In a small town on Mendoza’s wine route lies boutique hotel Finca Adalgisa, where the Furlotti-Moretti family has tended the Malbec vines for three generations. The result is a pretty, rustic stay in a restored, turn-of-the-century farmhouse. Fine diners book gourmet breaks here for tapas-themed cookery lessons, olive oil and wine tastings, and sizzling carne from the traditional asado (Argentinian barbecue). If you leave on the same belt notch as when you arrived, you’re doing something wrong…
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A daily glass of wine per person in the hotel's winery
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. The reception stays open from 7.30am to 10pm.
Double rooms from £308.91 ($372).
A buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. Guests must stay for two nights or more.
Wine isn’t the only home-grown treat here; yields from the hotel’s fruit orchards and olive groves are turned into oil and jams. Want to know more about the inner workings of the estate? Farm workers are happy to stop and chat. The hotel is part of the Viña de la Solidaridad (Vines of Solidarity) partnership. This group ensures contratistas (small-vineyard workers) are paid a fair price for their harvest, and sets up health and education initiatives in local communities.
The hotel is closed from 1 May to 30 September 2022.
At the hotel
Vineyards, a winery, open-air terrace, barbecue, library, boutique, bikes to borrow, concierge. In rooms: iPod dock, free WiFi, minibar, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
The hotel’s charm lies more in the scenic vistas seen through your room window, and in the surrounding area, but rooms in the Old House by the pool are the prettiest and most historic. Ask for the room with a terrace, so you can watch the sunset melt behind Andean summits.
Aside from the linen-threaded timber terrace and a smattering of sunloungers, the large, unheated pool is immersed in nature. Rows of vines stretch along one side, and ferns and palm trees nod sleepily nearby.
Some trusty Timberlands for mountain hikes, but leave a few wine-bottle-shaped spaces in your suitcase.
The owners have several friendly dogs who roam the property freely and socialise with guests. In-room massages can be arranged on request.
Don’t drink and parent; this is the kind of wine-and-dine break where kids should be left with a responsible adult back home.
Rubbish is sorted and separated, and most is composted. Water is used sparingly, and the hotel has biodegradable detergents and soaps. Traditional farming methods are used, such as using horses to plow the fields in lieu of machinery.
The cushioned benches on the terrace overlook luxuriant greenery. In chillier months, coveted tables are the ones closest to the fireplace.
Pristine peasant ensembles; a dash of typical Argentinian elegance will be well-received.
There’s no restaurant as such, but empanadas, cheese and meat platters, salads, soups and crudités are served at the Winery tapas bar. On selected weeknights, copious amounts of carne are liberally sizzled on the asado (traditional barbecue). Dine on the terrace, overlooking the vines or pull up a stool to the open-air communal island. Breakfast is served in the Old House, with cereals, pastries, fruit and an eggs station.
There’s no designated bar area, but guests can retire to the indoor-outdoor terrace with their Malbec: it’s a serene space with vineyard views and spill-alert white sofas. A tree grows through the floor and ceiling, so nature’s never far from view. Drinks are only served until 11pm, so stash a few bottles in your room. Wine tastings are carried out in a separate room inside the hotel.
Breakfast is laid out from 7.30am to 11am, tapas from 6pm to 11pm. Barbecues are fired up from 6pm to 11pm on some evenings.
Not available, pick up snacks on day trips out for late-night in-room dining.
Finca Adalgisa, in rural Chacras de Coria, is a 20-minute drive from Mendoza. Beyond the sprawling hotel estate, there are vintage vineyards aplenty.
Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel. Aerolineas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar) run a frequent two-hour service from Buenos Aires. Private transfers are available from US$50.
Drivers are rewarded with vineyard vistas, with a seasonally shaded Andean backdrop, and the freedom to zip to and from the hotel’s remote location at will (although staff are happy to arrange transfers). There’s an Avis booth at the airport and free parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Oenophiles follow their nose to small town Chacras de Coria, where Mendoza’s desert gets a green coat of vines, and wineries flourish in the Andean climes. Relatively under the radar along the Cuyo region’s Malbec trail, the town feels lived in and local, with jaw-dropping unspoilt scenery. At the Finca, take a tour of the estate to see the journey from grape to bottle, then ask the owners to plot a cycle route through the area’s historic vineyards. See the Lulunta Valley on horseback or visit Mendoza. A short bus ride from Plaza de Independencia, Parque General San Martín is an impressive sight, with gates wrought for a sultan, a monument-topped mountain, and the – occasionally drought-stricken, but grand nonetheless – fountains. Climb Cerro de la Gloria on a clear day, when you can admire Ejército de los Andes memorial and valley views. Pulse-quickening activities for those whose hangovers have diffused include rafting and hiking in the Andean foothills or taking on South America’s highest mountain, Aconcagua Provincial Park (beginners can tackle the hour-long Laguna de Horcones circuit instead). It’s a two-hour drive from the hotel. Alternatively, the restorative spa and hammam at Entre Cielos is a more tolerable six-minute drive away.
