Faena Hotel + Universe, Buenos Aires
Tel: 54 11 4010 9000
Concierge.com's insider take:
"It's not just a hotel," the people who run this monstrous property in chic Puerto Madero Este (a.k.a. the Tribeca of B.A.) will tell you, "it's a universe." They may have a point. The buzz has died down a bit since it opened in 2004, but the 110-room Faena Hotel + Universe—the brainchild of Argentinean fashion guru Alan Faena and design superstar Philippe Starck—intends to be an all-purpose 21st-century Baroque fun house. The former granary, a hulking brick structure from 1902, contains two formal restaurants, including the Alice in Wonderland–inspired El Bistro; a produce market; hopping nightclub; luxe spa with hammam; wine cellar for tasting parties; and jasmine-hedged outdoor pool. Usefully, the hotel assigns you an "experience manager" who can hook you up with tango lessons, polo matches, or just a compass to help you get around.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:Philippe Starck's signature gilding and masses of red velvet get plenty of attention at this 1902 grain warehouse turned 83-room hotelbut it's the service that really shines. Each guest is assigned a team of three "experience managers," whose primary purpose is to suss out the chic shops, authentic tango outposts, and unlisted addresses of where to see and be seen in this ultrahip capital. At the restaurant El Mercado, medialunas are baked every half hour until lunch, when spicy meat empanadas emerge from a mud-brick oven. Beneath the all-white bistro sits the country's best-stocked wine cellar, with more than 300 labels. Warning: Jackhammers could be a regular fixture until the Faena rounds out its Universe with retail space and other amenities.2005 Hot List
When to go: The emerald outdoor pool beckons from December through March.
Which room to book: Those ending in 02corner suites with waterfront and city views
Amenities: Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, Spa, 24-hour Room Service, Wheelchair-accessible