La Bamba de Areco | Relais Chateau Buenos Aires

John and I were in Patagonia earlier this month, as part of a fabulous vacation through Chile and Argentina.  After 2 very busy weeks exploring Chile (Valparaiso & Puerto Natales’ Torres del Paine at The Singular in southern Patagonia) and Argentina (El Calafate’s Eolo)  we spent our last night, after 4 days in Buenos Aires, here at Estancia La Bamba de Areco.  This 11 room Relais & Chateau lodge is about a 2 hour drive west of town in the middle the pampa.

So yes, it’s worth the BA traffic and 10 minutes on a bumpy dusty road to get here, and we only stayed about 26 hours. I’d probably recommend 2 nights, or longer if you want to really chill. But even our 1 night was well worth it. And you can helicopter in/out if you prefer.

  • Like many of the other hotels we stayed at on this trip, the serenity is golden. No incredible sweeping views here*, except of the peaceful ranch setting.
  • The hotel’s various buildings were meticulously enhanced by great interior design, but the buildings themselves are quite old, not that you’d know it.
  • The old buildings, I was told, account for the fairly small rooms, but they’re so nice, very comfortable and airy. Natural light is abundant. And the bathrooms, with their heated floors are huge.
  • All food & wine is included and it’s wonderful as you might expect from a Relais & Chateau property.  Lunch is the ‘bomb’ with a BBQ featuring endless steak, sausage, phenomenal roasted potatoes, and I can’t remember what else but it was worth staying here just for this.  Dinner was also delicious, if not more low key.
  • And interestingly because the place is so small all dining is communal – a great way to meet your fellow travelers, which is unique and cool.  The BBQ lunch was served at a big outdoor table, while dinner was at a cozy table in their elegant dining room.
  • Wander around the stables where the polo horses hang out between matches and practice.  It’s very peaceful.  And then take a ride on  one of their other horses. I understand the owner of the hotel is a French polo player and entrepreneur.
  • And they have a horse whisperer. That’s the after lunch surprise. Very interesting.

* well there was one, the horse back ride through the fields was really nice and you can see forever since there are no hills.

Learn more about the hotel, our complimentary breakfast and upgrade program.

More photos of my trip are here on Flickr.

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
Sign up for our interesting but infrequent emails

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

 

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

 

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Advertisements

Eolo | Patagonia Relais Chateau

I was in Patagonia earlier this month as part of a fabulous vacation in South America. After an incredible four days exploring the Chilean side of the border at The Singular in Puerto Natales (near Torres del Paine) we drove about 4.5 hours north (including the customs stop) to the Argentine side.  Just outside of the town of El Calafate, we were lucky to spend 2 nights at Eolo, a very small Relais & Chateau hotel (lodge?) in the middle of absolute nowhere.  Except that it is on the main road from El Calafate to the Perito Moreno glacier, the key draw to this area.

  • The location on the slopes of a hill affords views that are (again) breathtaking
  • Each room has expansive views to the pampa, a few cows, horses, birds & even a local pooch
  • The best food of our trip is included, and wine is very reasonably priced.
  • The staff was very helpful in arranging our tour to the Moreno Glacier, which is one of the coolest excursion I’ve ever done.  (See us in the crampons in the photos?).

From here, we flew north to Buenos Aires….. click through for pix of the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires and the Four Seasons Buenos Aires.

More photos of my trip are here on Flickr.

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
Sign up for our interesting but infrequent emails

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

 

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

 

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Maui | Andaz at Wailea

I’ve been coming to Maui since the 80’s and first came to Wailea in 1985 when I stayed at the InterContinental (with free Pan Am points!) and had a very elegant dinner at the Renaissance.  The Renaissance was so snazzy that when we arrived we were seated and presented with our own personalized matches.

Fast forward 30 years and the InterContiental is now the Marriott (and is undergoing a major renovation) and the Renaissance, after having been closed for about a decade, is now the Andaz.

I’m typically not a fan of luxury divisions of multi-national hotel corporations.  Given the choice I suggest to my clients try a top independent hotel or one from a small chain such as Dorchester, Oetker, Maybourne, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula or Belmond. Small Luxury Hotels and Relais & Chateau are collections of independently owned hotels and overall i like them too.  And the Mauna Kea on the Big Island which I’m visiting on this trip will make this list too. Four Seasons is quite different as they manage only luxury hotels, so they know what they’re doing.

Back to the Andaz. I was really impressed with my visit there  and was able to get the sense that even though they’re part of a large chain, and a brand (Andaz) that I don’t think is super focused, that this hotel has their act together and is a great example of a luxury hotel. Service levels are still significantly below that of the Four Seasons, but for most travelers, they’ll be good enough.

The rooms are modern, chic, sexy and a good size. Check out the photo in this post of their shower.  What you can’t see is the room is directly to the left of the shower and has a clear glass wall between them. Perfect for honeymooners. There are blinds too if you prefer!

The restaurant, Ka’ana Kitchen is equally as sexy. We only had brunch here (twice!). The layout and presentation are truly spectacular. The hostesses were wonderful and cuisine delicious, but the service was too ‘relaxed’ for my preference.  Overall though, awesome and worth the $47 price tag (oh, it’s free if you book with me!). The Four Seasons is $41 and not nearly as good (but that’s free too by booking with me).

The pools? There are 5 of them, including 1 adults only pool. The main 4 are 1 on top of each other, like I imagine the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to be. Very nice.