Be sure to stay on site when the barbecue is fired up. On other evenings, if you want something more satisfying than tapas, Mendoza has some eateries worth the taxi fare. Siete Cocinas’ minimal black-and-white decor lets the menu shine. Regional delicacies are given a global makeover in dishes such as purple-Api-dough pizza with arugula, cheese and pistachios; sweetbreads with molasses; and pacu-fillet salad. Styled like a traditional pulperia (gathering place), El Palenque’s distressed-wood tables, wine-rack-studded walls and aesthetically dusty barrels and bottles offer a glimpse into Mendoza’s past. Excellent wine is served in traditional penguin flasks (so-called for their shape), and tapas and light meals are served to a cacophony of socialising.
The world passing by petite but highly praised café Il Panino is one that begs to be observed at leisure, accompanied by a pulse-racing espresso and sugar-sprinkled croissants. Lomo sandwiches are generously stuffed here, and the daily-changing light bites menu has some tempting meat dishes.
Before we get into gauchos and wine tours and late-night cheese sessions, I must first give you the single most valuable piece of advice for a visitor to Mendoza: when you dine at vineyard-set boutique hotel Finca Adalgisa’s asado (that’s Argentine for a beef-laden barbecue), save room for the steak at the end. This is crucial. Once you’ve filled your belly with olives, bread, chorizo, blood sausage, flank and an array of other meats (yes, you’ll get about a month’s worth of protein at this meal – my fellow Smith and I dubbed it a ‘meat-a-palooza’), you’ll suffer severe ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) pangs when you’re too full to eat the best steaks, which appear at the end of the meal. You’ll curse your stomach for not stretching further and shake an angry fist at the meat gods for fooling you. Consider yourself warned…
So, now you know how to feast like an Argentine, be sure to swing by the asado during your stay at this charmingly rustic Finca – the carnivore-wooing banquet takes place in the hotel’s open-walled dining room, which overlooks 100-year-old Malbec vines. In addition to sustenance (to say the least), the communal-style meal is a great way to meet fellow travellers. The night my friend and I pulled up our chairs and loosened our belts, we befriended a couple from Miami. The conversation carried us through dinner and eventually over to the pool area for some lido-side Malbec. One thing led to another, someone introduced a cheese plate to the mix, and before we knew it 2am had rolled around and we were laughing uncontrollably as we debated which politicians throughout history we’d most like to be linked to in some sort of (alleged) sex scandal. I’m not naming names, but Ronald Reagan did come up… twice. The party ended when one of our hotel neighbours emerged from his room wearing nothing but underwear and politely asked us to keep the volume down. We obliged, said goodnight to our new-found friends, and debated the correct translation of ‘tighty whities’ in Spanish before turning in for the night.
The next morning, my friend and I woke to a massive cheese hangover that could only be cured by consuming even more cheese, naturally. Fortunately, Finca Adalgisa serves an incredible breakfast spread each morning, with not only cheese, but also warm breads, jams, fruit salad, made-to-order eggs and more. Over breakfast we agreed that it was time for some adventure, so we spoke with the hotel’s manager – the exquisite Teresa – who hooked us up with a day-long horseback tour in the Andes through a company called La Quebrada del Cóndor.
The reservation set, we then became obsessed with what we should wear to best blend in like a local. My interpretation of a gaucho – J Brand jeans, Vans sneakers and a crumpled felt fedora – was more City Slickers than spot-on, but I felt cool, regardless. Our guides, Agustin and Yanina, picked us up at the hotel and drove us for about two hours to the ranch where we’d meet our four-legged friends. On the way there, Yanina passed us a silver cup filled with what looked like a mixture of crushed sticks and rain water. My friend took a sip and immediately claimed she was high. I was skeptical and took the biggest swig I could muster to either prove how wrong she was, or how stupid I am. Fortunately for me, Yanina eventually explained that the warm beverage was simply yerba maté; and no, it’s not hallucinogenic.
That afternoon we rode from the green-grass-covered ranch to the snow-covered peaks – it’s a bit like moving from fall to winter in a matter of hours. We joked with Yanina that we were prepared to ride all the way to Chile, but she reminded us that there were warm empanadas waiting for us at the ranch, so we turned back (yes, like large gaucho babies, we could be swayed by the promise of a snack).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I have waited my entire life to use that phrase in earnest), another decadent asado had been prepared, so we hopped off our ‘hosses’ and saddled up by the grill, where we gorged ourselves with steak for a second night in a row. Yanina and Agustin then drove us back to Finca Adalgisa, where we – two tuckered-out cowgirls with a taste for Malbec – made our way to the winery room to polish off a couple glasses of red, as we recounted the day’s adventures. Later in our room, we crawled into our side-by-side beds, right next to a handsome painting of a horse, appropriately enough, and dreamed of meat, maté and pairs of men’s calzoncillos ajustados (the most-faithful translation of ‘tighty whities’ we landed on).