It is impossible to write about a hotel like Algodon Mansion without gushing. This 10-room luxurious boutique hotel is pretty much perfect (especially if you’re wanting your luxury accompanied by the privacy and discretion that can be hard to come by for celebrities in Buenos Aires).
Located in the affluent residential neighbourhood of Recoleta, it is difficult to believe that the immaculate building was once almost in ruins. It began life as a family mansion in 1912, and eventually became the residence of the ambassador to the Netherlands. It sat empty and abandoned for almost 40 years following Argentina’s dictatorship. But the chairman and founder of Algodon saw its potential and revitalized it with the best of everything.
You’re welcomed to Algodon, a Relais & Châteaux property, on the sidewalk and then ushered into the cool wine bar to check-in while sipping on something refreshing. Staff manage to find the perfect balance of friendliness and formality in their impeccable service.
Algodon’s decor is lavishly understated. We stayed in the Ambassadeur Suite, and it was difficult to leave it, even for a walk in the beautiful neighbourhood. The large room has doors opening onto Juliet-balconies that look out over Recoleta’s beautiful architecture and let in beautiful natural light. The television in the centre of the room is on a swivel, so we could watch the Boca Junior match from the couch and from bed, while sipping from the private collection bottle from Algodon’s Mendoza vineyard. Rooms are high tech, but designed for people — far from the norm, even in luxury hotels. There are several lighting palettes and, thankfully, a one-button off switch. Temperature controls allow you to heat and cool various parts of the room differently, so whomever is working at the desk won’t get chilled while the other wants to cuddle under a blanket.
Bathrooms are especially stunning, though I found it difficult to choose between the Aquamass Senseaurielle bathtub and the Hansgrohe true rain shower in the big marble steam shower. Each was well stocked with L’Occitane amenities, and yes, I tried both.
I do recommend leaving your room for dinner, but you only need to go downstairs. Dining at Algodon is exceptional. Menus feature farm-fresh products from the mansion’s sister property in Mendoza, well informed service, the perfect music playlist, and, of course, Algodon Estate wines adeptly matched with each dish. This was the finest dinner we ate in our month in South America.
Get to Algodon now before everyone else learns of its exquisiteness and its ten rooms are fully booked.
In the Buenos Aires suburb of San Isidro, Hotel del Casco sits majestically on a tree-lined street. Built in 1892 as a private home, this neoclassical mansion makes for beautiful photographs.
Maids bustle back and forth in formal black and white uniforms, ensuring this boutique hotel’s 20 rooms are ready for guests. Some rooms are in the hotel’s main building, off a wide central hallway with a glass roof supported by big arches.
Our room, in the newer building near the pool, had double-height ceilings and was decorated with antique furnishings to look like the original rooms. It was equipped with a king bed with great sheets, a mini fridge, TV-topped dresser, leather couch and two chairs. Fresh flowers greeted us on arrival and again at turndown on our second night. In the large bathroom there was a big claw-footed bathtub, with a separate small shower with wooden floor, conveniently fitted with a mirror for shaving.
Hotel del Casco’s pool is small, but cools you off well in the sunny garden. Breakfast is served in the garden or in a glassed-in breakfast room. Service was a little bit confusing, but eventually we received our order. Offerings varied each day, and the fresh orange juice was fabulous.
In the basement underneath the main house, there’s a library, beautiful chess set, a small gym, sauna and a massage room. Some equipment can be moved out into the garden if you’re wanting sun and fresher air for your workout.
If you’d like to be near Buenos Aires’ famous Tigre suburb, but stay in a nicer neighbourhood and in a gorgeous building, Hotel del Casco in next-door San Isidro is a good choice.
Staff at Mine Hotel, in Buenos Aires’ Palermo Soho neighbourhood, are fantastic. They make you feel extremely welcome, and go out of their way to make sure you’re enjoying your stay. Two examples: We mentioned interest in a nearby restaurant for dinner. When we returned from our incredible lunch at UCO, staff had the address of the dinner recommendation all ready for us. At breakfast the next day, we were thrilled to discover they had soy milk. We’d just stayed at two other hotels within the family — Casa Calma and Ilum — and staff there passed on Paul’s allergy info and they made sure to have some on hand for his morning coffee. Isn’t that great service?!
Mine Hotel is designed to maximize your comfort too. Our room had a lovely sitting area — with a welcoming bottle of Argentine wine and some delicious nibblies — and a big bed with purple accents. Floors were cool concrete. I loved the red bathroom furniture against the natural rock wall, as well as the super cute soap dish and toothbrush glass which were embedded with buttons. The huge jetted tub for two, complete with bath salts and bubbles, was very tempting too.
While there’s lots of great restaurants nearby, if you feel like watching a movie in your PJs, the concierge will arrange dinner delivery from a vast selection of menus for you.
A big and delicious breakfast is included in rates. It’s served in a lovely room right next to a heated pool in a pretty garden. You can have breakfast served in your room too for an additional $10 charge. Hang out in the breakfast room in the afternoon and evening too, for snacks, wine and cocktails.
Walking into this hotel is like a step into the cool past. As we entered through an arched hallway, the heat of Buenos Aires dissipates. We took an old fashioned elevator to the first floor and stepped into the dark lobby. Greeted by a friendly receptionist, we received several recommendations for where we could have a coffee or lunch nearby while we waited for our room to be ready.
Moreno Hotel’s San Telmo location can’t be beat, especially if you want to go to the Sunday San Telmo market which begins just around the corner. Staying here, you’re close to the Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo and all of San Telmo’s shops and restaurants. The hotel is in a gorgeous Art Deco building, which was distinguished by the city government, the minister of culture and the general board of museums as a “living testimony of the citizenship memory” and “historical patrimony of the city”. The views from the rooftop terrace, especially of the San Francisco church one block away, are great.
The cage elevator zoomed surprisingly quickly past gorgeous stained glass windows, but the interiors of Moreno Hotel can sometimes show their age. Our room had a pretty balcony and lovely high ceilings, but the dark blue wall needed repainting and the bathroom tile work needed repair. A cool patchwork cowhide throw rug decorated the floor next to the king bed, and we loved the lights that dimmed and the big windows from which we could watch a big Buenos Aires rainstorm.
Service at Moreno was a bit uneven and some hot foods at the breakfast buffet were cold, though the views would be lovely if you ate outside on the terrace. The hotel was going through a refurbishment during our visit, and challenges should be ironed out when it is completed.
If your priority in Buenos Aires is to experience the sites and you want to stay in a gorgeous heritage building, Moreno Hotel is beautiful and perfectly situated.