Argentina’s fortunes currently seem to be taking a turn for the better. Few countries have suffered such a roller-coaster history, from the heights of affluence to the depths of financial distress. Now a new government seems to have stabilized the economy and be making a start on tackling corruption. But despite these positive developments, the peso has yet to recover its value, making the country extremely inexpensive for American travelers.
Argentina really ought to be a kind of utopia, thanks to rich agricultural land, glorious scenery, a grand capital city, a temperate climate and a relatively small population. Certainly it is a country that offers a wealth of attractions to visitors. On my recent trip, I visited three entirely different areas, beginning my journey amid the vineyards of the northern Salta province, a region known for its stupendous landscape of rugged mountains and dramatic canyons, with the unspoiled colonial city of Salta as its centerpiece. Although my hotel experiences were mixed, I was impressed by the dramatic improvement in the quality of the local wines.
From Salta, I headed to Bariloche in the dramatic Patagonian Lake District. There, I revisted Llao Llao, the region’s historical resort, and enjoyed hiking in nearby mountains, as well as a spectacular cruise on Lake Nahuel Huapi. I concluded my two-week itinerary in the Pampas near Buenos Aires, where I savored a relaxing sojourn in an exceptionally comfortable and atmospheric estancia, at the heart of Argentina’s polo country.
This issue also contains reviews of two new properties in the United States: the idiosyncratic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel overlooking Lake Michigan and the flamboyant Faena Hotel in Miami Beach. Neither is typical of the places that I customarily recommend, but both offer dramatic architecture and unusually solicitous staff. In each case, I found myself unexpectedly impressed.