Have you ever walked into a hotel and felt like you’ve stepped back in time? To the days of the roaring thirties and the kind of rooms that could host the sort of glamorous parties that Jay Gatsby would be proud of? Well that how I felt the moment I stepped into Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires (a hotel so nice that they named it twice), no actually, I knew this place was special from the very moment I saw it.
First built in the 1800’s by a railway executive with an English Argentine background, the property was bought by the esteemed Duhau family in the 1920s. In 1934 French architect León Dourge was commissioned to design the Palacio Duhau, a neo-classical Palace based on Château du Marais just outside Paris. Today it is one of the few remaining palaces in Buenos Aires that represent the city’s traditional aristocracy. Pulling up at the front of the building with its grand columns and staircase, you’d also think you’d arrived at an important government building rather than the luxury hotel now owned by the prestigious Park Hyatt group. The location is perfect too, found on Avenida Alvear in Recoleta, the finest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and a short walk to beautiful boutiques, restaurants and hotels. Not to mention the famous cemetery.
The hotel is divided into two distinct buildings, the original Palacio Duhau representing the city’s traditions alongside the contemporary Posadas building that can be accessed via an underground walkway or across the iconic hotel garden.
The Palacio Duhau has been lovingly restored with polished marble, Paris stone and original artwork all highlighted by the natural light flooding through. The lobby alone is home a famous painting by Guillermo Roux as well as a fine bronze sculpture by a Spanish artist. A network of different rooms fills the lobby level of the Palace perhaps the most beautiful is Salón Cristal pictured above. The high ceilings and beautiful marble floors with the star motif would be perfect for any cocktail party, whilst the wooden doors are palace originals. The most distinctive feature of the room are the two huge Baccarat crystal chandeliers, rare copies of those originally made for Tsar Frank 1st.
Arriving first thing in the morning and not-so-fresh after a fourteen hour flight we’re invited into the Salones De Piano Nobile, the central hub of the hotel, for a coffee whilst we wait for a room to be ready. It’s a short wait but it gives time to admire the beautiful space which is the perfect place for breakfast and afternoon tea and other light meals.
There are a few locations for breakfast in the hotel but we chose to return to the terrace of the Salones de Piano Nobile for a view of the garden while we ate.
Also located on this floor is the beautiful Oak Bar, I loved the exclusive clubby feel of this room with the beautiful wood-panelling, cosy leather chairs and roaring fireplace. The wood panels are actually 17th century originals from a castle in Normandy, bought by the Duhau family to decorate the palace. There’s an extensive cocktail list served here with the largest list of single malts in the city and different gin and tonic varieties.
Though we didn’t get to try any food at the hotel apart from breakfast, there are several options for dining. You can try Argentinian cuisine at Duhau Restaurante and Vinoteca in the Palace side of the hotel. The wine room is utterly gorgeous with 7,000 bottles of Argentinian wine which can be sampled at this gorgeous marble table. There’s also a cheese room (yes, cheese room!) offering the very best Argentinian cheeses that can be sampled with home-made breads and cured ham. Across on the Posadas side of the hotel Giodia Restaurant & Terraces serves modern Italian food with the option of eating in the sexy dining room of red wood and black leather or al fresco on the terrace.
The hotel’s underground walkway hosts a cornucopia of surprises and special extras that make this hotel totally unique. La Florería is a gorgeous flower shop.
Duahu Patisserie sells and serves delicious chocolates and pastries created by the hotel’s own in-house team. I loved these eggs modelled on icon Frida Kahlo and the cacti in the window.
Most dramatic is the hotel’s own art gallery Paseo de las Artes Duhau that runs along the walkway between the two buildings and showcases art of renowned contemporary artists. It’s a hotel that clearly prizes art and original artwork as pieces can be found all over the hotel public areas.
The AHIN Wellness & Spa is a central feature of the hotel, being the biggest spa in the city and housing the only 25 metre pool. We didn’t get to try out the spa for ourselves during our short stay but we did get a peek at one of the special treatment suites, the spa uses products by Comfort Zone, a luxury Italian brand. There’s also a full fitness studio with all the latest technology as well as a whirlpools and saunas.
The garden is another unique highlight of the hotel, an oasis in the city perfect for al fresco dinners or drinks. The garden is actually built over one of the last remaining hills in the city giving it the distinctive shape. There a beautiful bubbling fountain, special roses are bought in from France and the red cushions bring a beautiful colour contrast to the scene. You can see why it gave us such a gorgeous view at breakfast.
With 165 rooms I’d consider Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires medium in size. There are 23 rooms (including 12 suites) in the Palace side which feature antique Persian carpets, silk curtains and chandeliers. We had a suite in the modern Posadas building with more contemporary features.
The deluxe park suite was like a mini apartment and the light fresh space was the perfect welcome after our long journey. The red wine gift was pretty welcomed too! Neutral tones give the space a classic look that still blends with the old world charm else where in the hotel. The living area has everything you need for a working retreat or holiday with a comfy seating nook, dining space and work area.
A spacious bedroom also embraces contemporary style in design…
And the bathroom is clad in marble with both and large bath and shower.
A very special element is the hotel’s exclusive bathroom amenities. Award-winning designer Celedonio Lohidy celebrates Argentinian design with a geometric packaging that harks back to the Belle Epoque. He also selected the perfect fragrance for the products which encompass fresh cedar notes.
Lastly an extensive balcony overlooks the rooftops and high rises of Buenos Aires and is adorned with seating for two as well as lanterns and plant pots. An utterly elegant place to relax before heading for dinner at one of the city’s classic Parillas or to a tango show.
I couldn’t fault the service at the hotel, especially to the concierge who was very helpful with our bookings and last-minute changes. Overall Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is not only the perfect base for exploring the capital of Argentina, it’s also a place you can’t wait to come back to and somewhere you won’t want to leave.
PIN FOR LATER:
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Avenida Alvear 1661,
Tel: +54 11 5171 1234