The origin of the Palacio Duhau dates back to the 1920s, when the Duhau family bought the Avenida Alvear property and built the early 1930s Neoclassical palace that remains today. The Hyatt Hotels Corporation bought the property in the early 2000s and added the tower portion of the hotel facing Posadas street in 2006. The palace and the tower are connected by a terraced interior courtyard, as well as underground via an art gallery.
The Park Hyatt kept the original charm of the Palace–including the marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and intricate carved moldings and doors–yet modernized and updated the space with all the trappings of a modern-day, 5-star hotel. The rooms and suites in the Palace similarly have a blend of old world charm and modern conveniences. The Palace is also home to the spa and fitness center, most of the dining areas, a pâtisserie filled with French macarons and other treats from the hotel’s pastry chef, a flower boutique, and a tailor. Doormen wait at the Avenida Alvear entrance to assist you through the Palace doors.
The Park Hyatt property spans the length of the block, so it has separate entrances on either side. The Posadas street entrance to the Tower side of the hotel is a totally different experience than the Palace side–other than, of course, the extremely professional and generous hospitality. Doormen (and women) also await guests at the Tower lobby, which is minimal and modern, with contemporary art and furniture adding interest to the space. The rooms and suites in the 17-story Tower are also more contemporary than their Palace counterparts, though equally well-equipped. As was the case at reception desks on both sides of the hotel, the staff spoke very good English. Every door person, clerk, and concierge we dealt with was courteous, professional, and very sharp. More than once, a staff person greeted us by name and asked how our previous dinners were (also by name). They carried our luggage, hailed cabs for us, and gave great recommendations, as you would expect from a hotel of this caliber.
The affluent Recoleta neighborhood that the Palacio Duhau calls home is lined with beautiful buildings, many built in European styles of architecture. In the mix of historic and contemporary buildings, you’ll find luxury hotels and residences, government buildings, luxury retail stores, and foreign embassies. Immediately adjacent to the hotel are two beautiful and fascinating properties: the Vatican Embassy on one side and one of few remaining privately owned mansions, the Maguire Residence, on the other. (From what I understand, the Maguires are related to the Duhau family that built the Palacio Duhau, but don’t quote me). The neighborhood feels very safe, but we were also impressed with the level of security offered by the Palacio Duhau. During our stay, President Obama (!!) spoke at an event in the hotel, and we think that the band members of U2 stayed there as well. In each case, the hotel handled the paparazzi, fans, and general security with grace and ease that did not disrupt our experience. Extra touches, like the staff writing down the license number of each taxi we took–in case of an issue or lost item–were certainly appreciated.
Couples, families, business travelers, privacy
How to get there:
Most international flights route through Ezezia International Airport (EZE). There are nonstop flights from several US cities, including Atlanta (ATL), New York (JFK & EWR), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), and Miami (MIA). There is also a smaller regional airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport (AEP) that mostly serves domestic flights and shorter flights within South America.
A taxi from airport is around $40-$50 and takes about 45 minutes to the city center, depending on traffic (though it can take much longer, as we found out on our way back!). Only take official taxis that you can prepay online or purchase fare within the airport. Either way, make sure you confirm the rate–including the tolls–before you get underway. There is also a bus line that runs to and from the airport if you prefer a less expensive public transportation option.
Best time to go:
Spring (September-November) and fall (March-May) are very temperate weather-wise and the city is less crowded than during the summer (December-February) high season. The weather in early October during our visit was ideal–cool mornings and nights (mid 50s), highs around 70°F, and lots of sunshine. In November, purple Jacaranda trees bloom all over the city!
We stayed in a Park Deluxe King room on the top floor of the Tower, overlooking the grounds of the Vatican embassy and the surrounding neighborhood. The contemporary furniture–including a king bed, work desk, armchair, and dresser with flat screen tv–fit well with the chic styling of our spacious room. The bathroom featured a separate soaking tub and rainfall shower, a water closet with bidet, a well-lit vanity, and a walk-through closet with safe, luggage rack, and ample hanging and drawer space. I was especially pleased to find bath salts and a natural loofah by the tub. The room featured a thoughtful lighting/electrical system, which included a master light switch by the door, a bathroom nightlight button by the bed, and my favorite (!), the remote control window drapes. A floor length mirror in the bedroom rolled back to reveal a coffee and tea station with complimentary bottles of water (refreshed daily) and a fully-stocked minibar. The desk area had international plug configurations, and the hotel staff offered additional converters upon showing us to our room. The room had everything we needed, plus a few special touches, like a jar of dulce de leche candies and a vase with a fresh flower.
