The vineyard and winery region around Cafayate in Argentina plays second fiddle to its better-known Malbec zone to the south, but this area in the Salta province charms its visitors with a more compact town and more accessible vineyards. The best luxury hotel in the area to come back to at night is Grace Cafayate, surrounded by grape vines.
Grace Hotels is a small but growing luxury chain, with six hotels open and more on the way, but scattered across several countries on three continents. Before this one came along in Cafayate, choices were rather limited, so the owners here could have been modest with their plans and still grabbed the top spot. They weren’t though. From the impressive entrance fountain to the full spa, upscale restaurant, and large pool overlooking the vineyards, they went big in this development.
The restaurant here gets high marks at dinner, when white napkins and tablecloths join a good wine list—including house wine made from the grapes outside the doors. In the morning there’s an enticing buffet breakfast accompanied by eggs to order and a mimosa if you’re in the mood. A lounge-style bar area is between the dining room and the lobby. The sitting areas are split in two, with the reception desk in between.
Rooms are in the main building or the villas and are all spacious, with a desk, armchair, king or two beds, a dressing area, and ample bath with two showerheads. Amenities include complimentary WiFi, Bluetooth speaker, TV, bathrobe, Nespresso machine, safe, and pillow menu, with turndown service at night. All have a terrace or balcony. Color schemes are mostly shades of brown, orange, and rust, but ample windows allow views of green plants and blue sky.
It’s easy to step up the pampering or have room for family members at the Grace Cafayate. The Grace Suites have a large sitting area, larger terrace, and a whirlpool tub with a view in the bath. The Villa Master Suites have a full living room, kitchen with wine fridge, wood-burning fireplace, and a terrace with outdoor barbecue and hot tub. Two-bedroom villas are on one level or two, with the same amenities and even more room to stretch out.
This is part of a residential complex, but the houses are set well away from the hotel area. The upside of that though is that there is a golf course and Grace guests get a big discount. Staffers can set up a variety of adventures in the area, make tasting appointments, or arrange an empanada cooking class. See their bespoke service page for more.
While this property is clearly the best in the region outside of Salta city, it’s not without its flaws. Service can be erratic in this city where on-the-job training opportunities are scarce. Two in my group got quite ill from something they ate here, though I ate the same suspected item and was fine. The fine facilities and comfortable quarters make up for any downsides though, especially considering the reasonable room prices for this kind of property.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted one night at Grace Cafayate while researching a tour story for another publication. As always, all opinions are his own. Video by Luxury Latin America – Argentina.