Friday, October 22, 2010

Bienvenido a Buenos Aires

Thank goodness this is a cyber Weekend Retreat. It means that getting on a plane to travel to our destination, my clagged sinuses & rattly chest will magically disappear in an instant! I have had itchy tango toes all week, so the beautiful city of Buenos Aires is the only place that will satisfy that itch. I've decided to throw caution to the wind & go totally Over-The-Top, so have chosen the spectacular Philippe Starck-designed Faena Hotel + Universe on the Puerto Madero Este waterfront as our base.

Transformed from an abandoned c.1902 grain silo by Argentinian legend Alan Faena, the Faena offers its guests a very different experience. For starters, when your roll on up to the side entrance (there is no front door), you’ll be greeted by friendly men in black who will make your bags disappear and hand you your own personal cell phone. Then don't expect the traditional lobby check-in - there isn't one. You'll wander into an opulent red hallway, with red rugs topped by rectangular leather banquettes in the middle. Plonk yourself down on these & you'll be greeted by your own Experience Manager who takes care of everything from that point on, with in–room check–in and a phone number you reach them on directly throughout your stay.

It's said that the Faena is a constant stage set waiting for performers (Coldplay, Madonna et. al) & other A-listers & is the most decadent, sumptuous, sexy hotel in Buenos Aires. And as we are all stars of the Blogging world we'll feel right at home here. Your rooms are as opulent as you would expect - think white leather, polished wood, marble floors, crystal chandies, red velvet chaises, gold leaf. Then there's the diagonally placed bed - all very avant-garde & uber-cool.

Love this all-marble bathroom!

And your room has it's own private terrace looking out across the city. Once you've freshened up, do make your way up to the roof-top terrace.

Past the gorgeous swimming pool - yes it's all red, very red.

Let's have nibbles & drinks while getting to know each other again while comparing rooms & enjoying the balmy evening air.

Then it's down to the El Mercado bistro. The perfect Bloggers table has been set up for us. After a wonderful meal & lots of great chat, it's back to our rooms to enjoy all that rococco sumptuousness. Sleep tight.

As you all know, no weight is ever gained on our cyber weekends, so let's start off our Saturday here at Un Altra Volta.

For a big bowl of their famous Dulche de Leche. We'll need to keep our blood sugar levels up, as we've got a big day of tango ahead of us.

Hot coffee by the bucket loads please.

Then it's off to begin our tango journey. This is the Centro Cultural Borges, which is actually a museum & cultural centre. Our school can be very hard to find, as there are some stairs we have to go up. I've been told we should ask the security officer here where the Escuela Argentina de Tango school is, he'll get us there.

Here we are, up on the top level, with glass windows looking out across Buenos Aires.

The dance is one of the most important expressions of the tango and the visual beauty illustrates the spirit of the music. A foot moves in every musical note, meaning that if a foot moves in one note, in the following note the other one should, too - similar to walking.

The faculty of the Escuela Argentina de Tango are all local and internationally recognized for their high artistic level and their clear commitment to teaching tango. Don't worry though, our cyber experience means that your perfect dance partner will magically appear & we won't have to pair up with each other!

Our teachers Nora Robles & Pedro Calveyra have assured me that we will all be natural stars of their most prestigious class, the Master V Tango Programme.

After an energetic day of excelling at our Tango class, I've chosen the trendy Aramburo restaurant in the San Telmo district for a relaxing dinner. Owner Gonzalo Aramburu has worked with Charlie Trotter & Joel Rubuchon, so the food will be outstanding.

Then it's off to the La Esquina Carlos Gardel for a night of spectacular tango dancing.

For the performance, we sit at tables below a large two-level stage. Dancers perform on the lower level, while above them a full tango orchestra plays. The show includes many local varieties of tango and celebrates the long, complex history of the genre. The ambience and the high quality of the dancing makes La Esquina de Carlos Gardel one of the most recommended and memorable tango shows in the city.

