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The Most Storied Hotels in Argentina: Immerse Yourself in the History of South America

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Argentina is a country rich in history, with countless fascinating stories. Even its name came about as the result of a legend. It’s derived from the Latin word argentum, which means silver. And the reason it was so named, is the tale of Silver Mountains.

When Spanish and Portuguese explorers first arrived on the land in the 15th century, some of the indigenous people spoke of a mountain made of silver, ruled by a white king. A few said that the silver was sandwiched between a mountain made of diamonds and another made of gold. These stories were often believed, having been given weight by explorers who claimed to have visited the mountains. Accepting the tales as true, Portuguese conquistador Aleixo Garcia gathered together a group of castaways and tribespeople, who traveled from the coast of the Atlantic, all the way to the Andes plateau. And while Garcia himself did not make it back to the settlement, several of his group survived, bringing silver and gold with them to prove their story.

Today historians believe that the Silver Mountains were actually an ancient Incan city that shown like silver in the heat of the sun.  And even though it is doubtful we will ever find a mountain made of silver, the story inspired people to travel far and wide, helping to create the history of South America.

As a visitor to Argentina, you can immerse yourself in its past by visiting one of these historic and storied hotels. Continue reading to check out the top 3 most storied hotels in Argentina:

1. Patios de Cafayate Wine Hotel – Cafayate, Salta

Nestled in the expansive Calchaquí Valleys, within the Salta province of northern Argentina, lies the historic Argentina hote, Patios de Cafayate. This tranquil Spanish Colonial-style mansion, established in 1892, was originally part of the famed Michel Torino vineyards. David Michel and Gabriela Torino, along with David’s brother Salvador, immigrated to Argentina from Europe in the late 1700’s.  When they arrived in Salta, they planted the grapevines that would eventually become the winery you see today.

El Esteco, as the winery is now called, as well as many of the surrounding vineyards, are open for tours and tastings. El Esteco even provides an option for visitors to make their own wine. For animal lovers, the Patios de Cafayate offers a horseback ride through the vineyards, as well as an open llama pasture. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for calm contemplation, including the majestic red rock formations of the Calchaquí Valleys and the estate’s original chapel.

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2. Palacio Duhau – Buenos Aires

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The Palacio Duhau was built as a family home for brothers Luis and Alberto Duhau, who belonged to the Buenos Aires aristocracy.  The land initially housed a Tudor-style mansion, belonging to railway magnate Alejandro Hume. The Hume’s were so well-connected that Spain’s Infanta Isabella stayed there during a visit to Buenos Aires commemorating the May Revolution.

The Duhau family purchased the land from Hume in the 1920’s, and in 1934, added the palace to the estate. The palace was modeled after the Château du Marais in France, a neo-classical castle, which Luis fell in love with during a visit to Paris.

Today, the entire estate serves as a monument to a bygone era of opulence. It was converted into a hotel after the Duhau family sold it, and in 2002, was renovated with an eye towards maintaining its historic beauty. The extensive lands of this Argentina hotel are a wonder unto themselves, with 47,000 square feet of gardens containing native Argentinian flora, including ancient trees.  A visit to the hotel’s Library room offers up over a century of Argentinian literature for perusal.  And the famous Oak Bar is decorated with 17th century carved oak panels from Normandy, France. At the Palacio Duhau, Argentina’s fascinating history is on display for all who wish to see it.

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3. The Llao Llao Hotel & Golf Resort – Bariloche, Rio Negro

The Patagonian Llao Llao Hotel, situated in the Andes Mountains, had a difficult start. Conceived by Argentina’s National Parks program, it was built in 1938 in the Canadian-style, complete with exposed cypress trunks and larch roof tiles. A masterpiece of wooden construction, the hotel’s signature beauty was also its flaw. Two years after this Argentina hotel opened, a fire broke out, and while there were no victims, the building was completely destroyed. Undeterred, the effort to rebuild it came quickly and a year later, it was reopened. While the second version of the hotel did retain its lodge-like feel, this time it was constructed out of stone and concrete.

The Llao Llao was expected to serve as a hiatus from bustling Buenos Aires, with Argentina’s national park in the background, offering an opportunity for peaceful exploration. For several decades this Argentina hotel was successful, and a draw for diplomats and presidents. But as with so many of Argentina’s businesses, by 1978 it was no longer viable, and funds were not available for restoration. In 1993 however, it was once again revived, this time as a luxury Argentina hotel and resort. The Llao Llao now boasts a renowned golf course, a marina, and a spa, as well as skiing or whitewater rafting, depending upon the season. While the resort’s options are numerous, perhaps the most Argentinian thing one could do while visiting would be to hike through what is now the country’s oldest national park, Nahuel Huapi. After all, that was what its creators intended.

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