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By: Maridel Reyes
An hour after I arrived in Buenos Aires, the sky darkened and the clouds unleashed torrential rains. Throughout my trip, the weather would alternate between damp, cloudy and pouring, with hour-long snippets of sunshine.
It matched my mood perfectly.
If Argentina–the land of tango–is for lovers, it can also be a balm for the newly single. I made the journey not only for the city’s mix of art nouveau and Italian Renaissance-style architecture, energetic nightlife and fine wines, but also in the hopes that the distraction of new places would silence the noise in my head.
After an overnight flight, I checked into Algodon Mansion, the all-suite boutique hotel in the swanky Recoleta neighborhood. (And B.A.’s only Relais and Chateux property.) Housed in a landmarked 1912 building, it has been restored to its original French Classical design on the outside, but has playful modern flourishes—the wall behind check-in is made up of vintage luggage trunks—on the inside to delight guests.
Magically, a champagne cocktail appeared in my hand and I was whisked upstairs to my room. (It disappeared just as quickly.) I was just settling into a cheese plate and uncorking a bottle of Malbec when I heard rain crashing against the windows. Afternoon museum plans dashed, I drew a bubble bath and took a nap until dinnertime.
I put on my fanciest shoes and made my way downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant at the decidedly uncool hour of 8pm. My friends and I had the place to ourselves, since Argentines normally have dinner around 10pm or later. Over empanadas and steak, we sampled excellent wine from the hotel’s sister property, Algodon Wine Estates in Mendoza. I ended up bringing home a few bottles of the Malbec Bonarda blend.
The next day, we were caught umbrella-less in a downpour minutes after entering La Recoleta Cemetery, a 10 minute walk from the hotel. We marched towards Eva Peron’s grave anyway, but the rain was so relentless we were forced to turn back. Instead, we had a leisurely lunch at Fervor, filled with locals taking business meetings, and ordered bracingly fresh, simply grilled seafood, more steak, and plenty of wine.
We spent the rest of the drizzly day touring the different neighborhoods in the sprawling city. Boho Palermo had great food; gritty and rising Puerto Madero had cutting-edge art; and we longed for more time wandering the cobblestone streets of San Telmo and vibrant, brightly-painted La Boca.
It was pouring again by the time we ended up at a hilariously lackluster tango show later that night, but we laughed the entire time.
The next day, I had a massage scheduled at the hotel’s spa. Rain pattered pleasantly on the roof. Carlos, the therapist, told me about learning different techniques in Paris, but nothing prepared me for what happened next. I’ve gotten lots of massages all over the world, but I will never forget this particular experience.
It had elements of a Thai massage, but with one big difference. Imagine doing yoga…completely naked. Employing some creative towel maneuvering, Carlos kept my dignity intact the entire time, but I was still embarrassed. At first, I couldn’t relax—am I really in a legs-over-my-head plow pose right now??!—and Carlos sensed my hesitation. But as he talked me through it and kneaded my tense muscles, everything softened and it turned into one of the best treatments I have ever had.
The whole thing left me completely speechless, but smiling again. On the way to the airport, the sun finally came out.
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