The northern Argentina city of Salta isn’t as popular as some other cities in that country, but it’s a gateway to a beautiful region of spectacular desert scenery, salt lakes, canyons, and wineries. If you want a pampered stay in the capital of the province, however, you’ll find that two of the best hotels are not in the historic center itself, but on the outskirts.
These two hacienda hotels offer a stronger sense of place and a more refined level of service than at any of the city center hotels—and with better food than most of them too. Check these lodging options out before you book anything.
House of Jasmines
The full name of this hotel is House of Jasmines Estancia de Charme, and if you really want to make it a mouthful, you can add “a Relais & Chateaux property.” It was more of an estancia back in the days when the actor Robert Duvall owned it and he had his own horse stable on the property. He and his Hollywood buds could be seen riding around the area when he was in town. His Argentine sister-in-law did much of the decorating and when the new owners took over—experienced hoteliers who have other properties in Argentina, Brazil, and Europe—they left much of the original well-done design in place.
House of Jasmines has improved and expanded over the years and now it’s the clear winner in Salta. It has a heated swimming pool and 40 acres of land to roam. There’s a large dining area with lots of natural light, a huge fireplace in the center, and an outdoor dining terrace. Naturally you’ll find plenty of good wine available in this country overflowing with it and when I was there I took one of their regular empanada making classes with the chef. (His looked better than mine, but they both tasted great.) The Relais and Chateaux membership is an extra assurance that you’re going to eat well.
This is a farm house turned hotel, so room layouts and sizes vary substantially. The ones in the original building have a lot of character and all come with a good array of amenities, including bathrobes and custom toiletries. The downstairs rooms have a furnished terrace, while the two on the upper floor share a large furnished roof terrace with a view. Fast wireless Internet access is available throughout and there are plenty of intimate sitting areas around the property for sitting with a tablet or reading a book.
Two stand–alone buildings in matching adobe style offer several suite options. There are three junior suites with a sitting room and terrace in one building. Then the other can be rented out in full as a two-bedroom chalet or can be split to rent as a one-bedroom suite. Rooms in the main buildings don’t have TVs, in order to keep the place quiet at night, but the suites in separate buildings do.
Staffers are attentive, multi-lingual, and ready to serve if you want to book any kind of tour or city excursion. Or you can just stay put and wander the grounds, maybe spotting owls and chacalaca birds on the trail to the river. There’s also a full spa on site if you want a massage treatment.
Rates generally fall into the range of $200 to $450 depending on season and room choice, including a buffet breakfast and parking if you have a car. See a detailed review of House of Jasmines here, visit their website, or check rates online at Hotels.com.
This property, pictured at the top, is a neighbor of House of Jasmines, but that’s a relative term out here by the foothills of the Andes. Finca Valentina is similar in the sense that it was a farm, a finca, that eventually grew into a lodging property with the addition of several buildings.
This countryside inn is owned by the same Italian family that runs Socompa Tours, so many of the guests are travelers getting ready to head out on some epic adventure for days in the deserts of northern Argentina. This is their place to have a little luxury before they go or to rest up afterwards.
Finca Valentina is a collection of small buildings, with the main original farmhouse containing the dining room, kitchen, lounge areas, and several rooms. Just outside is a swimming pool. The interior is decorated with a wealth of local rugs, textiles, and folk art, providing a real sense of place.
Meals are worth looking forward to here, whether a barbecue or a farm-to-table dinner prepared with ingredients from the region and a good bottle of Argentine wine. Lots of fresh-baked goodies and local jams are laid out at breakfast time with eggs to order.
Most of the rooms in the main building are cozy B&B rooms with a queen bed or two twins, though there is one full suite with a terrace on the first floor. Those in the separate buildings scattered around the property were built later for lodging purposes and are more like junior suites with an outdoor sitting area. There’s one family room option that’s its own casita.
Non-refundable rates start below $100 at Hotels.com, but are $140 to $220 including breakfast (but not 21% taxes) if you want to be able to cancel. If you’re booking a tour with Socompa, a stay here may be folded into the total tour price. See the hotel website or check availability online here.
Article by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at both properties while researching Salta adventure articles for other publications.