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1 City 5 Ways

Faena Hotel

Faena Hotel photo by Tim Clinch

Mix a few dashes of European flair with a heavy dose of Latin passion and a sprinkle of melancholy and you have the mesmerizing cocktail that is Buenos Aires. This is a city where elegant mansions line cobblestone streets, where drivers maneuver down broad boulevards according to rules only they comprehend and where the wild nightlife goes on until the wee morning hours. Wander through the quaint barrios of Palermo, San Telmo or Recoleta and you’ll encounter porteños, as the local populace is called, whiling away the hours at sidewalk cafés drinking espresso and arguing over politics, the sad state of the country’s economy (a perennial topic) or yesterday’s futbol match. Buenos Aires is a chaotic, beautiful mess, and it’s hard not to fall in love.


HOPELESS ROMANTIC

       
Bosques de Palermo photo courtesy of the City of Buenos Aires Tourism Office.        

Where to Stay: Algodon Mansion Hotel
Set in posh Recoleta, this 1912 belle époque mansion features 10 huge suites outfitted with B&B Italia furniture in a creamy palette of mocha and chocolate browns. There’s a Davidoff Lounge, a restaurant with an impressive wine list and a heated rooftop pool.

Midmorning: Bosques de Palermo
Head to the Garden of Poets, with its busts of writers including Shakespeare and Jorge Luis Borges and recite a stanza to your beloved. The city's answer to Central Park also features man-made lakes with pedal boats for rent. Avenida del Libertador at Avenida Sarmiento

Tea Time: Café Tortoni
Tango legend Carlos Gardel and Borges are just two of the famous regulars who frequented this café for its medialunas (croissants filled with dulce de leche), poetry readings and recitals.

Late Evening: La Viruta
You enter walking, you leave dancing. That’s the MO at this performance space and dance school where you can show up for tango lessons (with or without a partner) or reserve a table for a dinner show.

Really Late Night: Milion
Procure a cocktail and swish up the grand marble staircase of this beautiful three-story mansion to a cozy lounge with a Great Gatsby vibe.


NIGHT OWL

       
A dish at La Carniceria.        

Where to Stay: Fierro Hotel
On a leafy street in trendy Palermo Hollywood is this modern little hotel where rooms are fitted with double-glazed windows—the better to sleep through the day (if necessary). Stumble downstairs to the restaurant for the traditional Irish breakfast.

Noon: La Carniceria
Colombian-born chef Pedro Peña helms this modern parrilla, or steak house. Don’t miss the goat cheese Provoleta and the house-made sausages.

Afternoon: Recoleta Mall
Pop into this upscale shopping mall with local boutiques such as Ona Saez, AY Not Dead and Isadora as well as international brands such as Levi’s, Lacoste and others.

Late Dinner: Tegui
Past the graffiti-covered walls and black door is this lovely restaurant where chef Germán Martitegui offers an ever-changing menu depending on his mood and what’s in season. Reservations are a must.

After Midnight: Frank’s Bar
Getting into this underground speakeasy is half the fun. (Follow it on Facebook for a weekly password.) Once inside, the Prohibition era theme seduces with damask wallpaper, red velvet settees and killer cocktails.


SOLO TRAVELER

       
Caminito: shutterstock.com        

Where to Stay: BoBo Hotel
Each of the 15 rooms at this Palermo B & B is unique and decorated with period furniture. The form you fill out prior to arrival helps the front desk staff create a list of recommendations according to your interests.

Late Morning: Oui Oui
This cozy French bakery café/market is a great place to strike up a conversation with locals picking up their morning medialunas or with travelers planning their day over a cup of café con leche.

Afternoon: Calma Chicha
Leather is the name of the game at this minimalist shop where the owners offer simple but pretty traditional accessories, including gaucho bags, wallets, wine pitchers and cowhide rugs.

Evening: Caminito
Explore this pedestrian-only cobblestone alley in La Boca where artists showcase their works and every wall and bench is painted a different vibrant hue. Grab a table at a café for empanadas and a glass of vino.

Cocktail Time: 878
This hip Palermo joint hidden behind an ornate wooden door features exposed brick walls and a backlit bar with an impressive selection of whiskeys. The crowd is friendly and beautiful and the cocktails are potent.


HORTICULTURALIST

       
Photo by Lucas Desimone, courtesy of Buenos Aires City Government Tourism Office.        

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hotel
Fresh flower arrangements decorate the gorgeous public spaces and rooms, with their leather upholstered headboards and picture windows overlooking the jacaranda-lined streets, outdoor pool or garden terrace.

Morning: Recoleta by Bike
Rent a bike from Ecobici and pedal your way around Recoleta to catch a street performance or purchase a handmade mate gourd or silver jewelry from a vendor at the weekend flea market.

Noon: Sabater Hermanos
This family-run Palermo boutique handcrafts soap into pretty and quirky shapes—from the traditional square bars to confetti and delicate petals.

Afternoon: Botanical Garden
Considered the masterpiece of architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays, the garden features French, Roman and Japanese styles of landscaping with plants and trees from around the globe. Santa Fe and Las Heras avenues

Late Evening: Florería Atlántico
Hidden beneath a pretty downtown flower shop is a tiny basement speakeasy that pays tribute to the city’s 19th-century shipping history. Sit at the bar and dine on eclectic tapas paired with handcrafted cocktails.


DESIGN FAN

       
Ølsen        
         

Where to Stay: Faena Hotel
Philippe Starck has made his mark here: Think glass-enclosed bathrooms with marble floors, gold leaf swan chairs and a corridor of engraved glass and gold velvet curtains that lead to swanky bars, art galleries and performance spaces.

Midmorning: Usina del Arte
This building, once home to an electric company, reopened in 2011 as a cultural center that hosts concerts, dance performances and exhibitions.

Lunch: Patagonia Sur
Polished leather-lined walls, velvet curtains and check-ered floors set the scene inside this (pricey) restaurant by Argentina’s most famous chef, Francis Mallmann. The menu is traditional Argentine food with a twist.

Late Afternoon: La Recoleta Cemetery
Wander down the leafy avenues and narrow alleyways where pretty cupolas and weeping angels crown the mausoleums. Here lie military generals, former presidents and Eva Perón.

Evening: Ølsen
This restaurant is imbued with a modern Nordic aesthetic­—in its décor and its menu. Try the white salmon with green apple salad and some of the 60-plus vodka shots on offer.

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