Classic eucalyptus-lined avenues lead the way to the exquisite Estancia Villa Maria in the town of Marcos Paz, 45 minutes from the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. Its unique Tudor style is a rarity in Latin America. The building, built in 1919 by the famous architect Alejandro Bustillo, is today a luxury boutique hotel.
Carefully designed flower gardens extent through the 183 acres of parkland that make up the property. Next to them, a colorful forest of more than 300 species of ancient trees completes the landscape of this exceptional historic estate. Like a play of mirrors, an artificial lake, populated by countless goldfish reflects this iconic chateau in the Pampas. Elegant lines and period furniture decorate the rooms, the pool and cigar room; fireplaces with burning logs and a gallery that blends into the landscape in a perfect balance of architecture and nature define the bucolic feel of the palace.
The appreciation of unique features is also reflected in the cuisine. The restaurant, Celedonio, is the creative space of chef Gustavo Cusi. His signature dishes combine Mediterranean fare with strong local accents. The spirit of his food reveals the pleasures of country life and customs. It is the ideal place to enjoy a romantic moonlight dinner under a starlit sky.
The estate boasts four professional polo fields, stables, and a Polo school open for practice all year. Its high performance center, the Polo Club, covers training for high competition and seeks to improve the game of those with a low handicap. During the month of October, Estancia Villa Maria hosts the exhibition match of the Villa Maria Open.
Estancia La Figura
White swans glide on the lake that stretches towards Estancia La Figura in the town of Cañuelas, about 50 miles from Downtown Buenos Aires. Founded in the early 19th century by engineer and artist Carlos Pellegrini, the estate was later home to his son Carlos, a former President of Argentina.
In a neoclassical style that escapes the conventions of its time, an imposing main entrance welcomes guests into a grand reception hall. The use of tiles from Seville is present in the three floors that make up the palatial house. Ceramic tiles from Talavera de la Reina, Spain can also be found along the majestic staircase that leads to the upper floors.
Various species of plants, colorful flowers and artificial lakes surround the 123-acre estate, designed by the prestigious French urban planner, Charles Thays. Monsieur Thays is also responsible for the design of 64 squares and public parks in Buenos Aires, including the emblematic Palermo and the Botanical Garden.
The aristocratic beauty of the building retains its mystery through mezzanines and almost secret passages, revealed only to those who know where to look. The landscape invades the charming winter garden through large windows and paints the room with shades of blue and ocher. Water from the estate’s fountains runs through the Andalusian patio, bringing a soothing sound that reminds us of the relaxing nature of country living. A checkerboard floor adorns the dining room where crystal chandelier light up gourmet feasts prepared by the hotel’s accomplished chefs.
Estancia La Candelaria de Lobos
The vast prairie recalls the golden era of the province of Buenos Aires. By the late 19th century, a great love story became a castle, which is named after the woman who inspired it: La Candelaria de Lobos.
Similar to the castles found in the Loire Valley, La Candelaria captures the courtly life of the late 1800s. Pointed domes, stately archways and a strong late Gothic style envelop the castle with a fairytale halo.
Statues, fountains and gazebos dot the Thays-designed grounds. A thousand shades of green unfold through 247 acres as the manor stands in harmony with the surrounding environment. Hares, foxes and ferrets hide in the woods and only reveal themselves when there is absolute silence.
The dishes prepared by chef Patrick Mac bring our palates to the heart of country cuisine: native snacks, pumpkin soup, braised pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes or ham and cheese sorrentinos.
This stunning setting is home to an intensive Polo clinic run by players from the Argentinian Polo Association. The program includes theory and practical horse management, training and swing techniques, game strategy and a taqueo instructor.
While our eyes get lost in a perfect balance of fresh air and distinction, this select group of luxury estates rescues the nobility of the Argentine countryside it in an environment where the pleasure of exclusivity is just the beginning. ■