European glamour; Latin energy: Buenos Aires is as intoxicating as the country’s famous Malbec. Here’s Mr & Mrs Smith’s pick of where to stay, where to eat and what to do with your downtime in this sultry city, famed for its sensual dance moves, glamorous shops, grand boulevards, carnivorous cuisine and delicious dulce de leche, which you’ll find squashed into alfajores (biscuits), manufactured into sweets or slathered on croissants.
Play: Pay your respects to Argentina’s most revered icon, Eva Perón, at La Recoleta Cemetery in the Recoleta neighbourhood. The mixed crowd includes loyal locals weeping at the grave of Argentina’s First Lady, as well as curious Andrew Lloyd Webber fans. If you’re keen to tango, have a class at Confiteria Ideal (+54 11 4328 7750), where the passionate teachers will have you whirling and twirling in no time. Savour the musty smell of the dance hall and the rhythmic stamping of participants’ feet.
Stay: If you like your rooms ruby-red and your steak cooked to pinkish perfection, bed down at Faena Hotel, a converted granary with soaring ceilings and a prime riverside setting. You don’t have to hunt down the spirit of tango when you stay here – the hotel holds 1920s-style cabaret performances in its bar, with lusty dancers hot-stepping to perfection. Other claims to fame include one of the country’s best Malbec collections, an infinity pool with a giant crown-shaped fountain at its centre (well, naturally) and sultry Philippe Starck styling: glittering chandeliers and candelabra, red-velvet drapes, flickering candles and lashings of gold.
Eat: Start the day like the porteños (locals), with coffee and medialunas (little croissants, both sweet and savoury) at buzzing La Pasteleria at 1744 Gurruchaga, Palermo Viejo. For fancy French food with a generous portion of (beautiful) people-watching on the side, book a table at Casa Cruz (+54 11 4833 1112) at 1658 Uriarte, Palermo Soho. The chef is something of a show-off – expect ambitious dishes such as foie gras crème brûlée and rabbit medallion – but he has a light touch to temper the rich flavours. If low-key barbecued meat is more your thing, feast on succulent steak at La Cabrera, which has two outposts on Cabrera Street. Portions are huge and prices are low; have a light lunch before dining here.
To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish boutique hotels visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays