The July Hideaway Report follows Andrew Harper’s travels to Argentina, where he evaluates properties in Calchaquí Valley, south of Salta; San Antonio de Areco, outside Buenos Aires; and Patagonia’s Lake District. Mr. Harper also discovers an energetic and trendy new luxury hotel in Chicago, as well as a dazzling new property on Miami Beach.
The contemporary Grace Cafayate is set in the dramatic Calchaquí Valley three hours south of Salta. Opened in 2013, this property comprises 20 two-suite villas arrayed around a main building with an additional 12 hotel-style accommodations, on a 1,360-acre real estate development. Vacation houses occupy some of the site, but native woodlands, a golf course, polo grounds and vineyards cover the rest.
Owned by two Buenos Aires architects, Legado Mítico is a boutique hotel with 11 individually decorated rooms in the heart of Salta’s historic center. Visually appealing accommodations, each named after a different historical or literary figure, have high ceilings, hardwood floors and traditional furniture mixed with contemporary accents. Legado Mítico is not a luxury hotel, but a stylish, idiosyncratic and comfortable base for touring the area.
La Bamba de Areco is a tranquil 370-acre estate 90 minutes from Buenos Aires, with 11 rooms divided among the original 1830 manor and other buildings constructed in a similar style. Owner and polo enthusiast Jean-François Decaux initially intended to restore the estancia as a private home, but fortunately he changed his mind, opening it as a hotel. His wife, Pascale, an interior designer, did a magnificent job with the décor, giving La Bamba a chic sense of place.
The architecturally spectacular 241-room Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is in a prominent location overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. On the ground floor, the Turkish baths now house what must be the world’s most ornate Shake Shack. A grand staircase leads from the marble-clad entry hall up to the palatial lobby lounge, a triumphant German-American interpretation of high Venetian décor. Young-at-heart guests will likely be quite pleased with the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.
The contemporary oceanfront Faena Hotel is set along a stretch of Miami Beach in the new Faena district. Distinctive public areas include the “Cathedral” lobby supported by massive gold-leafed and seashell-encrusted columns and lined with large-scale murals by Argentine painter Juan Gatti; a living room with a grand piano; and garden courtyard with an impressive sculpture of a nine-foot gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth. All 169 accommodations feature Carrara marble baths, art deco accents, plush window seats or furnished balconies, handcrafted working desks and butler service.