“The height of luxury, sophistication and Belle Epoque elegance in what is often dubbed Argentina’s finest hotel”
What’s great about the Alvear is that the elegance is never overwhelming. Rooms are large (and most definitely grand if you have a suite), with impressive Louis XVI details like crystal chandeliers, antique porcelain pieces and fine paintings. However, they're made welcoming with tasteful floral prints and thoughtful details: a daily bowl of fresh fruit (with napkins and cutlery), fresh flowers, slippers by your bed at turndown, and the weather forecast on a card with your morning paper (state if you prefer it in English or Spanish).
Beds are incredibly comfortable: expect 500-thread Egyptian cotton sheets (that means extremely smooth and soft), a choice of feather pillows, and light duvets as well as heavier quilts.
The bathrooms deserve an award in themselves. You may gasp as you open the door to find gold fittings glinting against warm cream Boticcino marble and a cornucopia of towels and bathrobes. Toiletries are the finest you’ll encounter anywhere, made by Hermès: luscious soap, deliciously fragranced bath salts and body lotion you’ll be carrying around for weeks, plus everything else you might need. All bathrooms have hydromassage showers and separate baths (apart from Palace Rooms, which have showers only), as well as a hairdryer and a plasma TV.
The room categories range from Palace Rooms, with Louis XVI furniture and work desks, to Junior Suites with spacious lounges, to the 2-room Deluxe Suites. Large Diplomatic Suites have an elegant living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, while sumptuous Governor Suites and the wonderful Alvear Suite occupy the corners of the building and have a reception hall, an oval French-style living room and a large bedroom.
The Presidential Suite and Royal Suite have dining rooms, 2 bathrooms with hot tubs, and dressing rooms; some also have a sauna, home theatre and kitchen. Suites come with Jacuzzis and personalised stationery; if you're staying in the Governor, Presidential and Royal Suites, you get a range of additional goodies, perhaps complimentary drinks or breakfast served in bed.
Your butler will welcome you to your room, help set up the WiFi (or bring you a computer if you need to borrow one), and take away 2 garments for complimentary pressing. All the mod cons are in place, too: direct dial fax by your bed, plasma TVs, DVD players and a free shoeshine service.
There can be no finer breakfast in Argentina. The word ‘buffet’ is inadequate, but laid out before you in the stunning L'Orangerie and ballroom, amidst beautifully dressed tables, grand drapes and gold stuccoed walls, are tables groaning with goodies. Exquisite fresh fruits, an amazing array of pastries and breads, and that rare achievement: a perfect cooked breakfast. Slide back the silver domes to find a choice of creamy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and sausages, excellent smoked salmon and fine cheeses. There’s an extensive range of leaf teas and great coffee, too: get up early so you can linger before being tempted out to the delights of Recoleta. You won’t need lunch.
Afternoon tea at the Alvear is a famous ritual, and it’s with distinct pleasure that the waiters in their white gloves present you with silver pots of leaf tea (17 types) and a dainty cakestand of delicacies. The full tea might seem costly, but it includes smoked salmon bagels, scones with homemade jams, delicious pastries, and cakes from the ‘chariot’ wheeled with reverent care to your table. And it’s all served on Limoges china in the sparkling L'Orangerie or the palm-filled Jardin d’Hiver, to the accompaniment of live piano. Not to be missed.
Dinner at La Bourgogne downstairs is a striking contrast, amid sparse modern décor. Here, chef Jean Paul Bondoux offers an impressive menu of French cuisine, combining his signature dishes with seasonal specialities. Think tenderloin fillet flambé with cognac, venison with red berries, or a trio of sea fish with chervil sauce. There’s also Taste Vins, an intimate area for wine tasting, where you can sample Argentina’s finest.
But this is the heart of Buenos Aires’ best eating district, and more traditional Argentine restaurants abound: try El Mirasol or Piegari in La Recova (a tiny covered street, just 4 blocks away) for excellent steaks.
Children are welcome, though you might feel that toddlers would have more fun in a less grand environment. Older children will probably relish the fairytale feel; it's an expensive treat for kids, but they'll never forget it. The hotel can provide a huge range of facilities and amenities for children: cots, bathtubs, changing tables, highchairs, slippers, bathrobes, teddy bears, toys and baby toiletries (including baby wipes, soap, shampoo and cologne).
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Baby cots can be added to all rooms. The Diplomatic Suites have 2 bedrooms (one double and one single), and the Presidential and Governor Suites can be connected to a Junior Suite. No extra beds are available.
Babysitting is available by arrangement
Baby cots, baby baths, changing tables and highchairs are available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There are child-friendly options to be found in L'Orangerie whether at the lavish breakfast buffet, lunch or daily high tea. Room service is available 24 hours
There's a DVD library, and the hotel can provide toys and teddy bears for kids