Category Archives: south america travel

True Wine Lovers Sleep Right In The Vineyard

Mendoza wine country
The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

You think you are a serious wine drinker? Maybe you have a few glasses each week, swirl it around your glass rejoicing in the “body” and “tannins” and even can taste the differences between a California and a French Pinot, but have you ever slept in a vineyard? Well, we have… and let’s just say that there’s no substitute from drinking from the vine, resting your deliciously weary head, and then rising in the morning to drink/eat/repeat.

One of our top picks is Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel + Spa in Mendoza, Argentina. This luxury boutique hotel and member of Small Luxury Hotels lets you sleep amongst their eight acres of Malbec grapes in a Limited Edition Vineyard Loft. The pod-like designed loft rises 30 feet above the vines making oenophiles feel like they are growing in the vineyard themselves.

Argentine vineyards
The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

The one of a kind “suite” has an outdoor terrace complete with jacuzzi and unobstructed views of the vineyard and snow-capped mountains off in the distance. Although the views during the day are incredible, the ones at night are just as awesome. The loft has numerous skylights allowing you to stargaze right from the comfort of your bed.

argentina wine country
The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

Located in one of the largest wine regions in Latin America, often recognized as the second home of the Malbec grape, the 16-room Entre Cielos sits on 20 acres in the Mendoza countryside and is a modern day retreat with ultra-modern architecture, sculpture and zen garden, two restaurants and the only six-stage circuit Hamam in Latin America.

Don’t worry, wine reigns supreme in the spa to with Vinotherapy treatments. Where else can you  – detox and retox – at the same time? We highly recommend the Hamam circuit combined with a Grape Seed Exfoliation and Wine Bath. Imagine soaking in a bubble bath infused with red grapes while drinking the hotel’s very own “Young” 100% Malbec Rose? Magical.

best mendoza spa
The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

As the property does have their own vineyard, they produce their own three labels of Malbec- Marantal Young, Marantal Classic and Gran Marantal (voted one of the 20 best Malbecs in 2013 by Descorchados). They also, of course, coordinate onsite tastings of their wines, as well as others. If you want to venture out on a tasting mission, the hotel can also arrange tastings at an array of nearby wineries. Bring your wooden leg… you’ll need it.

If drinking all day seems like overkill, there is definitely plenty of other activities nearby. You can horseback ride through vineyards, hot sir balloon over vineyards… ok, fine, it all still revolves around winemaking but hey, when in Mendoza!

The Limited Edition Vineyard Loft starts at $700 per night but there are other rooms in the main building that start at $315 per night.

Santiago, Chile: The Best Neighborhood, The Top Hotel Finds

Ismael 312 Swimming Pool
Ismael 312 Swimming Pool

Bet you didn’t know that Chile, a country with more than 2,600 miles of incredibly diverse landscapes, is seeing a hotel boom in its capital in 2014. In recent years, Santiago has blossomed as a destination, establishing itself as one of South America’s top travel cities. Selected by the users of TripAdvisor as a Travelers’ Choice destination in November, Santiago is now sixth on the list of the top 25 travel spots in South America. 

In addition to its museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, Santiago’s central location makes it a convenient gateway to further explore Chile. Due to its proximity to both mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it’s also possible to ski in the nearby Andes in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon.

What’s not to love? So here are a few tips of key neighbors and hotels that will have you saying, “Mas!”

Barrio Lastarria

One neighborhood of Santiago that has particularly bloomed over the last five years is Barrio Lastarria. The area as a whole has led a renaissance for the capital and continues to develop into a melting pot of elite European styles mixed with chic bohemian influence. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs play host to global travelers while boutiques, bookshops and innovative art museums illustrate the district’s creative roots and intellect. A sought-after area for visitors, the artistic center has three new hotels on the horizon.

Ismael 312 Dining Room
Ismael 312 Dining Room

Ismael 312

Centrally located in up-and-coming Lastarria, the 44-room Ismael 312 welcomed its first guests in September. Close to lively bars, cafés, museums, theaters, Santa Lucia Hill, the Parque Forestal, and Museum of Contemporary Art, the hotel brings a modern contrast to the Art Deco area with its geometric facade and its triangular balconies.

The Singular Santiago, opening April 2014, will be a 63-room state-of-the-art, “sophisticated urban retreat” which will blend new luxuries with charm of the building’s original European facade. The five-star hotel will feature a spa, a “high gastronomy” French-style restaurant, bar, rooftop outdoor pool and lounge and six meeting rooms outfitted with the latest audio-visual technology.

Opening spring 2014, the five-star Cumbres de Lastarria will be a “design hotel” featuring sophisticated, modern décor in its common spaces and 73 rooms. The new property will have a rooftop pool and restaurant, and a wine bar and lounge where cultural and artistic events will be held in line with the profile of the neighborhood.

