Eight Days, Four Hotels | Recoleta, Buenos Aires | 16 October 2012
I love staying in hotels, but even I will admit that four in eight days, in one location, is a bit excessive. . . but what a way to get to know the diverse and fabulous Buenos Aires and its surroundings.
My first stop was Hotel Mio Buenos Aires, in the chic neighborhood of Recoleta. When you hear people call Buenos Aires “the Paris of South America”, they’re referring to Recoleta. It really does look, and feel, like Paris.
The Mio is a new hotel on the fashionable Avenida Quintana. The door into the hotel is so large, they have a guy standing there to open it. (Seriously I could not open that door.) It’s made of French oak from wine barrels, a nod to the wine-producing owners, the Catenas.
The lobby is a stark contrast to the old world architecture of the neighborhood. The vast open space, gleaming surfaces, and contemporary furnishings are sleek and sophisticated.
Who doesn’t love a great hotel breakfast (especially when it’s included in the price) and the Mio breakfast was not only delicious, the presentation was a series of style moments.
The doors into the guest rooms are made of the same wine barrel oak as the main door into the hotel. (On a much smaller scale.) The walls are polished concrete that looks, and feels, like Venetian plaster, and the floors and cabinetry are a rich, dark wood.
The “open plan” bathroom is a step up, on a platform of glossy marble, and, in the center, in front of a floor to ceiling window, is the pièce de résistance . . . a bathtub carved by hand out of a tree.
Mario Dasso, an Argentinian artist, searches out and carves fallen caldén trees in the mountains of Argentina, creating these incredible, one-of-a-kind bathtubs. Here’s a link to a video showing how he does it. I found it mesmerizing.
The room was also equipped with . . . wait for it . . . a champagne dispenser. Yes, you heard me, there’s a champagne dispenser, ready to fill a glass with bubbly whenever you please.
I’ll drink to that.
Before leaving Recoleta for a new neighborhood, I checked out another hotel that I’d been curious about. The building in which the Meliã Recoleta Plaza Boutique hotel now resides is rich with history.
Built in 1930, the building was home to the bohemians and underworld of Buenos Aires . . . until Eva Duarte came to town. Before she became the most famous woman in Argentinian history, Evita was a radio actress, and lived in an apartment in this building. Her presence is still both seen and felt in the building’s current incarnation as a boutique hotel.
At the entrance to the hotel, the foot from Evita’s bedframe is displayed. It was being reverently polished while I was there.
This carved relief in the elegant central hall was commissioned by the Peróns and imported from Italy.
The hotel’s bistro was once the location for a workshop where Evita’s exquisite dresses were made.
Unexpectedly in this metropolitan neighborhood, the hotel has an roof terrace refuge, complete with lounge chairs and jacuzzi.
The Meliã Recoleta Plaza is a luxury boutique hotel, with all the amenities that the title implies . . . but, for me, this quote in the brochure puts into words the allure of staying in this historical building:
“Right here, where you are, Evita played the piano, and loved her husband and her people hopelessly.”
They had me at “Evita.”
Mio Buenos Aires
Avenida Pres. Manuel Quintana 465
1129 Buenos Aires
Tel (0) 11 5295 8500
Meliã Recoleta Plaza
Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
Tel (54) 11 5353 4000
Next, a hotel in the hip neighborhood of Palermo Soho . . .