IN THE CITY

M Style - - Contents - Text: MARÍA CRE­SPO

The city of Buenos Aires al­ways gives us an­other rea­son to re­turn.

Buenos Aires has its own scent, its own dance, its own rhythm; al­ways the same and yet al­ways dif­fer­ent, like an old friend who brings out the best in you or a new

lover ready to dis­cover your bright­est side. It’s a city that flows with cre­ativ­ity and drama, with grace and au­then­tic­ity. Its res­i­dents, the Porteños, call it the city of a hun­dred neigh­bour­hoods—al­though

in re­al­ity there are only 48.

From March to July, with an av­er­age tem­per­a­ture of 18 de­grees, some­thing al­most mag­i­cal hap­pens in Buenos Aires. It be­comes ‘a multi-coloured par­adise of au­tumn leaves’, as de­scribed by Marta Min­u­jín, one of the most in­ter­na­tional con­tem­po­rary Ar­gen­tinian artists, whose enor­mous cre­ations and per­for­mances are of­ten splashed across her city. The aca­cia and jacaranda trees em­brace and bring re­lief to trav­ellers in av­enues, gar­dens and parks that make you want to stay and set­tle down (for good, or just for a while with a good book). They in­clude the Bosques de Palermo and Borges’ beloved Lezama Park, where he some­times stayed un­til dawn.

Just a few min­utes from the Casa Rosada and the Plaza de Mayo, in the fi­nan­cial and com­mer­cial cen­tre, you’ll find the Ho­tel Meliá Buenos Aires. ‘ We’re known for our un­beat­able lo­ca­tion: a 10-minute walk from Puerto Madero, home to some of the city ’s most pres­ti­gious restau­rants and gi­ant, mod­ern build­ings that are driv­ing it into the fu­ture’, says Guillermo Díaz, Gen­eral Man­ager of the Ho­tel Meliá Buenos Aires.

‘Buenos Aires is lovely in au­tumn. The city breathes with the adventure of the im­mi­grants that set out for Amer­ica, and there’s some­thing to re­mind us of it on every cor­ner. It’s won­der­ful to en­joy a to­tally new city, built up from the mud in very lit­tle time, where cul­tures mix and re­tain the fresh­ness of some­thing new. It’s a city that’s alive and thriv­ing, with peo­ple full of hopes and dreams that au­tumn can’t ex­tin­guish’, he notes.

With 209 guest rooms, the ho­tel and its at­ten­tive staff meet the stan­dards of even the most de­mand­ing trav­ellers. ‘It’s ex­tremely mod­ern from the out­side, but in­side it has an in­cred­i­ble Euro­pean re­fine­ment’, ex­plains Díaz. It’s the per­fect head­quar­ters from which to cross every­thing off your to-do list, from places of he­do­nis­tic in­dul­gence to those where you’ll find the per­fect sou­venir. Don’t for­get the al­par­gatas and top-qual­ity leather belts at Arandú Tal­abartería (Ay­acu­cho, 1924) or the lux­u­ri­ous eroti­cism of Fueguia 1833 (Av. Alvear, 1680), a lab­o­ra­tory of Porteño per­fumes. The lat­ter was founded by Julián Bedel and Amalia Amoedo, and its cre­ations have won over Lady Gaga and El­ton John, among many oth­ers.

Wan­der­ing around Puerto Madero at twi­light, you’ll come across the Puente de la Mu­jer, a neigh­bour­hood em­blem that rep­re­sents the im­age of a cou­ple danc­ing the Porteño tango. This pleas­ant path leads us to­ward Chila restau­rant (Av. Ali­cia Moreau de Justo, 1160), headed by chef Pe­dro Barg­ero. His tast­ing menu (also avail­able in a veg­e­tar­ian ver­sion) is the per­fect way to dis­cover the roots of Ar­gen­tinian cui­sine with a mod­ern spark. He works with small pro­duc­ers to pre­pare sea­sonal dishes, washed down with the best Ar­gen­tinian wine. Re­serve a ta­ble next to the win­dows; the twin­kling lights are the per­fect back­drop for an un­for­get­table night.

The party con­tin­ues at Flor­ería Atlán­tico (Arroyo, 872). Where? How? Ap­pear­ances can be de­ceiv­ing. Look for a re­frig­er­a­tor door; once you open it, you’ll un­der­stand.

In­cred­i­ble drinks await you, like the Es­puma de Cy­nar, the Po­laco Blanco and the Bisonte de Varso­via, in an avant-garde at­mos­phere that ex­udes pure joy.

