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By: JS Fletcher

Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been called the "Paris of Latin America," and nowhere is the resemblance more evident than in the Recoleta neighborhood. This affluent, elite if you will, district was founded at the beginning of the 18th century as a place for retreat and play for the Franciscan monks. Today the jet set retreat and play here, drawn to chic architectural styles, tantalizing restaurants, museums and night life.

Algodon Mansion, is about to add to the ambiance. Set to open November 14, 2009, this luxury boutique hotel is a six-story, remodeled mansion originally built in 1912, and is located in the heart of Recoleta.

Algodon Mansion will have 10 spacious luxury suites - some exceeding 1,200 square feet and all in keeping with the house's Belle Epoque architecture.  It will exude old-world Argentinean charm but provide state-of-the-art luxuries, including 24-hour butler and concierge service, a fine-dining restaurant serving Argentine and French-fusion cuisines, a wine cellar, library bar, a covered outside patio and fireplace, and a luxurious rooftop pool, sauna, spa and bar.  Additionally, a four-story waterfall will stretch from the roof to the ground floor lobby and may be viewed by virtually every suite.

If you've ever imagined owning a home overlooking a vineyard, here's your chance. The Algodon Mansion has a sister property, the Algodon Wine Estates, located in Mendoza, Argentina, which has been dubbed South America's Napa Valley. It is located in the foothills of the Sierra Pintadas at the base of the Andes Mountains. It receives over 300 days of sunshine annually, and is known for great wine.

Along with the vineyard, there's a championship 18-hole golf course, two rustically chic lodges, an award-winning restaurant, fruit and olive orchards, tree-lined streets and a vast green landscape, with the Andes towering in the background. And if that were not enough, there are plans for a polo field and equestrian center, a luxury hotel, 10 tennis courts and one grand tennis stadium.

A real estate venture with a unique winemaking angle, 300 home sites are currently being developed throughout the estates and are available for private sale. Buyers will not only own the house and have access to all of the estate's amenities, but will own the wine that their land produces as well.

Once produced and bottled, the wine can be personally labeled - perhaps one's last name - Fletcher's Finest?  Or one's company name - Reserve? And it can be shipped to anywhere to impress friends and family. Prices for the home sites are projected to start at around $50,000, and the average size is 2.5 acres. In addition, 50 casitas and 12 tennis villas (approximately 2,000 square feet each) are being developed which will overlook the tennis complex.

And here's another twist that might be right for you: the Algodon Wine Estate's Barrel Program: for a mere $4,000, you can purchase your own barrel of wine, which will yield 290 bottles. The barrel owner is entitled to two complimentary nights at the estates in order to taste the wine at the end of the first aging period.

An added highlight is owning one's own wine label without purchasing property, by buying a barrel of wine (with a simple click of the mouse on Algodon Wine Estate's website:  Prices start at $4,000 and each barrel yields 290 bottles and may be used up to three times.

Do not take this as a point of fact and certainly not as a sales pitch, but some believe Argentina to be the next hotspot for foreign property investment. Argentina's economy has grown in the past few years - 8% so far this year - and new real estate and commercial ventures are emerging all over the country. With the US dollar/Argentine peso exchange rate remarkably in favor of the US, the number of American tourists visiting Argentina has grown by 35% from 2005 to 2007 and is expected to increase.

And why else would anyone want to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina? Ah, the tango.

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