Art Crowd Leaves, Buenos Aires Deals Stay: Algodon Mansion
By: Michael Martin
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (TheStreet) -- For tourists looking at Buenos Aires, it's the perfect time to book a hotel: The five-day fall arteBA -- it's fall in Argentina -- has just ended, and with it goes the annual event's nearly 120,000 visitors.
What hasn't disappeared are special fall and winter rates for hotels near Buenos Aires' La Rural, the stunning 30-acre parklike convention center in the city center that holds the event (and offers easy access to such destinations as the city zoo and botanical gardens). It's walking distance to areas such as Palermo and a short taxi ride from the posher Recoleta, and that means there are a number of high-end hotels nearby.
Rooms at the newest hotel in Buenos Aires, Mio Buenos Aires, have integrated step-up bathrooms with sculptural bathtubs that weigh more than a ton -- laboriously carved by artist Mario Dasso.
The newest in Buenos Aires, Mio Buenos Aires is located along Recoleta's grand Quintana Avenue, long the preferred neighborhood for the city's wealthy. Its baronial, nearly 20-foot front door -- made of knotty oak from vintage French wine casks -- leaves a lasting impression, and the French aesthetic continues inside. There are vintage, hand-painted armoires in regal red tones with floral detailing set against walls of metallic-silver plaster and rustic wood beams that offer a refreshing spin on local boutique hotel decor. Next to the main reception is a small library with stark modern stone floors and walls of glass facing a landscaped cityscape.
Throughout the hotel, walls are used year-round to profile up-and-coming local artists. Rooms, accessed through rustic wood doors, have fashionable living spaces and integrated step-up bathrooms with sculptural bathtubs that weigh more than a ton -- laboriously carved by artist Mario Dasso.
At the center of Mio is one of the city's top new eateries, by the owner of TO Restaurant, which took the city by storm in 2009. The glossy locale offers a light-filled dining room with creamy leather booths and views of outdoor sculpture and a neighboring cocktail lounge.
Closer to La Rural, Fierro Hotel is a less-glossy 27-room hotel in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood, which is known for its thriving artist scene. The Fierro has a more traditional design, including a lobby ablaze in fiery red walls and black leather sofas popular with Americans and Brit visitors. Its Hernan Gipponi Restaurant, by the standout chef of the same name, brings a unique gastronomic pedigree honed at Guggenheim Bilboa and Valencia's El Poblet. His a la carte and nightly tasting menu use produce grown in the hotel's garden for locally sourced dining -- a trend that's just getting its footing in Buenos Aires. Those staying the night find a series of predictable entry-level rooms that mix glossy hardwood floors and small seating area. Those willing to pay extra get terrace suites with massive outdoor balconies, complete with private jacuzzis and a parilla for your own personal weekend barbecues.
Back in the Recoleta, the luxury boutique Algodon Mansion has become a favored overnight outpost. This French neoclassical 1912 mansion looks as aristocratic as ever and maintains all-suite accommodations that size in at around 1,300 square feet with details such as wine-themed wet bars with homemade gourmet goodies and fireplaces perfect for the city's chilly late-fall nights. The hotel's eatery, Chez Nous, features works by artists Eduardo Hoffmann, Eugenio Cuttica and Maria Noel, and the hotel itself employs a full-time art consultant that curates the in-house art collection and can facilitate private visits to artists' personal ateliers.
You get arteBA art without the arteBA art crowd.