Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Estancia la Bamba de Areco

Rates from (ex tax)$487.60

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD590.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

South American country luxe

Setting

Polo on the pampas

Welcome to the Hotel Argentina: you can horse ride any time you like, and you may never want to leave. Estancia la Bamba de Areco's sprawling ranch grounds, first-class equestian heritage, and history-meets-style luxury are the sort of stuff South-American-adventure dreams are made of… throw in an inviting swimming pool, elaborate barbecue luncheons and a squad of staffers dressed like gauchos, and checking out starts to sound like a bit of a nightmare.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of champagne in your room; GoldSmith members also get a guided tour of San Antonio de Areco

Facilities

Photos Estancia la Bamba de Areco facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Eleven, including one suite.

Check–Out

10am, but flexible, subject to availability (late check-out to 3pm will be charged at 50 per cent of an additional night). Earliest check-in, 11.30am.

Rates

Double rooms from $487.60, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD590.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include all meals and all soft drinks, beer and wine.

Also

Ride the estancia’s resident horses whenever you like – just let the staff know and they’ll set up your saddles.

At the hotel

Free WiFi in common areas, treatment rooms, Pilates/yoga/fitness classes by arrangement. In rooms: power adaptor, hair dryer.

Our favourite rooms

Each named for a champion horse, all rooms have historic and local touches combined with sleekly updated style. Check-in to the Cottage Suite, in its own separate building, for ultimate seclusion.

Poolside

Take a dip in the outdoor pool, surrounded by loungers and shaded by umbrellas and 100-year-old trees – the unheated water’s refreshing in the hot Argentine sun.

Spa

Book in advance for your hot stone massages, facials and beauty treats in the hotel’s small treatment room.

Packing tips

Bring your riding boots.

Also

All guest rooms and common areas are on the ground floor, although the rural location isn’t ideal for wheelchairs.

Children

Over-12s are accepted, but not particularly catered to – this is more of a grown-up stay.

Food and Drink

Photos Estancia la Bamba de Areco food and drink

Top Table

Grab a spot outdoors – watch the sun go down by the pool as you dine, perhaps?

Dress Code

For lunch, come as you are – your fellow guests will probably arrive fresh from a ride across the grounds. Dress up for dinner – nothing high fashion's expected, but country-house finery will see you fit right in.

Hotel restaurant

The dining room feels very much more like your Argentine millionaire friend's home than a hotel. Guests eat together at the antique dining table (or privately elsewhere on the estate if you prefer) and the traditional asado, or barbecue, is at the heart of your estancia experience: expect elaborate lunches of salads sweetbreads, chorizos, and various  cuts of beef grilled to perfection. All meals are included in your room rate, so dig in.

Hotel bar

There’s no bar as such, but wine is served with every meal (and included in your room rate) and cocktails are available pre dinner and on request. And between meals, feel free to pour yourself a little something (although there'll usually be an eager staffer standing by to aid you).

Last orders

You’ll breakfast from 8.30am to 10am; lunch is served at 1.30pm and tea at 5 pm. Sip your pre-dinner cocktails at 8.15pm, and then sit down to dinner at 8.30pm or 9.00pm.

Location

Photos Estancia la Bamba de Areco location
Address
Estancia la Bamba de Areco
RP31 km 7,5
San Antonio de Areco
2760
San Antonio de Areco
Argentina

Planes

Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) is about an hour’s drive away; it’s Argentina’s busiest airport and has regular flights from all over the globe.

Automobiles

If you’ve rented a car to explore the rural expanses of the province, you’ll find free parking on site.

Other

Taking the chopper? Touch down on the estancia’s polo fields.

Worth getting out of bed for

With an entire ranch at your disposal – and a pleasingly middle-of-nowhere setting beyond – Estancia la Bamba de Areco is very much a place to stay put. Ride the resident equine beauties whenever you fancy, or trek out on hikes and bike rides as long or as lazy as you like. There's also plentiful fly fishing and bird watching to be done, and if you're lucky there'll be an equestrian show or polo match to take in: an international polo team calls the estancia home.

If you must venture beyond the grounds, hotel staff can arrange tours of the small town of San Antonio de Areco nearby, home to the Ricardo Güiraldes Gaucho Museum and a handful of traditional artisans to visit.

Reviews

Photos Estancia la Bamba de Areco reviews
Rebecca Tay

Anonymous review

If Buenos Aires is a bit like Paris or Barcelona (blue skies, beautiful, and rather familiar), the Argentine Pampas – ’plains’, in English – are unlike anything Mr Smith or I have ever experienced before. We surmised they might resemble the Cotswolds, but drier? Or maybe the Canadian prairies? Or even Napa Valley – Argentina is famed for its Malbec, after all…

Geographic ignorance aside, what we find are big, open skies; lush, fertile grassland (lots of it); and cowboys. This, apparently, is where all the cowboys have gone. And we’re not talking rough-and-tumble, Spaghetti Western dudes either – these are cowboys with class. Here, they’re called gauchos and at luxury hotel Estancia la Bamba de Areco, they rule the land. Their presence is everywhere.

