Since when did the midday meal consume the day? It’s impossibly hot so why not. A long languid lazy lunch lounging in the garden of one of South America’s leading restaurants. UCO is named after Uco Valley, Argentina’s answer to Loire Valley. The garden is tucked behind the restaurant is tucked below the hotel is tucked away in super trendy Palermo Soho. Graffitied garage doors along Soler would deter less determined gourmands but this is serious posh nosh. It’s upper case, it’s upper class, it’s shouting, it’s got plenty to shout about.
The American writer Waldo Frank evoked the spirit of the city in 1931, “Houses are a chaos and a confusion; Spanish, Creole, Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque, Moorish, Neoclassical, Georgian, Victorian, French of all epochs…” An architectural montage. A thousand stars.
Over 40 years later, local writer Eduardo Crawley would record, “Buenos Aires playacts at being a city that really belongs in the northern hemisphere, and although it somehow drifted to the Southern Atlantic, it’s still attached to its parental body of Europe by an imaginary umbilical cord.” Oh what a circus!
Algodon Mansion fuses French flair with Latin passion and German precision. More Le Grand Trianon than Le Petit Trianon. A luxurious and directional venture, this 1912 landmark has been reimagined by leading German born architect Los Angeles based Gerhard Heusch.
Original grandeur is complemented by a wealth of materials and interventions: walnut parquet | marble tiles | silk wall coverings | taffeta curtains | gold leaf ceilings | alabaster bar. And a waterfall cascading down four watery storeys to the lobby.
A bottle of private collection wine from Algodon’s very own 130 hectare vineyard sits on our writing table. Doesn’t every hotel have a vineyard? Layers of honeycomb are the new canapés.
Time to relax in the rooftop swimming pool, admiring the incidental brutalism of the surrounding skyline. Far below, a brass band marches along Erythrina lined Bougainville filled Guido. La belle époque is back.
The only way to banish winter blues is to swap seasons. Somewhere in the world it’s spring. In a climate changing equator crossing hemisphere jumping move, hello to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay! Seasonal adjustment order is lunching on roasted pumpkin ravioli and lemon thyme while the waves of the Río de la Plata lap all around. Charco Bistró literally balances on the edge of the world’s widest estuary. The restaurant and hotel date back 300 years says the waiter. Old, yes, but not the oldest buildings on the sycamore lined palm shaded cobbled streets of the town: Colónia del Sacramento was founded by Portuguese settlers in the late 17th century. Gloriously faded grandeur abounds. The only blues here are the cerulean tones of an endless sky.