PALACIO DUHAU, PARK HYATT BUENOS AIRES
This is part of a series we post on Fridays.
The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is located within the walls of the Palacio Duhau, a Tudor Revival mansion built in 1890 for a railroad executive. The property was sold to the Duhau family in 1920, and after the passing of the Duhau family members, the mansion sat empty for many years. In 2002, a local developer purchased the property and sold it to Hyatt, and the hotel group restored the property and transformed it into the 5-Star hotel that it is today.
We were lucky enough stay at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires for three nights during our backpacking trip through South America this March. Stepping inside that luxurious, air conditioned lobby in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood with our packs and causal attire, we must have been an unusual site for the hotel staff. But, everyone there treated us in a friendly, professional and courteous manner during our stay. In fact, after telling them our names when we checked in, we were never asked again. Thereafter, the multilingual staff members consistently greeted us by name as we passed by. Impressive. We loved every minute of our time in this beautiful hotel.
“The hotel is located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which is a quiet, upscale neighborhood with great shopping and restaurants, nestled in a canopy of old, tall trees that provide much-needed shade during the muggy Argentinean summers.”
The hotel is set up in a very unique way. There are two buildings that make up the hotel, the palace, which faces Alvear Street, and the newer and more modern Posadas Building. Most of the hotel rooms are located in the Posadas Building, but the two connect underground. In the middle, a terrace, garden and restaurant patio has been built so that you can enjoy a meal or cocktails with a picturesque view of the palace. The underground area features an art gallery (not kidding), a flower shop, and an indoor pool, a spa and a fitness studio. There are several dining options available throughout the hotel, as well as 24-hour room service. Dining options include: Gioia Restaurante & Terrazas, an Italian restaurant in the Posadas building with a modern patio on the terrace; Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca, serving sophisticated Argentinean cuisine in the Palace building; Los Salones del Piano Nobile, an elegant dining area serving brunch, snacks and tea on the Palace side of the terrace; The Oak Bar, a private oak-paneled room for pre- and after-dinner drinks on the upper floor of the Palace building.
We stayed in a standard room with a king bed facing Posadas Street. The room, along with most of the Posadas building, was styled with contemporary decor. Complete with an amazingly comfortable bed, in-room coffee service, complimentary snacks, a writing desk, butler service and black-out shutters, we were in the lap of luxury (especially after all of the hostels we’d been staying in!) Upon arrival, we reached into our bags to find our power adapter to charge our phones, only to learn that it was not necessary; the hotel was equipped with U.S. outlets in every room.
The bathroom was my favorite part. Taking up about half of the room’s square footage, the closet, two-sink vanity, bathtub, shower and toilette were all connected by clear doors. Each area had its own lighting system, which could be controlled from a remote at your bedside table. The bathtub was made of marble, and beside it sat complimentary bath salts, a sea sponge, plush robes and an array of Celedonio toiletries, all of which were replaced or replenished daily. No surprise, there was a rain shower head in the walk-in shower, a toilet and a bidet (and an emergency phone) in the toilette room, and a beautiful wood organizing system with several types of hangers in the closet. There was even complimentary shoe shining- just leave your shoes in the leather box and they’ll have them polished and shined the next morning! Nothing was spared.
After browsing the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires app (complimentary access while you’re on the hotel WiFi) we realized that all the rooms were different, and if you were lucky (and wealthy) you could even stay in some of the historic suites in the Palace, which include dining and sitting areas, a wrap-around terrace, and panoramic views of Alvear Avenue. One day…
The hotel’s location is ideal for visitors as well. It’s in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which, if you’ve been to BA before, you know is a quiet, upscale neighborhood with great shopping, restaurants, and a canopy of old, tall trees that provide much-needed shade during the heat of the muggy Argentinean summers (which start mid-December and extend through March). The MALBA (Latin American Museum of Buenos Aires), Recoleta Cemetery, Teatro Colón, and the MNBA (National Museum of Fine Arts) are a short walk from the hotel, and the Patio Bullrich (for luxury shopping) is just down the street. Plus, every Saturday and Sunday you can walk to the Feria de Artesanos de Plaza Francia (also known as the Hippie Fair) which starts around noon and features high-quality, hand-made goods that are often sold at much lower prices than at in the boutiques in the area.
So you’re probably thinking, how the heck could two backpackers afford staying at a 5-Star Park Hyatt? The secret is in the Hyatt credit card. Prior to our trip, we started plotting when and how we’d travel throughout Argentina and Chile, and saw that major cities like Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Santiago all have high-rated Hyatt hotels. We also looked up, on average, how many points were required for a night at each hotel. Then we worked backwards. We used our Hyatt credit cards for most of our big purchases in order to accumulate a bank of points for our trip. With the Hyatt credit card, you earn 3 points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties; 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants, airline tickets and car rentals; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Although we didn’t have a clear plan for when we’d arrive each location, we made reservations at these Hyatt hotels in advance, and called to alter them as we got closer to each stay. For the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, we used a combination of cash and points ($125 + 10,000 points per night) to stay for three nights. This was the most expensive hotel stay of our trip. The Park Hyatt Mendoza had a much lower rate per night, so there we used only points for our three night stay. And at the Hyatt Place in Santiago (a brand new hotel, in a nice area called Vitacura) we stayed for four nights on points alone. These hotel stays were very helpful during our two month trip, as they gave us a chance to relax and feel refreshed after staying in hostels and Airbnb apartments, which didn’t have nearly the same type of cleanliness and amenities.