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Buenos AiresNovember 7, 2008 By: Nick Gosling Travel Agent
Argentina's cosmopolitan "city that never sleeps"
Fashionable, vibrant and modern, Buenos Aires, Argentina, is renowned for its European flavor, great nightlife and beautiful architecture. In the city’s downtown sections, the locals are known for dancing and clubbing until the early morning, making Buenos Aires truly a “City That Never Sleeps.”
The Faena Hotel + Universe in Buenos Aires in the city’s
Buenos Aires is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, and its inhabitants are called porteños (people of the port), but certain influences, particularly Spanish, French and Italian, can be seen around the city.
On a walk through Buenos Aires, visitors will encounter unique European-style architecture complemented by modern high-rises and skyscrapers, as well as many monuments, historical sights and government buildings. Eva Perón, wife of Argentinean President Juan Perón and one of the country’s most influential spiritual and political leaders, is buried in the La Recoleta Cemetery. Her tomb, and the statue dedicated to her, both attest to the importance that “Evita,” a women’s suffrage and labor rights champion, had in Argentinean history, and should be included in any tour of the city. Visitors should also see the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s government house, and the balcony from which Juan Perón addressed a crowd of more than 300,000 people upon his release from prison after his arrest by political opponents.
The colorful and touristy La Boca district, an abandoned port populated by brightly painted metal houses, is a good place to catch a tango show, especially on the main pedestrian street, the Caminito. La Boca was once the first landing spot for many immigrants, particularly Italians, but today visitors can find tango mementos, leather goods and handicrafts there, as well as locals working the tourist scene. Colonial buildings still stand in San Telmo, the oldest barrio, or district, in the city. Visitors to San Telmo can find tango parlors, cafés, museums, plenty of antique stores and the Feria de San Telmo, an outdoor antique fair that runs every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here you’ll also see the beautiful architecture of the San Pedro Gonzalez Telmo Church and other impressive churches.
Clients should include a visit to pedestrian-friendly Florida Street and Avenue Santa Fe, where shopping is plentiful, as well as Buenos Aires’ Palermo and Palermo Hollywood areas, both known for their history and nightclubs. The Recoleta district is popular for its squares, parks, outdoor market and galleries, while other important sights include the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Obelisk and the Cabildo.
Summer (December-February) is the most popular time to visit Buenos Aires, while winter months (June-August) average 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Borello Travel and Tours offers several travel packages to Buenos Aires, including the Tango Experience and the Buenos Aires Cultural Encounter. Each of these packages gives travelers a unique perspective of the city and surrounding countryside as they experience the museums, historic sights and exciting neighborhoods that make up Buenos Aires. Borello Travel and Tours will also customize a client’s tour, and offers tour packages to other sections of Argentina, as well as Brazil, Peru, Greenland, Chile, Uruguay and Panama. You can view the packages at www.borellotravel.com/tours.argentina.html.
Luxurious red velvet is a recurring design theme in the Faena Hotel's suites and guest rooms
Where to Stay
Elegant style with European flair greets visitors at the five-star Faena Hotel + Universe, in the city’s redeveloped Puerto Madero district. Situated in a historic brick, seven-story grain building, the hotel—opened in 2004—was designed by Philippe Starck and is owned by Alan Faena. The Faena’s 108 rooms—which include 16 suites available for rent, with many amenities—as well as its restaurants El Bistro and El Mercado make up the “Universe.” Done up in red-and-white decor, the guest rooms are modern with automatic velvet curtains and blinds that roll back to reveal views of the city and the Rio de la Plata. A marble-floored bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub, Egyptian cotton linens, a safety box, an entertainment system and fresh-cut roses every day are also standard in the rooms. Room categories range from Premium, with a queen-size bed and flat-screen TV, to the top of the line. The latter is the Faena Suite, a 1,300-square-foot residence with views of Puerto Madero, a dining room, kitchen and library, all decorated with a cherry-wood interior. Prices start at $400 per night, depending on the season. We recommend Room #414, with beautiful views of the Buenos Aires skyline. Keep the automatic blinds open to watch the city light up with glowing orange as the sun sets. The bathroom is uniquely separated from the rest of the room by a glass wall with a brilliant red curtain; inside are a claw-foot bathtub, separate shower and separate toilet/bidet. Cordless phones let you walk and talk up to a block away from the hotel. Be sure to indulge in the chocolates waiting for you when you arrive.
The hotel’s spa includes a gym, sauna and a marbled hammam, which is the only one in Argentina. The Faena’s cave-like Cellar can hold wine tastings from more than 400 labels of different vintages, surrounded by roughened cement pillars and a chandelier overhead. The Faena’s unique “Experience Managers” are personal guides who assist guests with everything from organizing activities to acting as their receptionists and concierges. They are easily reachable via phone and can assist clients with most any problem or question. During the summer, guests can enjoy the pool bar or soak up the sun in a lounge chair, or catch a tango show in El Cabaret as they drink champagne and settle into plush lounge chairs.
Travel agents should contact Tania Popovic, sales manager tour and travel, at [email protected] or 011-54-11-4010-9153.
A room at the Estancia Bella Vista de Guerrero, a hotel and working ranch
A trip outside of the city is a good opportunity to explore the local countryside, see a working ranch and rough it for a little while with a gaucho—an Argentinean cowboy. The historical Estancia Bella Vista de Guerrero is a hotel and working ranch located on the banks of the Salado River, two hours from Buenos Aires. Guests have access to a library, business center, interpretation center/museum, spa and swimming pool, as well as a wide range of outdoor activities to participate in, including fishing, tennis, volleyball, horseback riding and cycling. Dine in one of five eateries at the Estancia, including De Las Flores, a gourmet restaurant, and La Matera, where country cuisine straight off the grill is served, such as matambre, a flank steak topped with vegetables and cheese. Your clients can choose from 17 rooms, all with country furnishings and soft hues. Rooms include private restrooms, Wi-Fi Internet and digital safes and range in price from $185 to $280 per night for suites. Guests can have their activities customized by staff as well to include participating in farm activities, touring the ranch and visiting local wineries. Travel agents can contact Cecilia Killion at [email protected], or +54 11 4778-9599/4773-9646.
American Airlines offers daily nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare, Dallas, Miami and New York’s JFK to Buenos Aires. Starting December 18, the airline will be offering a second daily nonstop flight from JFK Airport, five days a week.