Buenos Aires is internationally recognized as the most European capital in Latin America. The magnificence of its architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries shows a dramatic European influence as the locals wanted to imbue their beautiful city with buildings that recalled other world capitals like Paris, Rome or Madrid.
Millions of tourists visit each year to enjoy the city’s rich cultural life, vibrant music scene, art festivals, book fairs, sport events and ecotourism. Buenos Aires is also an international hub for those who want to discover the beauty of South America. For that reason, there are plenty of hotel options, but if you appreciate classic luxury, the perfect stay is at the Alvear Palace Hotel.
This 1930s architectural gem boasts sumptuous lounges decorated in Louis XIV and Louis XVI styles, which evoke an atmosphere of luxury and opulence similar to what you would find in iconic hotels like the Ritz in Paris, the Waldorf Astoria in New York or Moscow’s Baltschug Kempinski.
Alvear Palace is located in the tony neighborhood of Recoleta. One of the most exclusive areas of the Argentinian capital, La Recoleta can be considered the heart of the city. This privileged location facilitates easy access to the main metropolitan attractions. The hotel offers a wide variety of rooms and luxury suites to satisfy the most discerning guests, each decorated with exquisite taste and meticulous care to the finest detail.
The junior suites, for example, have almost 500 square feet of living room, dormitory and lavish bathrooms. Meanwhile, the executive suites, with an area of more than 750 square feet, include butler service and feature a reception area, an oval living room and one or two comfortable bedrooms with connections to other adjoining suites. The exclusively designed carpets and bronze and crystal light fixtures complement the refined ambiance.
But undoubtedly the most majestic accommodation is the Royal suite. Decorated like a luxurious Parisian apartment, it has an area of 1,900 square feet, featuring a reception hall, large living room, a dining room for 8 guests, private study, large bedroom and two baths clad in fine Italian Botticino marble, with hydro-massage shower and sauna.
The lovely rooms and beautiful suites of the Alvear Palace have hosted more than one illustrious visitor in its 80-year history, and although the hotel’s tradition is to keep all information about its guests under strict secrecy, some stories have leaked.
A few years after the hotel’s inauguration in 1941, Walt Disney made it his home away from home during the 10 weeks of an official mission to Latin America to promote films made in Hollywood. His long stay was paid by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.
More recently, in 2009, the Japanese designer, Kenzo, raised a few curious eyebrows by walking through the lobby wearing a different skirt every day. It is also known that a few years ago, HRH Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the, then, heirs to the Dutch throne, TRH William and Maxima, could not stay at the Royal suite because it was occupied by a very important Arab sheik.
Perhaps to redress the situation, but certainly taking advantage of the royal visit, the hotel quickly organized an exhibition of Dutch painting, in situ, a gesture that was well received by the monarchs.
The proud manager of the hotel says the list of international personalities who have stayed at the Alvear Palace is endless, but he fondly remembers two particular guests: Sir Thomas Sean Connery, who so enjoyed the croissants served at breakfast that before he left, he asked them to send a special request to Marbella, Spain, where the actor had his residence; and President Nelson Mandela, who impressed everyone with his characteristic humility and enormous humanity, despite being one of the main political actors of the 20th century and a man who changed the course of history.
Buenos Aires is also a food lover’s paradise. An interesting mixture of cultures has turned this cosmopolitan metropolis into a delightful gastronomic destination. The Alvear Palace boasts two magnificent restaurants: La Bourgogne, serving French cuisine, and L’orangery, which stands out for its refined international fare, spectacular brunch and afternoon tea. But if you are just out for a good time, try the charming Lobby Bar, or indulge in the pleasure of the best cigars and chocolates at the exclusive Cigar Bar. To complete your stay at this Argentinian landmark, the Alvear Palace boasts a soothing, state-of-the-arts spa featuring Japanese and Thai therapies as well as a long menu of special treatments. ■