The biggest difference I’ve noticed with the quality of hotels is the thoroughness of the housekeeping. At the Palacio Duhau, we had excellent service from the housekeeping team! In addition to generally cleaning the room well, they put our shoes in the closets and folded clothes left on the floor into tidy stacks. At turndown, they set out nighttime tea with mugs by the kettle, closed the drapes, and left slippers by our bedsides. They also offered a complimentary clothes pressing and shoe shine service. These small details truly contributed to a more luxurious stay.
Gioia Restaurante & Terrazas – Bright and contemporary restaurant space on the Tower side offering breakfast (buffet and a la carte), lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner. Lots of outdoor seating on the courtyard terrace.
Los Salones del Piano Nobile – Beautiful Palace rooms facing the courtyard serving breakfast, snacks, and afternoon tea. Patio seating available in the lush courtyard.
The Oak Bar – Ornate bar lined with 17th century carved oak panels serving snacks and an extensive drink menu, including modern and classic cocktails, liquor with a special emphasis on whiskey, wine, tea, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages. The bar space is adjacent to the Piano Nobile salons and shares the terrace.
Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca – Upscale Argentine steakhouse, wine cellar, and cheese room in the Palace. Focus on wood-grilled Argentine meat and Argentine wine. Open for dinner with indoor and terrace seating.
Duhau Pâtisserie – Small dessert shop in the Palace with French pastries like macarons, chocolate truffles, and cakes, as well as Argentine specialties like alfajores. Many of the desserts served at afternoon tea are available here if you want another!
The hotel also offers in-room dining.
Downstairs in the Palace (or through the art gallery from the Tower) you’ll find the hotel’s spa and fitness center. The spa facilities include treatment rooms bookable for massages or other body treatments, as well as locker rooms with showers, saunas, and jacuzzis open to all hotel guests. The 24 hour fitness center has cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, mats, and plenty of towels and chilled water. The spa area also has a 25-meter indoor pool with towels, kick boards, foam noodles, and a number of lounge chairs for relaxing.
If lack of activity (aka relaxing!) is what you crave, it is best done on one of the beautiful terraces in the peaceful garden courtyard at the hotel. Pair it with a glass of Argentine malbec and a cheese selection–or a cup of tea with pastries–and lounge under the giant rubber tree shading the lush space.
The hotel keeps a rotating collection of contemporary art in the downstairs gallery that connects the two buildings. It’s more than just a passageway, so take a few minutes to appreciate the works hung in this space.
If you want to get off of the property, the famed (and extremely interesting!) Recoleta Cemetery is just three blocks down Avenida Alvear. Plaza Francia, that’s adjacent to the cemetery, hosts an artisans craft fair every Saturday and Sunday. Avenida Callao, another beautiful avenue to stroll down and admire, runs just a block west of the hotel.
Points + credit cards:
The Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is part of the Hyatt chain and is therefore bookable with World of Hyatt points. One night costs 20,000 World of Hyatt points, or you can select the Points + Cash option for 10,000 points + $125/night. We chose the Points + Cash option because it was great value for the rooms ($500/night during our stay) and saved Hyatt points for another adventure! You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt points at a 1:1 ratio.
Why I love it:
It’s hard not to love a palace built in the 1930s, especially one that’s been meticulously restored and modernized. The Palace side of the hotel boasted crystal chandeliers, intricately carved wooden doors, and historic details. The Tower side was sleek, contemporary, and posh in a totally different way. The rooms were spacious and contemporary with lots of luxurious features, like bath salts, fresh flowers and electronic shades (my favorite!). The lush interior courtyard was such a pleasant place to spend time on multiple occasions–for breakfast, afternoon tea, and a glass of wine.
The Recoleta neighborhood was beautiful, clean, and safe. We loved looking at the nearby buildings and speculating about their histories (plus peeking into the Vatican Embassy property from our window). One of our favorite sights in the city was the maze of ornate mausoleums at the Recoleta Cemetery, which sat just three blocks down Avenida Alvear from the hotel.
We dreamed of visiting this hotel for years, and it undoubtedly exceeded our high expectations. We hope to visit again, and wholeheartedly recommend this beautiful Park Hyatt property!
We traveled as a couple in October 2017.