacent contemporary tower, which is somewhat charmless, contains the other  158 rooms and suites, all spacious and recently refurbished in a neutral color palette.  The mansion view rooms are preferable over the city view as these unfortunately look over a highway.

The Cielo spa, which offers all-natural treatments, ranks among the city’s best, and the restaurant Elena and Pony Line Bar are chic destinations for well-heeled locals as well as guests. In summer the hotel now offers traditional asados, or Argentine open-fire barbecues, on a rooftop garden. Perhaps the biggest draw is the heated outdoor pool, located in the garden. Although it’s not large, it’s an appealing amenity to families and a wonderful place to take an afternoon break from touring during the summer months, from November through March.

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LOunge at  Hub Porteño, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hub Porteño

With only eleven rooms, the Hub Porteño in tony Recoleta provides an intimate and quiet alternative to the larger luxury hotels in the neighborhood. It caters to  those who would prefer to stay at a boutique property that feels like a stylish pied-a-terre. The rooms are spacious – the smallest at over five hundred square feet – and furnished with a mix of modern and classic design. Even entry-level rooms have large marble baths with double vanities and Jacuzzi tubs. Hub Porteño also offers a small fitness room, a leafy rooftop terrace and one of the city's most avant-garde tasting menus at Chef Dante Liporace's Tarquino restaurant.

Bedroom at Jardin Escondido, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jardin Escondido

Says Coppola: “I was interested in the boutique urban hotel as a variation on the resort theme, to use the city itself as a theme.” He imbued his new garden oasis with elements of the vivacious art and culture scene of Buenos Aires, turning it into a small boutique hotel that joins the ranks of his other two special properties in Belize (Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn). The property has three levels of gardens, a solar-heated pool, an outdoor kitchen and parrilla grill, as well as a planted terrace. The property has four master bedrooms, two double bedrooms and one single bedroom. A full-time housekeeper and an English-speaking concierge are available for guests. Tip: the home feels more like a private residence than a full-service hotel, and it’s a better choice for a buyout than for booking single rooms.

Exterior View -  La Bamba de Areco, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Bamba de Areco

At the end of an hour's journey from the capital and a drive lined with hundred-year-old plane trees, La Bamba de Areco's arriving guests are welcomed by a receiving line of staff, including a personal host responsible for their stay. From the very beginning, one feels less like a hotel guest at La Bamba than that of a prosperous and doting uncle who knows how to entertain—the kind one might encounter in Jane Austen's novels or a South American adaptation of Downton Abbey.

Through a landscaped courtyard with wrought-iron gates and climbing vines sits the estancia's main building or casco, once a post-house on the Camino Real (the "Royal Road" that linked the port of Buenos Aires to the Viceroyalty of Peru in the 19th century). Low-slung and flame-red with neat white trim, it stands out dramatically from surrounding pastures and emerald polo fields.

The estancia's eleven guest rooms, each named for a different celebrity polo pony, were renovated—brilliantly—in 2009. White, wide-windowed interiors and plush bedding appeal to 21st-century tastes, while antique bed-frames, inlaid period dressers and lovely black-and-white-tiled bathroom floors situate them beautifully in context. Instead of TVs and telephones, there are fabulous vintage textiles, art books and soaking tubs.

Time on the Pampas is measured in meals, and La Bamba's guests dine like spoiled estancieros. Breakfast, served in the handsomely restored pulpería, whose 17th-century brick walls display contemporary equestrian photographs, is a lavish spread of warm medialunas, homemade marmalades and dulce de leche. Once a stable and informal gaucho inn, the estancia's oldest structure is also ideal for evening cocktails by the open fire. It's the midday asado, however, that's the culinary main event. Guests convene at long picnic tables in the open-plan summer pavilion for a traditional outdoor feast of rustic, flaky empanadas, steak with chimichurri, oregano-flecked provoleta and plenty of Argentine wine.

Between meals, guests can watch astonishing horse-whispering demonstrations or pick-up polo scrimmages (the estancia is home to a championship team and hosts informal "chukkas" almost everyday between the months of September and April). La Bamba's hardy criollo horses are nearly as pampered as its guests, and there is no better way to experience the estancia than on horseback. From the outdoor picnic tables or the pool deck, one often spies a parade of returning riders silhouetted against the tremendous Pampas sky, led by a poncho-clad gaucho and a troop of merry Labradors.

History buffs can also visit the heritage town of San Antonio de Areco, just thirteen kilometers from the estate. Argentina's unofficial capital of gaucho lore, Areco is home to a permanent population of legacy craftsmen—master leatherworkers and silversmiths whose trades have been handed down for generations—as well as a museum dedicated to the writer Ricardo Güiraldes, whose 1926 Don Segundo Sombra fixed the figure of the gaucho firmly in Argentina's literary imagination (San Antonio de Areco is famously the birthplace of the novel's gaucho-protagonist).

The prevailing mood at La Bamba is peaceful-pastoral; guests who have mastered the art of stylish repose will find themselves in their element. Often the best way to approach an overnight here is to channel the leisure classes of yesteryear—settle into a comfy couch with an invigorating mate and a hand-woven blanket, go for a walk through the parklands in the late afternoon when the plane trees' shadows lash the golden light, take in storybook-striated sunsets from an aptly-positioned Adirondack chair, enjoy a game of bochas (Argentine bocce) or billiards and allow yourself to ease into the seductive rhythm of country house meals.

Bedroom Suite at Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Photo Courtsey : Park Hyatt

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt

Though the palace side of the hotel, which faces Avenida Alvear, is a restored mansion built in 1934, the newly constructed adjoining building (where nearly all of the 165 rooms and suites are located) features a majestic lobby awash in Bordeaux leather and travertine marble and a soaring ceiling. The gentleman’s club–style Oak Bar (a favorite aperitivo and nightcap spot of well-heeled locals), Vinoteca wine bar and cheese room and the expansive gardens have a classical feel, yet Park Hyatt’s cool brand of minimalism kicks in at its impressive underground art gallery and exhibition area, 8,000-square-foot spa and fitness studio (with an eighty-two-foot indoor swimming pool), and within many of the rooms and suites. And while the twenty-three guest rooms of the palace boast Persian carpets, silk curtains and antique crystal chandeliers, those in the modern tower have a minimalist, Asian-inspired ambiance.

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