Buenos Aires certainly delivers on being the birthplace of the Tango. Around every corner, avenue and street — and embedded into every bat mitzvah or wedding and baptism — you’ll find Argentine couples of every race, ethnicity and religion dancing the tango.
Situated in the heart of Recoleta, one of Argentina’s most iconic and historic neighborhoods, the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires is the incarnation of a 1920’s Belle Époque mansion that underwent a sweeping $50 million renovation in 2011. Then as now, it remains one of the nation’s most intriguing points of reference.
It presides upon the western shore of the Río de la Plata, on South America's southeastern coast, and the city originally referred to as “fair winds” by the exploders is renowned for being perhaps the most diverse in South America. Since the 19th century, Argentina has been a major recipient of millions of immigrants from all over the world making it a melting pot of culture.
If Muslims arrived with Spanish explorers in the 15th century, it was Argentina’s state sponsored European immigration policies that fed the 2nd largest immigration wave in the world. In fact, Article 25 of Argentina’s Constitution reads “The Federal Government will encourage European immigration and it will not restrict, limit or burden the entrance into Argentine territory." Yet Article 25 also led to Asian and Arab waves of immigration too, and an overall influx of 6.6 million immigrants making Argentina amongst the most diverse ethnic and cultural region in the world.
Four Seasons Buenos Aires
If the Plaza de Toros del Retiro was a bullfighting coliseum of Buenos Aires of the 19th century, established in the city during the last years of the colonial period, it should come as no surprise that it cured into an elitist commercial quarter with high end shopping and the Four Seasons Buenos Aires.
With 165 modern rooms and suites in the tower, and seven traditional suites in the mansion, FS Buenos Aires accommodates conventionality with a nod to the contemporary. Both are plush and kitted out in a neutral palette, locally sourced furnishings by Costantini Design, and art exclusively curated by L’Art. Spacious bathrooms are luxuriously clad in marble and stocked with L’Occitane products, and for a more decadent experience look no further than the mansion suites. Lavishly appointed with Savonnerie rugs, silk curtains, and crystal chandeliers, all seven suites epitomize old world grandeur.
Elena, the hotel’s signature all-day eatery, accommodates both hotel guests and the city’s smart set. The two-story restaurant turns out elevated riffs on traditional Argentine cuisine and a unique chef’s table offers a blind and experimental tasting menu and beverage pairing. At the ever bustling Nuestro Secreto, Gourmet Burgers are trending compliments of the hotel’s equestrian-themed lounge whose signature cocktails and live entertainment are inviting the city and her guests to get reacquainted.
In addition to being home to the city’s only hotel outdoor pool, the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires has a state-of-the-art fitness center and Cielo Spa. A crisp and soothing oasis dedicated to restoring even the most fatigued traveler, Cielo offers a wide range of botanically inspired treatments. The Porteño Tango massage, in particular, is set to a soundtrack of traditional tango tunes, and the 80-minute session involves a invigorating back scrub followed by an rejuvinating massage synchronized to music. Fittingly, the treatment closes with a glass of Argentinian Malbec.
I Am My Own Woman
It’s been 25 years since Madonna took Buenos Aires by storm. Playing Eva Perón, Madonna filmed the movie with director Alan Parker and co-stars Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce at the Four Seasons Buenos Aires.
Evita rose from poverty to become an actress, mistress, and eventually wife of Argentine President Juan Perón. She created a vast social welfare program, with a host of charitable patronages, and as First Lady of Argentina would routinely address the public from the balcony of the Casa Rosada in the aftermath of the war.
The history of Argentina during World War II was complex; particularly due the nation’s traditional rivalry with Great Britain and the vast presence of German and Italian immigrants in the nation. Because of the close ties between Germany and Argentina, the latter stayed neutral for most of World War II, despite pressure from the United States to join the Allies, though eventually broke relations with the Axis powers and declared war on March 27, 1945 — six months before the war officially ended.
Evita’s glamorous Good Will tours through Europe following the war were designed to strengthen relations with western allies, and tireless work for charitable foundations and the fight for women’s suffrage all unfolded in couture Christian Dior gowns. Perón may have lost her bid for Vice President and Sainthood, but nevertheless went down in history as the “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.” Like Princess Di, the woman colloquially known as Evita has never left the collective consciousness of her country.
Madonna may have sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” at the Casa Rosada, and filmed the tango scenes in the ballroom at the Four Seasons Buenos Aires, but it was Evita who left the Argentine people her heart. “Tango for Export” was a phrase one heard often in Buenos Aires in the days following her death. A day and time when the world came and stayed for months at a time in Argentina; learning how to dance just as Madonna did, and for all or at least some of the same reasons.