Loved the spa, too. Wish I had had time to use it.  Like the rest of the hotel (including their very cool 24/7 general grocery/coffee place) it’s very hipster and you can mix your own massage oil. Like that idea.

Suggested improvements?  I don’t like the daily resort fee, and I don’t like the separate cost to use the spa facilities. At prices equaling the Four Seasons, it takes away from the relaxed experience.  The price should be the price. For that matter, the FS shouldn’t charge for parking.

 

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Maui | Hotel Wailea Relais Chateau

Aloha and good morning!

We’re up enjoying our first morning of vacation. Back on our patio here enjoying the lush plants and green lawn. Haven’t had a room with a lawn since the Himalaya and it’s nice.  And with Nespresso it’s even nicer.

Maybe because Relais & Chateua has a huge European presence or ‘just because’ there are a lot of Europeans here. Of course there are only 18 little buildings here, each with 4 units, so ‘a lot’ is relative.

We enjoyed our first day yesterday.  Set up directly up the slope of the volcano 3 minutes by car from the Four Seasons, we’re enjoying this different kind of non-beach experience. After arrival we went directly to the pool for a couple of hours of super friendly chat with the 2 young ladies running the area. They manage the food, the cocktails, the beer, the smoothies and towel service. They seem to love working here.

The pool area is quite chic, just redone a year or so ago. It’s Hawaii so nobody’s really sure when it was done. Several ‘first come first serve’ giant cabanas line one side of the pool and that would be quite a way to spend a good part of your day. And by night there’s a romantic hot tub, last night used by one of the non-European honeymoon couples staying here.

The food at the pool bar was a bit unusual, fresh and perfect for a warm day. We shared an ahi wrap in a spinach tortilla with sweet potato fries. I had a very Hawaiian smoothie and John a “refreshing” mojito he told me.

At 5pm we returned to the pool area for some complimentary wine (choice of red or white), a friendly daily occurrence.  The bar was still active with a Brit or two.

Dinner a couple of hours later in their new restaurant, formerly known as Capische, was enjoyable, peaceful and romantic. The entrance is quite dramatic with South Pacific inspired art and the restaurant itself is all outdoors, a narrow sliver against a balcony with a very nice view of Maui’s west side. Relais and Chateau is known for their food (a requirement for membership) and this did not disappoint. I had a combination chicken breast and chicken sausage from a specialty farm (in California) with baby carrots that melted in your mouth.  Always love a great bread basket as was there’s. John’s snapper

Off to explore today!

 

f o r   m o r e   i n f o r m a t i o n   &   t o   b o o k 

josh friedman luxury travel (a relais and chateau partner of course)
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency

facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & exclusive luxury hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Silversea | Le Champagne Review

My friends and I have been onboard Silversea’s Silver Shadow for just over a week and were finally able to dine at their Relais & Chateau restaurant, Le Champagne. This is a very coveted reservation as there are only 7 tables. Relais & Chateau of course is the highly respected French association of small luxury hotels and fine restaurants.

As connected as I like to think I am in the cruise industry we had to wait until we were onboard to book, but that wasn’t a problem due the extremely efficient and delightful restaurant manager Valentina. She’s the best of the top staff we’ve met.

This week the overall cuisine on the ship has been good and consistent. Only the fish broth the first night warranted a couple of strange expressions from my table mates, but fortunately that experience hasn’t repeated*.  The food in the main dining room isn’t particularly imaginative (based on my San Francisco standards) but certainly enjoyable, tasty and I’d still say gourmet.  My bigger concern has been with the service levels which are I’d say basic 40% of the time, good 40%, and excellent 20%.

The cuisine at Le Champagne did not disappoint. Starting off with 4 excellent mini “amuse bouches” from a mushroom soup to seared scallop to lobster to pate de fois gras cone, the tone was set for a special dining experience. I won’t go into all the details of the menu here, but each course was artfully prepared and paired with a good decent wine. Should the diner wish to arrange a premium wine pairing, this needs to be arranged in advance with the restaurant manager and I understand costs $300. My venison was a large portion served with a raspberry coulis and dessert was a Grand Marnier souffle which was excellent. An Illy Cafe Americano followed which was perfect and which is fortunately available throughout the ship.

The small dining room is adjacent to the much larger La Terrazza, the evening “specialty” Italian restaurant which is reviewed here (following soon.)

Service in Le Champagne however was not in line with the quality of the food, and was no better than in the main restaurant, distracting from the full sensory appreciation of the evening.

Afterwards we retired to The Bar (Deck 5) for a fabulous Espresso Martini. Not sure who invented this but it’s killer.

Good Night!

* This is in comparison to my earlier Silversea experience on the Silver Cloud in the Caribbean a few years ago where I found the food quality to be inconsistent. (Silver Cloud review from 2011 here.) But service and food can vary a fair bit within the same cruise line and from cruise to cruise and ship to ship.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Relais & Châteaux | Cookbooks, 85 Inspirational Chefs and Chefs at Home

a culinary idea from

josh friedman luxury travel at casto
in san francisco’s financial district
415.248.5079 | joshfriedmantravel.com
a virtuoso member agency
[sign up for exclusive offers]

jpeg
jpeg
Bring all the favorite Relais & Châteaux Chefs of North America into your own kitchen! Explore an exciting gastronomic world, filled with unique and intriguing recipes. Purchase individually or as a complete set. Call 877-334-6464 to purchase the cook books today!
Maison des Relais & Châteaux, 10 E 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022Get more information by visiting our site www.relaischateaux.com

track.php?msgid=435972&act=J12G&r=51151395&c=518550