But if there’s one neigh­bour­hood that rep­re­sents the essence of Buenos Aires, it’s La Reco­leta, which boasts the best de­signer shops and the ma­jes­tic ceme­tery of the same name. Close to the Museo Na­cional de Bel­las Artes (Na­tional Mu­seum of Fine Arts) and Avenida Cor­ri­entes (home to ma­jor the­atres like the Ópera, As­tral and San Martín), you’ll find the mag­nif­i­cent, beau­ti­fully land­scaped Meliá Reco­leta Plaza Ho­tel.

‘This is a his­toric build­ing, hav­ing been the first res­i­dence of Eva Perón in Buenos Aires be­tween 1942 and 1944. This fact is recog­nised by a res­o­lu­tion of the city leg­is­la­ture’, says Damián Pais, Gen­eral Man­ager of the Meliá Reco­leta Plaza Ho­tel.

Warn­ing: you run the se­ri­ous risk of mak­ing this your Buenos Aires au­tumn res­i­dence for life. ‘It’s an ex­traor­di­nar­ily lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel, and through­out the fa­cil­i­ties you can en­joy finely se­lected pieces of art, soak in the sun on our ter­race, take a re­fresh­ing dip in our pool, at­tend a jazz show right in the ho­tel and end your day with a re­lax­ing mas­sage or a trip to our spa’, the man­ager tells us.

Delve into one of the world’s most beau­ti­ful burial places: La Reco­leta Ceme­tery. Its labyrinthine streets are full of sculp­tures and fraught with his­tor­i­cal fig­ures, in­clud­ing Eva Perón, 21 na­tional pres­i­dents and 28 lo­cal may­ors—plus hun­dreds of sto­ries that will help you un­der­stand the city’s evo­lu­tion. Its 54,843 square me­tres con­tain 4,780 burial vaults, the ma­jor­ity of which are pri­vately owned in per­pe­tu­ity.

Com­bine a clas­sic and time­less lomito sand­wich at La Ram­bla (Posadas, 1602) with the moder­nity of the Mu­seum of Latin Amer­i­can Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) and its fan­tas­tic shop.

Stroll aim­lessly among em­bassies and palaces, let­ting your eyes cap­ture the el­e­gant essence of Buenos Aires, and cel­e­brate its beauty at the area’s best eater­ies. At num­ber 1519 on Calle Posadas, near the cor­ner where it meets Cal­lao, you’ll find Fer­vor: a clas­sic and so­phis­ti­cated culi­nary con­cept. Try their molle­jas (sweet­breads), pro­v­o­leta, Ar­gen­tinian beef and grilled seafood. The warm at­mos­phere and per­sonal ser­vice win over lo­cals and trav­ellers alike.

‘Buenos Aires is the other street, where I never set foot; it’s the se­cret cen­tre of the blocks, the rooftop pa­tios; it’s what the fa­cades hide’, wrote Jorge Fran­cisco Isi­doro Luis Borges Acevedo—bet­ter known as Borges—the uni­ver­sally beloved Porteño. I’ll have to hear you once again, Buenos Aires, and let your days be open and fer­tile with pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Puente de la Mu­jer by ar­chi­tect San­ti­ago Cala­trava, in Puerto Madero, close to the MeliáBuenos Aires.

Be­low, the en­trance of the Meliá Buenos Aires, per­fectly lo­cated to ser ve as a base forex­plor­ing the city.

Above, the ho­tel’s el­e­gant lobby—one of its hall­marks—and the A,zorín restau­rant. the Casa Rosada in the Plaza de Mayo, and a Pre­mium Suite at the Meliá Buenos Aires.

On the left, the lobbybar at the Meliá Buenos Aires, and tOhne in­door pool.t,he op­po­site page the Flo­ralis Genérica sculp­ture by Ed­uardo Cata­lano, in the Plaza de las Na­ciones Unidasin Reco­leta. , tango on the streets of SanTelmo, and a piece in the Ruth Ben­zacar galler y in Villa Cre­spo.

The lobby of the Meliá Reco­leta Plaza, lo­cated close to the Museo Na­cional deBel­las Ar tes.

Abovethe br,eak­fastarea of the Meliá Reco­leta Plaza ho­tel,and the jacuzzi in the ho­tel’s One Spa. Be­low, a Deluxe Room and the bath­room of a suite at the MeliáReco­leta Plaza.

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