Suipacha 1036, Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Buenos Aires, the word "Alvear" connotes traditional elegance, and old money. There's the posh Avenida Alvear, of course, and its glittering centerpiece, the Alvear Palace Hotel. Opened in 1932, the opulent Louis XV–inspired hotel welcomed an influx of wealthy European travelers; after major updates, it was re-inaugurated in 1994, and today it remains a top choice for visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and ladies who lunch.
But not every well–heeled visitor to Buenos Aires, as the Alvear group smartly recognized, wants to be in the center of that action. Or wants to act like gilded royalty.
At the new Alvear Art Hotel, located a few blocks away from Plaza San Martin in a sleek Retiro high–rise, guests find all the amenities you'd associate with the luxury brand: professional service, marble bathrooms with whirlpool baths, Egyptian cotton sheets, in–room Nespresso machines, 42–inch LCD screens and iPod docks, an exceptional continental breakfast featuring an irresistible range of fresh fruits and lovely French–inspired pastries.
What's different here is the modern aesthetic–guest rooms and suites have clean lines, natural wood paneling, and a subdued color palette of ivory, gold, beige and bronze — and the lower profile. You're not likely to bump into camera–toting tourists and traveling families here: the lobby bar and ground–level restaurant are populated with a well–dressed business set coming to and from meetings in the hotel's conference space.
The same is true at the rooftop swimming pool and adjacent spa, the former covered by a cool retractable roof that opens to the sky on sunny days. You're probably not going to encounter kids splashing around this picture–perfect pool. Rather just a few guests relaxing in chaise lounges after a post–meeting steam, quietly admiring the spectacular panoramic views over the Rio de la Plata.
These views, it should be noted, are one of the hotel's unique selling points. It's an unfortunate fact that many visitors to Buenos Aires never actually see the Rio de la Plata, the vast river that forms the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. But from the sparkling picture windows of the upper floors of the Alvear Art Hotel—double–glazed, of course, to keep out the noise of downtown traffic—you can't miss it. From this elevated vantage point, the river spreads out to the horizon, resembling the ocean.
If the quiet hallways, peaceful river views, and sleek décor has you craving a little 1930s–style French splendor, no problem: you're within walking distance of the original Alvear Palace, and the two properties heartily promote each other. Stroll on over to the landmark hotel for its legendary afternoon tea service at L'Orangerie. The white–glove service and fanciful interior design should provide enough grandeur to tide you over for a while.Review and photos by Bridget Gleeson
Web Site: www.alvearart.com
Total Number of Rooms: 137
Published rates: $295-645