We’re sitting on our roof terrace, a glass of Argentinian sparkling wine in hand, in front of a roaring fire as we watch the sunset over the Andes. Could a memory be more perfect? That’s the thing about Cavas Wine Lodge in Mendoza, it’s one of those once-in-a-life time places that I’ll treasure forever!
Mendoza had been high on my list of places to visit in Argentina, a city in the Cuyo region and the country’s capital for wine-making. You can choose to stay in Mendoza city-centre or one of a number of boutique lodges, many of which are also working vineyards. We chose Cavas Wine Lodge based on its reputation as one of the best hotels in the world but also the fairly easy distance from the airport and local bodegas and restaurants.
I knew Cavas Wine Lodge would be something very special before we even arrived… firstly as a Relais & Châteaux property, cuisine and hospitality are at the forefront of the experience. Secondly, the staff were in contact from when we’d booked the hotel, keen to make sure our stay was totally perfect. We’d booked the special two night program which included the airport transfer, meals in the best restaurants around Mendoza (including the renowned 1884 Restaurante by Frnacis Mallman), a private driver, spa treatments and outdoor activities. The hotel concierge planned the ideal itinerary for us before we’d even arrived to ensure we experienced the very best of the local area.
Our flight from Buenos Aires arrived around in Mendoza around midday, conveniently timed for us to visit a local bodega for lunch before heading to the lodge. We were greeted with smiles and ruby-red glass of Malbec before being taken straight to our room – there’s no formal check in here!
And that personal touch was evident throughout our stay in this family-owned property. The hotel was established by husband and wife Cecilia Diaz Chuit and Martín Rigal who are often to be found around the hotel along with their children. I chatted to Cecilia who told me they’d noticed a gap in the market in Mendoza, a small hotel surrounded by vineyards was crying out to be opened. And so Cavas Wine Lodge was born, the first of its kind in the area.
There are just 18 rooms located on the 55 acre vineyard, fourteen luxury rooms (all individual structures which are a huge 90 square metres of indoor / outdoor living space) and four villas. Mr S and I opted for Vineyard Villa which gave us 204 square metres in space. Each adobe-style villa is spread far across the grounds giving you utter privacy in your little home – you may not want to leave, were it not for the draw of all the delicious food and wine in Mendoza.
A welcome gift of the hotel’s own red wine and grapes greeted us in our cosy living area, neural tones and shelves stacked with books and other ornaments give the room a homely feel whilst floor to ceiling sliding doors have a view of the vines.
The brick walls add a gorgeous design feature and a fireplace is all ready to go for evenings curled up on that comfy sofa. We were there in April, autumn in Argentina so temperatures were beautifully mild during the day but could be cooler in the evenings. There’s a small restroom off from the living room too.
The brick work detail is carried through to the bedroom and the bed itself is swathed in linens. Original artwork and sculptures add to that authentic Argentinian feel that is present throughout the hotel.
A spacious bathroom includes a double sink, a huge heap of fluffy towels (great for avoiding any arguments!) and there’s lots of wardrobe space, plus a safe, Nespresso machine and mini-fridge for cooling the wine!
The shower is so huge that it could be a room itself, but there’s also another shower outside!
The outdoor terrace is truly spectacular, a canopy supported by grand pillars mark the corners of the undulating deck and the Vineyard Villas boast a hot tub, sun loungers, dining space and a plunge pool.
I’ve stayed at vineyard hotels before such as La Residence in South Africa and Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine in Spain, but never had I stayed in a room nestled so closely to the vines.
Now how about that roof terrace that started this post?
Isn’t that just a stairway to heaven?
The perfect place to relax with a glass of wine (of course) and enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Andes.
One night after we got back from our spa treatment, the hotel staff had lit up the fire and prepared sparkling wine and cheeses for us to enjoy while watching the sunset. It was one of the highlights of our trip!
Now a few reviews I read on TripAdvisor noted wear and tear in the rooms, I saw very small signs of this but it didn’t bother me and I’m immensely fussy. I did think however the floor could have done with a clean and the sun loungers needed replacing.
The luxury rooms are also very elegant with this stylish and distinctive shape with adobe walls, though I didn’t get to see inside one I would say by the size of them it’s not really necessary to pay extra for the Vineyard Villa.
The grounds of the hotel are incredibly lush and we were just surrounded by vines, greenery, grapes and huge pomegranates which are used not only to make wine but also spa products.
Due to the size of the property and the privacy of the rooms, it’s a little walk to the main lodge but that’s no hardship when the walk is as beautiful as this!
The architecture of the main lodge is Spanish colonial in style with white-washed walls, rolling archways and looming columns being key features.
There are lots of lovely places to take a seat including this outdoor lounge where we found them smoking meat for a private BBQ one day. There’s even an ampitheatre where the hotel hosts tango shows and other performances.
The main pool is a design feature in itself and looks perfect for a plunge in this sunny climate.
The spa is Moorish in style, though with the abundant vines, huge baths and generous refreshments mean this place could be mistaken for a hideaway for a Roman king!
A back massage each was included in our two night program and took place in a gorgeous couples suite. Products are made from the herbs and flowers in the hotel garden and treatments harness the latest scientific discoveries using vines and grape seed extracts. Our massages were just heavenly but you can also indulge in a crushed Malbec scrub, a red wine bath or Torrontés Wine Wrap. Lavender is also grown around the hotel and is used for soothing herb baths or massages. Just like in the rest of the hotel, the hospitality in the spa is welcoming and friendly, nothing here is ever too much trouble.
Like the rooms, inside the lodge is fairly minimal but organic decorations and original artwork are enough to give it character. I love the chandelier of vines suspended from the ceiling and the cosy cushions!
There’s a lounge where you can enjoy live piano music as well as the hotel’s restaurant, the heart of the whole place. Every guest is treated to a wine tasting in the cellars as part of their stay and Mr S and I enjoyed a private wine tasting with the hotel’s sommelier.
We loved the atmosphere of the cellar as the sommelier explained how the climate and soil of Mendoza contribute to wine production and provide the ideal environment particularly for the red varieties. Most wine enthusiasts will already know that Malbec is the signature grape of the region but it’s far from a one hit wonder with a wealth of other grapes such as Chardonnay, Semillon and Bonarda too for example. We tried several of the local wines as well as those produced by Cavas itself. The hotel has four varieties including Cecilia`s Becquignol Rosé, Blend (mostly Malbec), Bonarda and Sauvignon Blanc.
And with great wine comes great food, and at Cavas Wine Lodge it’s all about fine dining with a Latin American twist! One night we opted for dinner at the hotel, an utterly elegant affair with wine pairings. The menu changes daily in order to reflect the finest and fresh ingredients available.
Bar my slightly thick pasta, the food was utterly excellent. Mr S was just bowled over time and time again by the steak in Argentina and regular readers will know a strawberry dessert will always be one of my favourites.
Breakfast is a gorgeous buffet with fresh fruits and cereals and there’s a small perfectly formed selection of à la carte options.
The dining room is an elegant place to eat and on warmer mornings, you can step right outside into the vines for your morning meal. Another testament to the excellent and personal service here was when the staff set up the breakfast just for us to accommodate our early departure for the flight.
The hotel offers cookery classes, horse riding and adventure sports too but we opted to enjoy the lodge in between our vineyards visits and spa treatments. Everything we did was included in our two night program, the only thing that was extra was wine that wasn’t included in set tastings.
I think you might be able to tell that I absolutely loved Cavas Wine Lodge, a home away from home but with lots of added wine!!
Watch my video of the hotel!!
5507, Lujan de Cuyo
Tel.: +54 261 4561748