The Vines of Mendoza
You know those resorts that look too good to be true? The Vines Resort & Spa outside of Mendoza, Argentina is actually better than you can imagine.
Without a doubt this is the resort in Mendoza to hole up in if you're serious about wine. Perfectly positioned in the Uco Valley, this resort is part hotel, part privately owned vineyard plots. The Vines is über-modern with a state of the art winery, extravagant villas and killer Andes views.
I stayed at The Vines as part of a work trip (I know, I know) and I was completely blown away. To be clear, this is not an easy place to get to. My trip started with a ten hour flight from Denver to Buenos Aires, a two hour flight from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, and then a two hour drive through a pretty desolate tundra that started feeling like we were driving through Mars when the jet lag really set in. But after a right hand turn off of a dirt road, this resort looks like an oasis. The perfect blend of rustic elegance and modern comfort, The Vines features 22 private villas, impeccable service and breathtaking views of the Andes. Argentine celebrity chef Francis Mallmann serves up regional dishes and traditional asado feasts with only a wood fire and cast iron at restaurant, Siete Fuegos (Seven Fires). The location is near perfect too: eating lunch gazing onto the Andes makes for pretty unforgettable dining.
In the vineyard, you can harvest grapes or make your own custom wine, working side-by-side with world-renowned consultant winemaker Santiago Achával. And if this weren't enough, The Vines’ partnerships with local outfitters means great hikes and horseback rides are easily accessible—a sunrise ride up to a mountaintop with enthusiastic gaucho-guide Nino Masi is highly recommended. Concierge can also coordinate private yoga instruction and organize your fly fishing excursion on the Rio Mendoza. On-site the resort has a beautiful swimming pool, a spa to debut next year and a gym with one of the best treadmill-views I’ve seen anywhere.
But back to the villas...they are so good. Big and bold, everything screams luxury from the dreamy beds and impressive music system, to the rustic wood floors and creamy neutral colors. You could happily hole up in your villa for over a week thanks to the full modern kitchen stocked with their own Malbec blend and a cabinet full of local, curated snacks. The private patio comes with an outdoor soaking tub that overlooks the pond, vineyard and those iconic snow-capped mountains. I mean, you're in the foothills of the Andes, let's not forget that.
For travelers who just want to relax in picturesque wine country, a short flight from Buenos Aires, Patagonia and other South American attractions, the Vines is where you need to be. It's not cheap -- villas start at US$760 a night -- but it is so, so worth it.
All images not my own are courtesy of The Vines Resort & Spa.