Molina Pedro — Ruta 60 s/n, Maipu, Mendoza
Located in the center of the province of Mendoza, Luján de Cuyo is crossed by the Atuel and Diamante rivers. The region boasts numerous enormous dams and lakes was an important center for Spanish, Italian and Swiss immigrants during both 19th and 20th centuries. Technically a desert (Cuyo means "country of the deserts" in the ancient indigenous tongue), the area lies in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains although rivers flowing down from snowmelt and the glaciers themselves provide water that, administered by the local government, is sufficient for all. The combination of good irrigation, summer desert heat and a high thermal amplitude is particularly beneficial to winemakers and their early establishment of the area has resulted in the development of some very special wines.
Club Tapiz is located in this rich agricultural region, an easy twenty–minute drive from Mendoza City and just thirty minutes from Mendoza's International Airport. Decorated in minimalist style with exquisite taste and attention to detail, each guest room is accessed from a central courtyard. Each also has external views of the hotel grounds and vineyards with emerald green and sun–dried yellow Andes foothills with their blue–white peaks in the distance.
An indication of the consistency of service and of the good relationships maintained between staff, management, and guests is a nearly negligible staff turnover. Greeter Pas has a phenomenal memory for faces and Patricia Ortiz the Dueña (director–owner)—a warm and elegant hostess—has instituted free daily tastings. Guests can meet informally while sampling Tapiz's own-brand wines.
In each of the seven stylishly decorated rooms can be found small details that indicate the level of care, attention, and consideration given to guests as a matter of course. These include a pillow menu, branded flashlight, tea and coffee making facilities (the coffee is excellent), as well as the normal toiletries and robes. Non–smoking rooms are available and all rooms have climate control, safety deposit boxes, satellite TV with movie channels, complimentary wired and wireless Internet access, and a direct phone.
Tapiz offers far more extensive facilities than might be expected in such a small boutique hotel. Opening onto small manicured gardens and a stunning swimming pool are a lounge, reading room with library, bar, and games room. The complex also boasts an extensive wine cellar, games and reception areas, a private spa with whirlpool and sauna, business center, and excellent restaurant. Staffers are also able to organize a variety of additional activities including skiing, horse riding, trekking, rafting, paragliding and a full wine tour.
Although the hotel itself is one of the best boutique hotels in the area, true luxury can be found in Casa Solo next door. Run as part of the Tapiz estate in its own private grounds, it was once was the ambassador's private residence. This exquisitely appointed private house has four bedrooms, each of which has a private bathroom, cable TV, Wi–Fi, and maid service. The games room has a large living and dining area, plus a lounge has its own private pool. There is a breakfast bar and even a private area for tango. Beautiful details have been carefully restored and maintained, including an extensive patio with pinewood floors and period furniture. All has been designed to preserve the residence's connection with its surroundings, including spellbinding views of the Andes.
© Tim Leffel
Terruño Restaurant (Terruño is Spanish for terroir) is one of the very best in Mendoza. You will sample exquisite dishes that use homegrown organic vegetables and herbs wherever possible in a restful ambience. Windows that provide outstanding views of the area frame the warm minimalist décor on the first floor. A terrace outside faces the vines and a meeting tower up a flight of stairs has views on all sides.
Excellence in service and staff is also extended to the winery, a tour of which will prove particularly informative. Ask for Carolina who adapts the content of her tours to the knowledge and preferences of the guests. Her gentle humor, enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of wines in general can be combined with a horse cart tour of the vineyard that will interest even the most jaded traveler.
Although Mendoza is a year–round destination, the warmer months between October and April show vineyards and terrain at their best. Although Club Tapiz is not as flashy or luxurious as the more expensive Cavas Wine Lodge, especially in the regular guestrooms, its rustic style and personal service suit the historic buildings and surroundings well.
Review and photos by Carole Edrich except where indicated.
Web address: www.club-tapiz.com
Total number of rooms: 7
Rates: $160 to $220 BB