After the show, you are welcome to find a Milongas tango venue & make a night of it. Confiteria Idéal Suipacha, Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteňo y Bailarin all come well recommended. However do remember the first rule of tango - Tango Eyes.
If you don't want to dance be careful of the eye contact you make. Here at the Milongas's, you will not see men physically getting up to ask a woman to dance. He will get her attention with his eyes, nod or make a 'lets go' move with his head. If she accepts she will nod and smile, and they will both meet on the dance floor. (Note to self: must suggest that move to MOTH when I get home!) See you back at the Faena for a nightcap in the Library Lounge.

Sunday sees a couple of options. Another full day at Escuela Argentina de Tango, or a walking tour around the city. You will visit:
  • Plaza de Mayo, the main square where the city of Buenos Aires was first successfully founded. It grew outwards from Avenida de Mayo, the grand boulevard of Buenos Aires with its many remarkable buildings & architectural features.
  • Avenida 9 de Julio the widest avenue in the world, home to the famous Buenos Aires Obelisk monument.
  • Plaza Congreso, where the magnificently imposing Congress building can be seen.
    The Buenos Aires Cathedral, a fantastic work of religious architecture & is the last resting place of Argentina’s independence hero, General San Martin.
  • The Pink House (Casa Rosada) where the President and executive government conduct their daily business. Evita and President Juan Domingo Peron famously gave speeches from its balcony.
  • Cafe Tortoni, the cafe in a city of cafes, which also happens to be the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, founded in 1858 with much of its wonderful original interior still intact.
    Hear the fantastic history and symbolism of the Palacio Barolo building, a tribute to Dante’s Divine Comedy & once the tallest building in South America.
  • Take a short ride on Buenos Aires Subway Line A, the oldest subway in the southern hemisphere, with its original 1913 wooden carriages.
So after a fabulous day, it's time to say farewell to our host city of Buenos Aires. A city of many small places, intimate details & treasure-filled antique shops. Modern glass skyscrapers overlooking old 19th century Victorian houses. Individual districts mixing French colonial classicism with Spanish barrio architecture. See you at our next cyber Weekend Retreat.
Adiós a Buenos Aires!



  1. We are booked first class for the flight of course..A380?

  2. Oh Millie, you are such a wonderful tour director.

    I have visited some of these wonderful places a long, long time ago, your post has touched a nerve and I would so love to return to this most romantic of cities.

    Thank you for all that you have conjured up for our cyber-weekend, I'm searching for the perfect tango shoes as I type...

    Besos, Felicity

  3. I have the same stuffy sinuses and rattly chest. I am sure they will evaporate upon departure to stunning good health.

    See you on the dance floor!

  4. WOW, what a fabulous place Buenos Aires looks..... and, the dancing and have to be pretty bendy to accomplish some of those moves !!!!
    ..... and, wait a minute...that looks remarkably like MOTH holding the lady in the blue top and trousers Mill's !!!! XXXX

  5. I don't know about you...but I am totally exhausted!!!!

  6. Wanting to go there.....badly....
    Tango your heart out this weekend Millie, just to keep in the spirit of things...xv

  7. Millie...You really know how to pick great spots for virtual weekends. I hope you are better by Monday after soaking in the sun and having fun.

  8. Yes, oh yes, I think I might possibly be able to do some of that utterly romantic dancing (if only in my dreams), after I take a dip in that delightful pool!

    Thanks for the trip Millie!

  9. Wow my kind of holiday! My best friend Katie, (Ruth's daughter) has just been there, thanks to her pilot husband and sent me a FB message whilst I was CAMPING gloating about the lush hotel and luxury she was lapping up! Not being a fan of camping at all I was a little jealous! Letitia x

  10. Count me had me at that marble bath tub! Ahhhh.. I need a few days of this! :)

    PS..thanks so much for the info on Adam Scott and the iPads! xxoo

  11. Hi Millie,

    Thanks for taking us away to such a fabulous place.
    I loved every minute of it and now I will be able to dream about this place.
    Get over the flu, and hope that you are feeling better.

    Happy week ahead

  12. well that made my weekend so much better ..... muchas gracias for the tour XX

  13. I'm exhausted!!! Now I will need a holiday from our cyber holiday... how utterly amazing this tour was. Maybe a new job for you Millie, "Tour Coordinator Extraordinaire" OR TCE...

  14. Wow, that was amazing. I really like these cyber trips. So much to learn and enjoy.Fiona


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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