La Aguada Polo Clinic & Resort
The Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires joined up with seven other luxury hotels in the city and outlying pampas to create The Polo Collection. The group’s new website packages the hotels with a variety of experiences among the vaunted wine country and many polo horse farms. This is long overdue. While Argentine wine tourism around Mendoza has grown into a world class industry, there’s surprisingly never been a well-developed infrastructure to capitalize on the western hemisphere’s most predominant polo culture.
Joining the Park Hyatt, the collection consists of La Aguada Polo Clinic & Resort, Algodón Mansion, Tupungato Winelands, Entre Cielos, Arelauquen, Grace Cafayate and Cuatro Soles Lodge. By joining together, the eight hotels can share their networks combining all of the golf, spa, food, shopping, wine and polo experiences. Park Hyatt Buenos Aires makes an excellent base camp because of its location, and it also offers a selection of insider experiences like a wine tasting at the atelier of a local silver artisan.
“Even though polo is a world-class sport in Argentina it’s not really oriented to tourism; it’s much more a close secret for fans and people who buy horses and that kind of thing,” says Claudio Oliveira, director of The Polo Collection. “So there’s a small niche for people who like polo or want to learn more about polo. We created this travel product to make it easier for luxury travelers and corporate groups to try a different, novel experience. It’s really for those people who are looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences—completely new experiences. You know, one year you ride an elephant in India. The next year you play polo in Argentina.”
Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
The 165-room Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is a quiet Tudor Revival mansion built in 1890 located in the posh Recoleta district of Buenos Aires, which you might walk by without noticing if you weren’t intent on finding. It’s not that the historic home isn’t as imposing as it is impressive, but the 165-room hotel is surrounded by an equally dramatic cityscape replicated after Baron Haussmann’s Paris and the chateaux of the Loire.
Park Hyatt Buenos Aires makes an excellent base camp because of its location, and it also offers a selection of insider experiences like a wine tasting at the atelier of a local silver artisan. To enter the hotel, you walk past the iron gates up a wide set of stairs leading into a spectacular lobby. It has a pale minimalist palette punctuated with a compass rose in the marble floor, a lone chandelier and two sleek sofas providing a modern foil to the neoclassical columns. From there, you pass by the chi-chi Piano Nobile Salones restaurant into The Oak Bar. Don’t ever go to Buenos Aires without stopping at The Oak Bar. To begin, I love the 24-page cocktail/spirits menu that so eloquently provides a sense of history and place:
The panels of the “Oak Bar” are made of European oak, and were specially carved in the XVII century to decorate a castle in Normandy, France. When the last owner of the castle died, his widow sold some valuables to Mr. Luis Duhau, who bought the panels and brought them to his Palace in Argentina. The oak panels feature an extensive variety of carved designs, mixed styles and ages: Flamboyant mouldings, lilys, Elizabethan period medallions and recurrent images of medieval beliefs like Saint George and the dragon, images of animals playing musical instruments like a cat playing the harp, a talking dog, a goose playing the violin or a stork with a ute.
And that’s not even the best part. The Oak Bar and Piano Nobile Salones open out to a 2nd-floor terrace overlooking the prettiest hotel courtyard, garden and stepped lawn imaginable. In this busy, throbbing metropolis with so much machismo swagger, the serene courtyard stretches a full city block and provides a welcome respite from the din outside. Definitely try the South East Caipirinha consisting of rum, sugar and Patagonian berries.
LA AGUADA POLO CLINIC & RESORT
Before or after a stay at Park Hyatt, the 750-acre La Aguada Polo Clinic & Resort is one of the premier training grounds for the world’s most celebrated tournament, the Argentine Polo Open. About 40 miles outside Buenos Aires, La Aguada takes guests behind the scenes to learn about the finer points of the game and the breeding of over 250 horses.
For the most intensive polo experience, check out the 4-day Polo Essentials package including all-inclusive accommodations and:
- Theory lessons for playing professional polo, horse care and training
- Professional polo practices, including time with professional players
- Practical lessons on horsemanship and how to ride polo horses correctly
- Demonstrations and practice of the principal polo swings with hand mallets
- Stick and ball with the Polo Clinic’s horses
- Horse riding through La Aguada’s lands and surrounding countryside
For a complete list of experiences, here is a link to the Luxury Programs offered by The Polo Collection.