THE BEST WINE EXPERIENCE HOTELS IN MENDOZA
We’re just weeks away from the perfect moment to visit Mendoza: vendimia. Harvest time is the busiest in the province, and offers up the most fun, too. The vines have kept to their side of the bargain and it’s the turn of grape pickers, agronomists and oenologists to get the latest vintages rolling. You don’t have to be a wine fan to enjoy Argentina’s second-most visited region – though it helps. This TRA accommodation guide will help you choose where to stay in Mendoza’s glorious countryside complete with obligatory Andes panorama.
Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Resort, Los Chacayes, Uco Valley
This boutique hotel opened in late 2014 much to the joy of design fans: the property was constructed by renowned architect Alberto Tonconogy, its interiors curated by daughter Julia with private vineyards managed by son Juan. With just 16 luxurious suites overlooking Malbec, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines as well as the Andean foothills, staying at Casa de Uco is akin to being at home – except far more luxurious. Warm staff cater to guests’ needs, organising bespoke experiences such as outdoor culinary classes, reservoir-side asados or a wine blending session. I turned my hand to cooking with chef Charlie Torres, picking tomatoes and chili peppers from the organic garden and searing them on a hot plate before they miraculously turned into Bloody Marys. If that sounds like too much hard work, kick back in the Jacuzzi, strategically placed inside the infinity swimming-pool, or at the spa.
Finca Adalgisa, Chacras de Coria
Although its location is a stone’s throw from downtown Chacras, Finca Adalgisa is the epitome of peace and tranquility. An 11-room family-run lodging led by Gabriela Furlotti, whose great-grandfather planted the now century-old Malbec vines that surround the properties, guests can stay at the Old House or the more recently built Stone House. The former, which used to be the family’s summer residence, sports original period features such as gorgeous ceramic floors, while the Stone House is more akin to a cosy log cabin. Whichever space you stay in, you can touch grape leaves from the comfort of your poolside sun lounger. The finca also houses the tiniest and cutest of wineries.
Club Tapiz Hotel & Restó, Maipú
Historical, political and architectural heritage collide at Club Tapiz and its smaller sister lodging Casa Zolo, given that the latter is an 1890-constructed mansion originally built for the governor of Mendoza. Rural chic is the name of the design game in each of the 11 suites, and its tranquil vineyard location off the main drag means peace and quiet rules here. Naturally all guests can take advantage of the outdoor swimming-pool or book into the spa. New for 2016 is a top Buenos Aires chef taking over the reins at Tapiz’s restaurant, formerly known as Terruño. Chila’s Soledad Nardelli has been busy planting an organic garden over recent months and her input will doubtless be a game changer.
Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel & Spa, Luján de Cuyo
Swish Swiss design is at the core of this cool accommodation, which does exactly as it says on the tin: comfort, vino, lodging and hamam. With 16 bespoke duplex suites that overlook Malbec vines, some covered in enormous mesh images of olives or figs to blend in with nature, the space to book is the awesome Limited Edition Loft Suite: this elevated pod has a bird’s eye view of the baby grapes below as well as a private Jacuzzi. With Mendoza’s only six-stage hamam circuit to its name and a picture-perfect outdoor swimming pool set to an Andes backdrop, fun is definitely fancy here.
La Morada de los Andes, Los Chacayes, Uco Valley
This three-room, one-suite B&B is managed by the good folk at Buenos Aires’ Hotel Fierro, so you’ll be in great hands with regards to service and thread count. Campo chic is the order of the day at La Morada, which translates as abode: living quarters feature leather and colourful handknit rugs while impressive images showing Uco Valley in all its glory deck the walls. There’s nothing more relaxing than kicking back on the verandah, inhaling the intoxicating aromas of wild flowers and letting the cooling breeze take the heat off. If an asado is on the cards, you should definitely sign up for a fantastic meat experience.
The Vines Resort & Spa, Uco Valley
For unadulterated snow-capped Andes views among 500 hectares of vineyards, splurge on a badass villa at The Vines. These 22 luxury pads sport all the mod cons and then some, including outdoor handmade clay bathtubs, firepits, roof terraces and king-size beds as standard. Did I mention the unbelievable mountain view? It really can’t be beaten, especially at sunrise and sunset. The outdoor pool and Jacuzzi are the coolest spots to sip wine in a zunga (if you must), while you can chomp down on anything seared, smoked or flame-grilled (except a Whopper) at Francis Mallmann’s Siete Fuegos. The Vines team brought the game to Valle de Uco, and then raised it. Splash out, no regrets. Note: the spa is set to open autumn 2016.
Auberge du Vin, Tupungato
A contemporary 29-room hotel tucked into Tupungato Winelands country club, thrifty travellers will be pleased to make use of their suite’s kitchenette; however, don’t skimp too much and miss out on Epic, Auberge du Vin’s top-notch restaurant led by Julián del Pino that’s well worth booking into, even if you’re not a guest. With a concierge service on hand and an impressive panorama over Mount Tupungato, make the most of the golf course and polo field; reclining on a four-poster sun lounger on the rooftop terrace offers the perfect antedote to over-excerising.
Finca Blousson, Los Chacayes, Uco Valley
Starting life as a three-hectare vineyard, the husband-and-wife team behind Finca Blousson first added a restaurant before constructing a B&B, making the small, personable complex what it is today. Two double suites denote rustic elegance, and either have an Andes or vineyard vista, with no interruptions. Tuck into Patrick Blousson’s French fare at the bistro; some ingredients are sourced fresh from the herb and saffron garden and harvested by Victoria. Sociable guests can make the most of the communal living room and its cosy fireplace; the guest rooms are TV-free zones.
Alpasión, Uco Valley
The alluvial road less travelled winds its way to Alpasión, an adorable lodge whose five double suites focus on the elements. With patio hammocks as standard, if Mother Nature and the vineyard fail to ground you, then perhaps the Earth Room will. This is a place where guests can feel at home from the offset, thanks to an array of communal spaces from a wine cellar to a terrace-top gazebo complete with fire pit, a perfect stargazing base on clear nights. The menu changes up daily here according to the chef’s whims. Kids are welcome too, and will lap up the bright colours in the sixth space, the Fire Room.
Domaine Bousquet, Tupungato
From the cute terraced cottages, you’d never guess that a Franco-Kuwait-born Iraqi couple oversee this B&B. Each cottage is ample yet simply decorated, letting guests focus on the view down into the valley to the east, and Tupungato volcano and the mountain range in the west as well as Malbec vines all around. An (empty) barrel outside each cottage doubles up as a small bar; the fridge comes well stocked with local liquids. This is the place to disconnect and cosy up to nature as there’s no WiFi or TV. None at all. *Currently undergoing renovation, check with the winery for the cottages’ availability.
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