Costa Flores S/N, Alto Agrelo,
If you came to Argentina's wine country to be one with the vineyards, you can't get any closer than Cavas Wine Lodge. Being out in the countryside doesn't involve making sacrifices, though, as the accommodations here are some of the best in the entire country.
For many years Mendoza didn't have much to brag about in the way of hotels. Then the Park Hyatt Mendoza changed everything and the Cavas Wine Lodge followed, 20 minutes south of the city. The two hotels are as different as night and day, but not in terms of quality: this fine wine lodge provides a delightful and unique experience for wine lovers and romantics.
Built by the offspring of old money Argentines, the owners didn't do anything halfway here. The public areas are on par with a much larger hotel and guests don't just sleep in a room: everyone has a private cabana with a roof deck. With a fireplace lit, looking out at the vineyards and Andes mountains, it's hard to imagine a more perfect setting for sharing a glass of Malbec.
The trip here is a bumpy one on a gravel road, but the journey is worth it. The entrance is impressive, with a view of snow on the mountains beyond and a lobby featuring a twisted grape vine chandelier and commissioned original modern art. A sunny rectangular sitting area is outfitted with designer furniture and enough books to occupy anyone for days.
The artistic rectangular pool with spouting fountains is a popular spot in warm weather––which is most of the year here––and the cushioned chaise longues are inviting, especially when someone magically appears to offer a chilled chardonnay. A Moorish spa puts wine on your body as well with "vinotherapy" treatments. Wine–infused massage oils, wine baths, and grape seed exfoliations may sound gimmicky, but they're all the rage in these parts. The staff can set up a variety of excursions, including winery tours, biking tours, and golf.
The well–stocked wine cellar is unique here in that it opens onto a patio that can function as a stage. Giant steps leading up to ground level double as seats during a performance. The sole restaurant serves all meals, using mostly local ingredients, serving a variety of dishes from around South America. Guests who give some advance notice can dine by candlelight on their own roof terrace or by their plunge pool.
The dramatic adobe–style cabana buildings are not exactly warm and soft, being built entirely of concrete, but they are impressive in their spaciousness and bold design. All are set up as suites––small houses really––at 970 square feet each. A living room area, a large bedroom with fireplace, a walk–in closet, and a patio with private plunge pool flow into each other with curving walls and sconces. Spacious baths feature two separate designer vanities, clawfoot tubs, separate showers, and custom toiletries made specifically for Cavas Wine Lodge. Stairs lead up to a roof deck with cushioned seating, another fireplace, and views in every direction. Most of the units are reached by wireless Internet access, but note the need for this when booking if it's important to you. There's plenty of other gadgetry on hand: satellite TVs, cordless phones, and CD stereos.
This is a low–key hotel where quiet and privacy are assured: children must be 13 or older. The staffers speak fluent English here and have built a reputation for delighting demanding oenephiles and seen–it–all guests. It's hard to call $350 a night rates a bargain in Argentina, but considering that accommodations here are larger than most hotels' biggest suites, Cavas Wine Lodge is a good value, especially considering the high level of service.
Review and photos by Tim Leffel.
Web Site: www.cavaswinelodge.com
Total Number of Rooms: 14
Published rates: $360 to $765 (does not include tax) BB
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