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Argentina: Town and Country

May 7, 2007 By: Judy Bernhardt Travel Agent

Travelers revel in this South American country's combination of urban sophistication and stunning natural beauty

To experience the essence of Argentina, travelers need only
to combine the sights and sounds of Buenos Aires—known as "the Paris of
South America"—with a trip to Patagonia, the southern region of the
country thats scenery runs the gamut from steppe-like plains to glaciers and
the beech- and conifer-blanketed Andes Mountains.

 Llao Llao Resort & Spa in Patagonia is set at the foot of the Andes

The town of Bariloche
is home to Llao Llao Resort &
, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel is an ideal
reprieve for nature lovers. Set at the foot of the Andes Mountains overlooking lakes Moreno and Nahuel Huapi, the resort offers expansive views
of snow-capped peaks and miles of Cyprus trees.

Guests will have no shortage of activities to keep them
busy. Whether it's playing golf on the property's 18-hole course, hiking among
the dozens of trails, hitting the nearby slopes for skiing or relaxing in the
indoor and outdoor pools, the resort prides itself on its adventure components.
Activity sheets listing hikes, yoga classes and other activities are
distributed to guests daily.

There are eight different categories of rooms, each with its
own character and style. Request the Superior Lake suites; they have
the best mountain and lake views, because they are located in the corners of
the buildings. Request a room with a balcony. The rooms on the fourth and fifth
floors offer expansive views of the surrounding countryside.

Agents can contact Gilda Fuentes ([email protected])
or Veronica Peralta ([email protected]);
both work hard to meet all requests they receive. Fuentes can set up activities
such as a private horseback riding trip. Also, Head Concierge Daniel Cosavella
([email protected])
can arrange for a number of customized services, including private hiking
tours, heli-skiing in the El Boson area, private boat tours and romantic
dinners at the lake. General Manager Carlos Burgoo has hosted guests such as
Robert Duvall and the Clintons.

Alvear Palace Hotel (Junior Suite shown) offers butler service and enjoys a central location

A highlight during our trip to Bariloche was the half-day
excursion to Roca Negra. Driving up the mountain in four-wheel-drive jeeps is
quite an experience. The road is very bumpy, so travelers will feel a bit
jostled, but the ride is worth it for the views from the top. The little café
perched on top of the mountain offers stunning views of Bariloche, the
surrounding lakes and miles upon miles of the Andes.
After an amazing lunch of cheese fondue and an impressive spread of local
meats, guests don snowshoes for a walk in the wilderness. This excursion can be
arranged by guest services at Llao Llao.

For a true taste of local Patagonian fare, have travelers go
to Parrilla de Julian (590
San Martín Avenue
; 54-2944-433-252) in Bariloche.
The array of fresh fish—trout is the restaurant's specialty—and beef served
with local spices will prove that one doesn't need to be in a big city to enjoy
world-class cuisine.

For a more elegant experience, visit Llao Llao's signature
restaurant, Los Cesares. Fare ranges from freshly caught salmon and
succulent duck to a variety of savory beef filets. Special wine and food
tastings can also be arranged. The more casual Asador Criollo
restaurant, also on property, features typical Argentine asado
(barbecued meat).

In Buenos Aires,
the feel is cosmopolitan: The streets are alive with tango, the country's
fast-paced signature dance. High-fashion stores, such as Louis Vuitton, dot the
main boulevards, and restaurants serving world-famous Argentinean beef abound.

Buenos Aires
is home to the Alvear Palace
, one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and also a member
of The Leading Hotels of the World. It is in the Recoleta area, the most
exclusive neighborhood in Buenos Aires,
where wide avenues, beautiful parks, traditional cafés and commodious mansions

All rooms have private butler service, and the two-to-one,
staff-to-room ratio exemplifies the premium placed on service. Opt for one of
the Presidential suites, which offer a separate sitting room, dining room and
Jacuzzi bath. The premier deluxe suites are also an excellent option—they have
flat-screen TVs above the Jacuzzi bathtubs. The best rooms are those on the
eighth and ninth floors, which boast vistas of the River Plate, Recoleta parks
and Alvear Avenue
(request rooms 904-924).

Head Concierge Alejandro Noya ([email protected]) can arrange
for private Mercedes-Benz transfers, give shopping recommendations in the areas
of arts, antiques and haute couture and arrange private tango lessons with some
of the city's top dancers.

The hotel is also a popular site for weddings, which are
hosted in any of its 12 ballrooms. Agents may contact Wedding Coordinator
Sandra Ofner ([email protected]).
General Manager Olga Petroni plans to launch a spa in the first half of 2007.
Rooms are bookable over the GDS and via The
Leading Hotels of the World's
web site.

One of the highlights of Alvear is the food. L'Orangerie
is consistently voted one of the best breakfast buffets in Buenos Aires—the selection of fresh fruits,
meats, cheeses, pastries and local dishes is unsurpassed.

La Bourgogne, also
in the hotel, is the only Relais Gourmand in Latin America.
The legendary wine cellar is perfect for wine tastings, live dinner shows and
private functions.

After spending a few days in Buenos
, travelers should head south to Patagonia,
the vast wilderness, which is primarily national-park land.

Getting There, Getting Around

Book your clients in business class on LAN; the seats are spacious and the
service is exceptional. LAN flies into both Buenos Aires and Bariloche. In Buenos Aires, contact Barcelo Company to
arrange private tours around the city. Request guide Yanina Barri; her English
is excellent and she has an in-depth knowledge of Argentinean history. Suggest
the Recoleta Cemetery walking tour. Known throughout
the world for its rich architecture and the famous personalities buried here,
it is an absolutely stunning site and a great way to get an understanding of Buenos Aires' culture and
history. Also, be sure to stop at Café Tortoni, one of the most famous cafés in Buenos Aires for its beautiful architecture
and paintings.

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