Nestled on the chicest street in Recoleta, Buenos Aires’ most affluent neighborhood, Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is a spectacle both on the inside and out. Its column-clad entrance, with a twin marble staircase and gilded doors aglow under warm-hued floodlights, is a literal path to paradise. Not only is the property itself gorgeous, from the jaw-dropping grounds to the graceful interiors, but it is brimming with history, authenticity and charm. And the service – so otherworldly that it belongs in a league of its own.
If you fast-forward to the end of your stay, and take a moment to soak up the experience, you’ll have a slight sense of bewilderment, because, yes, of course in such an establishment you are being pampered and doted upon, but it’s the way that it’s done at Palacio Duhau that is truly remarkable. Never overbearing, always just right. It is quite honestly unadulterated bliss from the moment you walk in.
The building itself dates back to 1932, and it was privately owned until 2002 when developers purchased the property and joined forces with Park Hyatt to create the neoclassic masterpiece as it stands today. The hotel officially opened in 2006, and consists of two parts, the original manor house and the modern Posadas Tower, adjoined by perfectly manicured terraced gardens and an underground walkway turned art gallery.
The Palace has kept most of its original details, as inspired by Le Château des Marais in France when it was built. Every nook and cranny is as ornate as the next, and showcases, to the full extent, Argentina’s economic boom in the early 20th century thanks to its prolific agriculture industry – the Palace was actually the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Duhau’s) abode during this time. As a result, the architecture and interior design is an ode Buenos Aires in all her 1930’s glory, with elegance oozing from every iota.
High ceilings, towering sun-soaked windows, luminous crystal chandeliers, magnificent marble floors and seventeenth-century carved oak-wood panels straight out of a French castle, are thoughtfully interwoven with modern accents to create a timelessly stylish space.
Much like Buenos Aires herself, Palacio Duhau is a gift that keeps giving: an exquisitely wrapped present with a billowing bow, the hotel holds a plethora of surprises encased within. From butler service in all the suites to bespoke wine and cheese tastings and specially curated city tours, Palacio Duhau leaves nothing to yearn for.
There is always a special sense of delight that comes from discovering freshly made macarons and hand-selected flowers in your room from the hotel’s own onsite patisserie and flower boutique, and there is never a shortage of endearing moments like this in the Palacio Duhau. Whether it’s sitting on a plump leather armchair next to a fireplace, sipping on one-of-a-kind Negronis concocted by the barman in the Oak Bar during the hotel’s spontaneous Negroni Week, or being greeted by name at breakfast while perusing the silver platters lined with endless pastries, fruits and charcuterie to the backdrop of the palatial Palacio façade – the hotel fosters an honest joie de vivre sans a speck of stuffiness.
The Gioia Restaurant which serves a bountiful breakfast, buffet or á la carte, also cooks up incredible Italian fare for lunch and dinner. Either order a traditional Italian dish from the menu, or tuck into the array of delectable deli-style Italian plates on display – think melt in your mouth focaccia, fresh salads and succulent salmon in a tangy vinaigrette.
For those seeking haute cuisine, the Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca is a flawless fine-dining affair that serves traditional Argentine cuisine with a twist. The kitchen sources its ingredients sustainably, using organic vegetables and artisanal producers. Even the plates are handmade by local artists. The restaurant specializes in meat and fish, which are showcased in a variety of innovative ways. To name but a few, the Argentinean fish taco with its unbelievably crispy cassava root tortilla is not to be missed, neither is the perfectly balanced, luscious roasted endive with a pomegranate, honey and mustard glaze; the crispy sweetbreads and the exceptionally tender Wagyu steak – all of which are paired perfectly with one of the restaurant’s 7,000 bottles of Argentinian wine by the talented sommeliers. Cheese lovers are also in for a surprise, because the in-house Maître Fromager is one talented man, who loving selects only the finest of Argentinean cheeses for the in-house fromagerie.
After a day filled with eating and exploring, retiring to a spacious suite adorned with neutral tones and dotted with minimalist furniture is a welcome treat. The free-standing bath and walk-in rain shower in the expansive, marble-enveloped bathroom are a perfect addition to the suite, which also boasts a king-size bed, large lounge with a flatscreen tv, in-room sound system, study area and stunning views. To top it off, two types of bathrobes, a fully-stocked minibar, a Nespresso machine laden with pods and a bottle of Malbec lay in wait for you to enjoy. Along with all other notable five-star amenities, a shoe-shining service, in-house tailoring, luggage unpacking, and shirt pressing are all also at your beck and call, and the cherry on top – a hand-written welcome note from your butler.
The labyrinth of luxury continues on at Ahín Wellness and Spa, a glowing cave nestled at the foot of the hotel, this oasis of relaxation offers the most comprehensive list of tailored treatments in the city. Select your own playlist and let the caring hands of the therapists revitalize your mind, body and soul. Complete with a fitness center and lengthy heated pool, radiant under colored lights adjusted to the time of day, the Spa is a utopia in its own right.
One of Palacio Duhau’s most inimitable features, the Paseo de las Artes Duhau, lies adjacent to Ahín. Boasting an impressive collection of artworks from local artists, this gallery has a rotating schedule that invites new regional talent to showcase their works. Flanked by the blossoming flower boutique, which provides all blooms for the rooms and caters for all onsite events, on one end and on the other, the patisserie, which creates not only delicious delicacies, but also curates bespoke daily storefront displays.
The terrace, which sits above the walkway and overlooks the lush green gardens, is the perfect spot to hang out on a balmy summer evening, sipping on a cocktail, enjoying light bites as you soak up the sublime surrounds and watch the sun dip behind the horizon.
With the hotel located in Recoleta’s iconic Avenida Alvear, a stroll around the noble Buenos Aires barrio is a must. Akin to a Parisian romance novel scene, the divine district is doused in Beaux-Arts architecture and bejeweled with cute cafes, swanky boutiques and emerald-green parks. For a more adventurous, yet conscientiously curated and completely personalized tour of the city, Vanessa Bell is your girl. Vanessa knows the ins and outs of the city, and hand-picks your best-suited spots to visit. From beautiful coffee shops to boutique fashion houses, architectural marvels and third-generation cobblers, Bell is, quite literally, the belle of Buenos Aires. With her heartwarming demeanor and in-depth knowledge of what makes the city tick, she will have you enthralled for hours.
The pièce de résistance amongst all this Palacio Duhau-induced indulgence is, without a doubt, the hotel’s knowledgeable, courteous and friendly staff. You would think that service, albeit superlative, may get lost in the sea of splendor that is Palacio Duhau, but their utterly charming team leaves you with a lingering feeling of total adoration. An unforgettable experience that cements the Palacio Duhau as our go-to hotel in Buenos Aires.
Palacio Duhau Contact:
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Images © Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires