The Alvear Palace in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, is truly a palace, and widely considered to be the leading hotel in South America. Nearly 82 years after its polished brass doors first swung open, this 197-room neo-classical palace retains all the glamour and luxury of an older era. It is imposing and established: the foyer ablaze with chandeliers and gleaming marble floors; the elegant rooms filled with opulent Louis XVI furniture and Thirties objets d’art; the bilingual butlers wearing white gloves and tails.
This, the grand dame of Buenos Aires, has already celebrated its 82nd birthday, but beyond the history and tradition is a hi-tech, world-class leisure and business hotel, focus for Argentinians and world travellers alike.
As with Buenos Aires itself, the style of the Alvear Palace recalls Argentina’s Europhile history: Chef Jean Paul Bondoux’s La Bourgogne restaurant serves the finest French cuisine in the country’s only Relais Gourmands establishment. Afternoon tea in L’Orangerie continues that great English tradition with a nod to the Argentine love of sweet cakes. The sumptuous bedrooms and suites are in grand French style—and from the higher floors one can glimpse Uruguay. The marble bathrooms are thronged with custom-made Hermès toiletries—and the latest hi-tech equipment, such as hydro-massage bathtubs and LCD TVs.
The Alvear Palace has the perfect Buenos Aires location: on Avenida Alvear, the city’s smartest residential and shopping corridor, right by the eternal mausoleum of Eva Peron and her ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’ epitaph, and within walking distance of Palermo’s Parque Tres de Febrero.
Buenos Aires is a combination of cosmopolitan metropolis and small, friendly localities—a place where everything is celebrated, including of course, the tango. Part of its appeal and romance is due to its resembling a faded version of Europe’s great cities, with imposing buildings, wide streets, large parks and shaded plazas, and distinct areas which beg to be explored. It is still a good city to walk around, discovering world-class shops and tiny vintage boutiques, jewellery emporia, bookshops and neighbourhood bars and halls where they still dance social tango—speaking of which, Buenos Aires is one fine city for nightlife!
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