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Source: Sotheby's Artful Living
By: Rudy Maxa


Rudy Maxa’s Buenos Aires

Our travel expert returns to one of his favorite cities and discovers a mansion turned into a hotel. Buenos Aires isn’t a city for the faint hearted. It’s an up-all-night, food- and fashion-obsessed place with extraordinary architecture that reflects strong European influences. Traffic rules seem optional, restaurants consider 10 o’clock the start of dinner and the best tango parlors don’t crank up until after midnight. I often recommend Buenos Aires to friends who’ve “done” Europe and want to visit somewhere closer than Asia. And while the city isn’t the bargain it was a couple years ago, it’s still one of the most vibrant capital cities in the world.

Recently I flew south to check into a new hotel that’s the talk of the town. It’s the Algodon Mansion, a boutique hotel created from the bones of a belle époque mansion in Recoleta, the city’s most elegant neighborhood. A member of the Relais & Châteaux association of luxury hotels, it features 10 suites with high, high ceilings, huge marble and limestone bathrooms, fireplaces, and the kind of lavish appointments you’d expect in a hotel where rates start at $600 a night. (An iPod-synchronized hydrotherapy massage tub? Yeah, they’ve got that.) There’s a small rooftop pool with a teak sun deck, and a nearby health club is available for use by hotel guests. On the ground floor of the hotel, a cozy and sophisticated bar is off to the left, and the menu in the polished, small dining room to the right features organic vegetables, fruit and olive oil from the hotel’s sister estate in wine country. An outdoor terrace opens for dining when the weather is comfortable.

The Algodon Mansion is within easy walking or cab distance of many of the city’s premier attractions. The magnificent Teatro Colón is open  after massive reservations. A 10-minute cab ride puts you in Buenos Aires’ newest neighborhood, Puerto Madero, home of the stunning Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, a modern glass and steel museum built by Argentine’s wealthiest woman before her recent death. Works by the likes of Dali, Turner and Bruegel are displayed, along with paintings by Antonio Berni and other contemporary Argentine artists. And it’s an easy walk from the hotel to Recoleta’s famous cemetery with its elaborate crypts, including one in memory of Evita Peron.

But wait, there’s more: The Algodon Mansion is just around the corner from one of the best ice cream shops in Buenos Aires: Arkadaó. Don’t  miss it.


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