by Scott Laird
Last updated: 8:00 PM ET, Wed June 14, 2017
Upon arrival at Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, it's difficult to decide whether it feels more like a palatial private residence or a chic art gallery hidden away in the residential Recoleta neighborhood.
A comforting stillness pervades the cozy alcoves that house desks for information and guest registration. They expand only as much as needed into the more spacious corridors and public spaces that connect the heritage, 1936 mansion with the contemporary hotel tower.
The hotel is so intimate, it's easy to feel like you own the place: Chandeliers feel like your own chandeliers; the library feels like your own, the Lilliputian swimming pool feels like yours.
The harmonized balance of private and public spaces make the building-once the private mansion of a railroad magnate-feel like a guest's own private home for their stay in Buenos Aires, in spite of the 150 other guest rooms and suites housed in the two buildings.
The Tudor Revival mansion would just as easily be at home in London; which is consistent with the city's reputation as the most European in South America.
The Recoleta neighborhood is a quiet residential page break between the urban excitement of the Retiro-with its high rises and frenzied traffic-and the urban forests and museums that line the broad thoroughfares to the west, beyond Recoleta's eponymous cemetery, where Argentina's famous first lady Eva Peròn (and many other notable Argentines) rests eternal.
Guest rooms are grandly proportioned in typical Park Hyatt style, with bathrooms rivaling sleeping rooms in size. Pleasant, measured textural changes from polished stone to rich woods and supple textiles impart an air of civilized comfort, if not in a vaguely international style not particularly steeped in local color.
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Nevertheless, the seasoned Park Hyatt guest knows this dichotomy is well deployed at the brand's properties across the globe. Outside: the destination in all its diverse glory. Inside: Park Hyatt, with its familiar luxury at close reach.
The little extras melt away the jetlag of a long journey to South America without much effort. The deep soaker tub is a welcome antidote to hours in an airplane seat, complete with a glass apothecary jar yielding an intoxicating fragrance of bath salts. The separate rainforest shower works similar wonders.
Room service and dining venue menus showcase a broad range of Argentine and international cuisine, and in-room dining pricing is refreshingly reasonable. The morning breakfast buffet can't quite headline the same claim, considering the cost of the meal as the price of admission for the fine views of the historic mansion and manicured grounds is a perfectly reasonable way to justify the expense.
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Takeaway: This Park Hyatt's Buenos Aires is something of an introspective city. From quiet hotel corridors to sleepy sidewalks, a wander through a cemetery or a leisurely stroll through a craft market, the experience's most enduring luxury is perhaps one of the most elusive of luxuries: reflection.
The Damage: Rates never seem to dip below $500 US per night.
Instagrammable Moment: Tower views of the Recoleta neighborhood and the Atlantic Ocean will garner engagement, as will shots of the historic mansion and gardens.
Loyalty: World of Hyatt
Good to Know: Those accustomed to exchanging currency at hotel front desks will be disappointed-Argentina requires a license to exchange currency and not even all banks carry it. The vast majority of rooms are in the modern tower; the mansion is primarily dedicated to suites. Joggers and strollers will find an urban trail map on their bedside table.
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