Over New Year’s, I was fortunate to be among the first to stay at the brand new The Vines of Mendoza, a resort and spa located in Mendoza’s wine-rich Uco Valley in Argentina. Located 600 miles west of Buenos Aires, the region produces two-thirds of Argentina’s wine.
As soon as we arrived at the Mendoza airport, we were whisked away to The Vines of Mendoza tasting room, which is located in the heart of the city of Mendoza and features the pours of 100 producers. The Torrontes and Malbec varietals from the Mendoza area were excellent. Michael Evans and Pablo Gimenez Riili own both the tasting room and The Vines of Mendoza resort.
The Vines of Mendoza (rates start at $510 per night) is surrounded by lush vineyards and the spectacular white-capped mountains of the Andes. Nestled at the base of the Andes are 22 very spacious one- and two-bedroom villas ranging from 1,000 to 2,700 square feet and featuring outdoor showers and soaking tubs, flat-screen televisions, indoor fireplaces, private patios with plush furnishings, outdoor fire pits and complimentary Wi-Fi. We arrived at the hotel at 3 am and found the entire staff ready to greet us and show us our villas. We were fortunate to get upgraded to a villa that was 1,500 square feet.
Francis Mallmann is the city’s most famous chef, and we dined at his flagship restaurant 1884, which utilizes an array of grills such as a parilla barbecue grill and a plancha, a cast-iron grill. They are famous for grilled meats but I was impressed by the quality and variety of the grilled vegetables. The private dining room was very special as it dates back to 1884—hence the restaurant’s name—and is ideal for large groups, but the outdoor patio also looked very inviting under the stars.
Francis Mallmann also has a restaurant at The Vines of Mendoza, Siete Fuegos, where we had a very memorable dinner in a beautiful setting. We celebrated New Year’s Eve at The Vines of Mendoza, with spectacular fireworks and a DJ. Everyone was dressed in white, which is a South American tradition and which added to the ambiance.
I would definitely recommend having the Vines of Mendoza arrange a wine-tasting excursion with lunch at a rustic nearby winery. That was a highlight of the trip, along with horseback riding to the asado (barbecue) in the mountains with traditional Argentine dancers.
When we stayed over the holidays, the resort was not yet open to the public, as some of the villas were not yet complete and the spa had not opened yet. The fitness center was open, and many of our friends enjoyed working out in between our dining excursions.
A Buenos Aires tip
If you stop in Buenos Aires first, I highly recommend dining at Elena, the new restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. We enjoyed an amazing dinner in the private dining room with an array of traditional Argentine menu items. The restaurant has a very contemporary décor, and opened following the hotel’s recent renovation. The new Pony Line Bar at Four Seasons next to Elena, is ideal for cocktails or wine before dinner.