On arriving at the ranch’s brick-red gate, a gaucho in traditional dress canters toward us on the handsomest horse I’ve ever seen, leading our car down a tree-lined lane towards a welcoming committee. No joke: ‘Look, look! exclaims Mr Smith, ‘they’re all waiting for us!’ Sure enough, eight staff in matching chinos and crisp white shirts stand in a row, waiting to receive us, some holding tightly rolled wet face towels to wipe our brows, others holding glasses of cold water. Some are just there to say hello. Our hire car is unpacked and whisked off site: the seven-kilometre dirt road to the property, we’re told, turns quickly to deep, sticky mud when it rains – and the rain, they say, is coming (it doesn’t). ‘Anyway,’ they reassure us, ‘you won’t need your car while you’re here!’

And they‘re right. La Bamba has just 11 rooms, set on a massive estate that includes two of Argentina’s best polo fields. There’s also a glorious pool, state-of-the-art stables for the championship ponies, staff accommodation and farmland as far as the eye can see. It’s as if the whole of the Argentine countryside belongs to La Bamba. Or it feels that way, anyway.

But back to the gauchos. We arrive just after lunch: a ‘light snack’ of traditional barbecued steak, ribs, chicken, chorizo and sausages, plus salads. Then, we’re treated to a horse show. We’re not sure what to expect. Will the gaucho sing? Dance with his horse? Will jumping be involved? Settled into a semi-circle on stretched-out loungers, the manager, Maria, asks us to stay quiet – ‘so the gaucho and his horse can concentrate together,’ she says – and then the show begins. It’s incredible: a mesmerising, horse-whispering show demonstrating the bond between horse and rider. At times, it’s sensual (for instance, when the gaucho coaxes his horse into a lying position, then slips between its front legs into a spooning position of sorts); at others, it’s simply breathtaking – like when the gaucho runs forward and leapfrogs into a standing position on the horse’s back.

Sufficiently impressed, we’re shown to our room. Each suite is named after a polo pony; ours is Gato, or ‘cat’ in Spanish. Like a Siamese, it’s sophisticated and elegant, just a touch aloof: dark-wooden floors, antique colonial furniture, modern South American art. It’s beautiful, and we feel right at home, even though we’re acutely aware that it’s about 25 degrees warmer than London.

Another big difference from home: no TV or phone in our room. This, of course, is a conscious decision, as is the fact that the WiFi access is restricted to the entertainment room and a few other areas on the property. Mobile phone coverage this far out in the plains is also patchy; after a few hours (with true withdrawal symptoms, let’s be honest) we embrace digital detox.

Unencumbered by emails and Instagram, Mr Smith and I become new people. We seek out the other guests – real human beings! – rather than those in our screens. We play backgammon in the library. I actually read the words in the coffee-table books I pick up. We go on a horseback ride led by the gaucho and play fetch with the resident retrievers. We snack on medialunas – sweet, local croissants – at afternoon tea. We watch the parrots nesting in the trees and compare notes on what we see through our binoculars. And we laze by the pool, drinking Argentine beer and snacking on empanadas and fresh fruit. The teenage siblings we spy sulking around the grounds are obviously at their wits’ end, but we couldn’t be happier.

Real, live human interaction is again encouraged at dinner, which is a communal, three-course affair preceded by apéritifs in the lounge. It’s unconventional, perhaps, but most guests seem to come to La Bamba for two nights or so, which means we’re treated to new dinner companions throughout our stay. A cheeky duo from Coventry; a warm, lovely couple from Manhattan; a retired OBE and his wife on a mission to prove wrong their adult children’s accusations of being ‘boring’ – it’s a lively, well-travelled group; Mr Smith and I regale them with our own travel tales as we indulge in the best fillet steak I’ve ever tasted, followed by crêpes bursting with dulce de leche. And, like youngsters on a gap-year holiday, we exchange email addresses with everyone, vow to return (next time during the polo season, so we can watch a proper match) and promise to stay in touch – and we have. Because that’s the thing about La Bamba: its spirit stays with you.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Estancia la Bamba de Areco’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Absolutely everything. This place is heaven on earth and it was an experience that will stay with me as long as I'm on this planet.

Don’t expect

TV's and music in rooms, just peace and quiet and wonderful food and service.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Feb 2017

We loved

We loved our room, the staff and the food. The entire property was well kept and beautiful. There was never a moment where the staff left us unattended. We jumped in the pool while everyone else was watching polo practice and 5 minutes later a wonderful staffer named Gaston greeted us with coffee, wine and a smile. I felt over-cared for and it felt very great :) Food was plentiful and delicious.

Don’t expect

...to venture off the property. Everything you need is onsite. Don't expect to have alone time. You eat all of your meals together and activities are usually planned alongside the other hotel guests. So cross your fingers that you like them. We had a mixed bunch of recently retired couples alongside some young, "hip" couples. Everyone came from a different country and seemed to be up for an adventure.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Nov 2016

We loved

The beautiful countryside setting just 2 hours' drive from Buenos Aires. It was possible to just laze around in the gardens and by the swimming pool, but there was also twice daily horse riding, carriage riding, and mountains bikes for those wanting activity.

Don’t expect

...All the meals are taken communally at large tables so this would not suit people who prefer to dine just on their own.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Nov 2016

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