Barrio Bellavista

Bellavista is another hip neighborhood beating with culture. The Greenwich Village-type area is home to theaters, avant-garde galleries and boutiques specializing in local arts, crafts and authentic Chilean jewelry. It boasts a park almost twice the size of Central Park, and La Chascona, the house of the famous poet Pablo Neruda. The bohemian ambiance and great nightlife fill its streets with people enjoying friends, live music and a mélange of restaurants, cafés and bars.

Castillo Rojo Room
Castillo Rojo Room

Though the Hotel Castillo Rojo just opened its doors in October 2013, the edifice has been in use for almost 100 years. One of the most iconic buildings in Santiago, the former private castle has undergone a complete restoration with 19 exquisitely designed guest rooms, a lounge and two restaurants. The elegant architecture of the abode has been kept intact, and some of the original details like fireplaces, moldings, and furniture have been restored to provide guests an atmosphere of classic, vintage and modern sophistication in one.

Nuevas Las Condes

Nuevas Las Condes is part of Santiago’s business district. Development here over the last few years has been strong, with the neighborhood becoming ultra-modern and very exclusive. Home to Chile’s economic elite, the area is also a commercial hub. Its two very large shopping malls, Parque Arauco and Alto Las Condes, have exclusive boutiques, expensive international stores, restaurants and movie theaters. Most of the area’s activity is situated along Apoquindo Avenue, which locals call “Sanhattan,” a portmanteau of Santiago and Manhattan.

Opening March 2014, Plaza El Bosque Nueva Las Condes Hotel will be located in the heart of the business and commercial neighborhood, just steps away from Manquehue subway station and the Parque Araucano, a well-known green spot in the district. A 30-minute drive to the airport, the 276-room hotel will feature a restaurant, heated pool, gym/spa, business center and 20 meeting rooms.

One Luxury Amazon River Cruise in Peru You Can’t Miss

Aria - Peru

Meet my latest obsession: Aqua Expeditions. With the Aria and the Aqua, they’re the first luxury cruises to sail along the Amazon. You’ll experience the Amazon River’s three powerful tributaries in modern sleek style: the Marañón, the Ucayali, and the Puinahua as well as several hidden black water lakes. Combine this cruise with a pre or post-cruise Peru tour of Machu Picchu, Lima and Cusco and you have the makings of an unforgettable Peru luxury vacation.

A Room Aboard the Aria Overlooking the Amazon

Here’s a little sample of what you’ll see and do:

  • Arrival to Iquitos, transfer to Dock and Check-in
  • Iguana Isles and Piranha Fishing
  • Dolphin, Birds and Monkey Expedition
  • Magdalena Village or Yanallpa Flooded Forest
  • Pink Dolphins; Macaws at Sunset
  • Amazon Source, Village / 3 Nighters Depart
  • Forest of Mirrors / 4 Nighters Arrive
  • Nature Excursion
  • Jungle Walk, Meet the People
  • All-day Primary Forest Excursion; or Morning Rainforest Walk
  • Afternoon Caiman Expeditions
  • Breakfast with Pink Dolphins
  • Fishing Trip
  • Iquitos City, Visit Manatee Rescue Center and Departure

3-7 day cruises along the Amazon from $2800-$6300

Cartagena Chic

Cartagena… it’s the latest destination to get people talking.

Sizzling nightlife, beautiful women, historic colonial mansions, and el Caribe.

What more does one really need? To that end, we found one sexy little spot that’s perfect to rest your tousled head.  Situated in the heart of Cartagena ’s Old City along the Caribbean coast, The Tcherassi Hotel + Spa sits on a colorful, narrow street lined with historic colonial houses.  After an extensive two year restoration and renovation, a 250 year old colonial mansion comes to life in fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s first namesake hotel.

With seven unique rooms and suites, The Tcherassi Hotel + Spa reignites the magical setting of a bygone era while delivering all of the modern amenities and comforts discerning travelers have come to expect today.  Seven unique guestrooms, including a large suite with a private pool, occupy the four-story mansion providing an exclusive oasis for privacy-seeking guests. Each of the rooms have been designed by Silvia Tcherassi and named for elegant fabrics used in her fashion collections; providing just one example of how Tcherassi incorporates fashion into the hotel’s design. Offering either views of the city, the lush garden or the sea, the large rooms (ranging in size from 400 sq ft to 1200 sq ft) feature restored original stone walls, dramatic high ceilings, large open bathrooms  and private walk-out balconies creating an open and airy Caribbean feel.  Tcherassi also has designed all of the amenities including his and her robes and bath soaps made with her custom fragrance.

In addition to the oversized, luxurious accommodations, the hotel boasts VERA, an indoor/outdoor, chic Italian restaurant and lounge by Chef Daniel Castaño, overlooking a vertical garden with over 3000 local plants, a full service spa, four pools and a roof deck with 360 degree views of both the historic city and the sea. The search for inspiration and relaxation is easily achieved as over 30 staff members cater to each guest’s every whim. Although The Tcherassi Hotel + Spa is an oasis within itself, it is the perfect place from which to enjoy the vibrant culture of Colombia’s hotspot… Cartagena de Indias.

Por fin!

Rates range from $295-$894/night.