The cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires is full of beautiful, trendy and cultured people with a hip and healthy zest for life. The city boasts an endless array of little cafés and juice bars on every corner, bistro restaurants, ‘puerta cerrada’ restaurants, boutiques and various activities. During our time we were lucky enough to be staying in the fashionable neighborhood of Palermo and our home, ‘Home Hotel’.

Where to sleep

Home Hotel – Honduras 5860 Palermo 

A chic boutique 14 bedroom hotel hidden away in the heart of Palermo Hollywood, with it’s own pool, garden and unique collection of books, art and sculptures. Firstly though, our room, a beautiful space on the third floor complete with a luxuriously comfortable bed, all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury property and a vast window overlooking the surrounding neighborhood, flooding the room with natural light. The owners Patricia and Tom are the brains behind the style and design of the property, which includes various pieces of art adorning the walls inside and out, as well as wall sculptures including two hanging robots, with an on/off switch sure to bring out the child in every man (my husband couldn’t walk past without turning them on!). The garden and pool at the back of the hotel is a secret haven from the bustling city of Buenos Aires and is also where breakfast is served. Breakfast was a true healthy delight; just avoid the pastries and dulce leche butter to keep it clean. The breakfast includes fresh fruits and juices, eggs and homemade bread, with a choice of teas, coffees and for me hot water with lemon. The hotel is a true home from home and ideal place to stay whilst exploring this amazing city.

Where to dine and juice

Fifi Almacen – Gorriti 4812 

This place is an absolute instgrammers heaven and an ideal stop for lunch whilst exploring the boutiques of Palermo. The building has a white painted wriggly tinned façade and on entering the wriggly tin theme continues to the walls. This huge light and airy open space, with high ceilings offers shelves-and-shelves full of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as Fifi’s own healthy treats to buy and take away. We met owner and chef Luciano who has a strong passion for using organic, clean and fresh ingredients. The Oslo salad was delicious and the juices even more so – try the kale, orange and carrot (don’t be put off by the colour). If you fancy treating yourself to a little tipple Luciano has sourced the best organic wines to complement his menu.

b-Blue Deli and Juice Bar – Armenia 1692 

b-Blue is the creation of partners Rodrigo and Javiar, with Johnny Walker at the helm in the kitchen. The name b-Blue comes from a play on the word blueberries and they have their own blueberry farms in the region of Esteros del Ibera in Corrientes, where b-Blue are one of the largest exporters of blueberries to Scotland and Germany. As much as we all love the good old blueberry, the deli and juice bar itself is a lovely little space in Buenos Aires, perfect for a quick juice break or lunch. Situated in a refurbished 1910 Argentine house the deli boasts light interiors and it’s own private courtyard at the centre. The perfect place for people to enjoy the outdoors and also escape the hectic city streets. Juice to try is the Berry Young, a refreshing concoction which includes their very own blueberries.

La Pastroneria – El Salvador 6026

La Pastroneria is a delightful café with simple decoration serving gluten free food. Even if you’re diet isn’t gluten free this is still a delicious place to visit whilst in Buenos Aires. In an ideal location the café serves affordable dishes complemented by good service.

Ocho Once – address revealed on booking

Ocho Once is one of Buenos Aires famed ‘Puertas Cerradas’, a relatively new concept which sees zealous and talented chefs inviting guests in to their own homes to cook for them. On our trip to Buenos Aires we decided to try Gonzalo Bazterrica’s Argentinian five course tasting menu made from organic produce and one of the only places you will find organic beef. Set in a turn of the century Buenos Aires house, on ringing the doorbell we are invited in, where we were immediately struck by the traditional furniture and interiors. Gonzalo’s menu was a delicious affair of fresh and healthy ingredients, which included watercress and pear soup, seafood, a vegetable dish and his take on the Argentinian Milanese (a much healthier take!) with grated egg yoke. I am a huge fan of coconuts so the ending was a dream of coconut ice cream, completely fresh with no sugary additives. After hours in the kitchen Gonzalo took us to the roof of the house to show us where he grows all his vegetables, in an impressive DIY hydroponic garden.

The ‘Puertas Cerradas’ is a must try dining experience in Buenos Aires and here are a few other choices if Gonzalo’s Ocho Once is too busy:

Casa Felix – South American cuisine, vegetarian/pescatarian menu

I-Latina – modern Columbian cuisine

Don Julio – Guatemala 4699 

A trip to Buenos Aires is not complete without a visit to one of their famous parillas. Protein is a very important part of any active persons diet and as we know the Argentinians are famous for their meat. Don Julio, which is arguably one of the most famous parillas to visit in the city, offers a varied choice of meat on it’s menu, all grilled to your own liking. Dishes are served with your own choice of vegetables and their in house sommelier will take you through their extensive list of Argentinian wines, which also include organic varieties. This parilla is very popular therefore it is advised to make a booking or turn up early at 7pm to get a table. Dish to try is the lean filet beef steak with grilled Portobello mushrooms.

 Get active

Tango lessons with Virginia Ravenna and Sandro Nunziata – group classes at La Catedral Sarmiento 1006.

Virginia and Sandra offer either private lessons in a traditional Argentine Dancing house (called a sausage house due to the shape) or you can take part in the group classes at La Catedral every Wednesday. This was a unique and special experience and really highlighted how hard it is to dance tango. Sandro and Virginia have over 20 years experience in teaching tango and this was evident in their skills, both as teachers and dancers. The first tango lesson will use more brain energy than it will physically however as you progress I can see from the other dancers at the house that it is great alternative exercise. If dancing isn’t your thing there are tango performances and plays on at the dance house for visitors to watch. However I highly recommend giving it a go, with good teachers such as Sandro and Virginia you may surprise yourself.

Urban Running Tours

This is a great way to explore the city. Urban Running Tours offer a number of tours or you can work with the team of experts to personalise your own running tour. Each tour is approximately 10km, although shorter tours are available on request and therefore the length will depend on the speed of the group (1 to 4 people). We enjoyed exploring San Telmo with our guide who was extremely informative on the area, a beautiful part of Buenos Aires to explore by foot.

Urban Park Bosques de Palermo – yoga, cycling, jogging and roller blading

If you have time head to the Bosques de Palermo Park, the cities largest park with lakes, forests and paths dedicated to rollerblading, jogging and cycling. The park also hosts complimentary yoga sessions, an ideal place to practice and take in the surrounding landscape.

Where to spa

The Spa at Home Hotel

For the ultimate urban spa indulgence head to The Spa at Home, where the hotel boasts it’s own oasis of calm and tranquility in the middle of the busy city. In the basement of the hotel there is a small central courtyard allowing natural light to flood the space of the communal spa area. Try the Home Massage, a Californian style massage, not the firmest massage but still very relaxing, for a harder massage opt for the Thai or deep tissue.

Last but not least the herbal tea to try… MATE

Fijians have their Cava, the people of Nepal drink Tomba, in Argentina, sure enough, you will discover Mate (Mah-Tay). A blend of Yerba mate, green finely chopped leaves which infuse the hot water providing a particularly earthy and bitter taste, served in authentic little cups with a straw. Some locals add sugar to soften the flavour, however just like coffee, this tends to offend the purists. Preparing, drinking and most importantly sharing Mate is an integral part of daily life in Argentina. It is said that Mate does have health benefits such as antioxidant properties as well as additional vitamins however most Argentinians drink it as part of tradition. Either way it is worth a try, but I have to say it is not my cup of ‘tea’…

Words by Claire Mans

Follow Claire on instagram: @clairemahowe

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