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Business Travel Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is truly one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities. It blends a Latino passion for life with a European style and sensibility. It is a city where anyone can find their niche: businessmen, artists, athletes and academics. The city is the commercial hub of Argentina and one of the world's busiest ports. Thriving industries include oil refining, textile production, metalworking and automobile manufacturing. Products such as meat, grain and tobacco are also processed and manufactured here. But this isn't a grubby old industrial city.

With its broad boulevards, stately architecture, sophisticated restaurants and sidewalk cafés, Buenos Aires is considered the "Paris of South America"—but with unbelievably low prices. You can truly enjoy a five-star experience across the board—hotels, restaurants, spas, polo, golf, tango—for less than half what it will cost you in London, New York or Tokyo. Be sure to try the amazing Argentine steaks and of course, its now world-famous wine, the Malbec red.


Facts to Know Before You Go

Currency:

The currency in Buenos Aires is the Argentine peso (ARS), which is divided into 100 centavos. The $ symbol is used to represent the peso, while U.S. dollars are indicated as U$S.

Following an economic crisis in 2001-02, the peso was released from its peg with the U.S. dollar, and has been trading around 3:1 ever since. U$S1 = $3 ARS. Most businesses in Buenos Aires accept major credit cards. Outside the city it is best to always carry cash. ATM machines are found throughout the city.

Transportation:

Airports
Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) is located 45-minutes from downtown Buenos Aires. It is recommended that you reserve a taxi or remis (hired car) rather than through independent taxi drivers. These companies have stands inside the airport. Expect to pay between U$S35-50 for a one-way trip to/from EZE airport.

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP)—known simply as "Aeroparque"—is Buenos Aires' domestic airport, and is located 15-minutes from downtown. You'll use this airport if you are traveling to popular tourist locations in Argentina, like Mendoza or Iguazu Falls.

Taxis
Taxis are black cars with yellow roofs. The minimum cab fare is $3.10 ARS. Unless you are traveling with baggage, tipping is not expected. It is best to have your hotel call you a taxi. If you are hailing one on the street, always take ones labeled "Radio Taxi," which are part of a licensed fleet and offer more security.

Information:

Newspapers
The Buenos Aires Herald is the local English language newspaper. La Nacion and Clarin are the two largest Spanish-language dailies that offer Argentine and world news. For regional business news, check out Business News Americas. For listings of the latest concerts, arts shows and hot spots, pick up a copy of Time Out Buenos Aires at local newsstands.


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Where to Stay

Alvear Palace Hotel
Avenida Alvear 1891
54-11-4808-2100
www.alvearpalace.com

Alvear Palace HotelOpened in 1932, this stately landmark has played home away from home for numerous luminaries, from Lee Iacocca to Antonio Banderas. The 110 guestrooms and 100 suites feature sumptuous European-style décor and state-of-the-art amenities like touch screen telephones. Practicality resides comfortably with luxurious touches such as Frette bed linens and Hermès de Paris toiletries. Deluxe suites, with separate living rooms and bedrooms, are perfect for business travelers who don't want to sleep in their on-the-road offices. Another draw for corporate guests is the well-equipped business center. Recreational diversions include L'Orangerie restaurant, a brand-new health club, spa and pool and rooftop garden. Located in the chic residential Recoleta district, the Alvear Palace is surrounded by good restaurants, shopping and is only ten minutes from the financial district.

Faena Hotel + Universe
Martha Salotti 445
54-11-4010-9000
www.faenahotelanduniverse.com

Faena Hotel + UniverseAmong Buenos Aires' luxury hotels, Faena Hotel + Universe departs from the typical Old World offerings with its contemporary, fiery style. We're not just talking about color: flaming combinations conceived by fashion empresario turned developer Alan Faena and the omnipresent French designer Philippe Starck. We mean attitude, too. "Experience Managers" serve as concierge, butler and personal assistant from the moment you arrive'til the time you depart; and the collection of striking onsite restaurants includes the pure white El Bistro with unicorn head statues on the walls, the rustic El Mercado inspired by the old markets of Europe and El Cabaret for a cigar and a tango show at the end of a long work day. This place isn't all show, though. Among the draws for corporate types are a business center, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and Executive Studios with plenty of office-friendly amenities, foot massage on arrival and groovy automated velvet curtains.

Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
Posadas 1086/88
54-11-4321-1200
www.fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Hotel Buenos AiresThe Four Seasons in Buenos Aires—elegant as expected—unites an early twentieth-century Belle Époque-style mansion with a contemporary tower near the residential Recoleta district. There are seven ornate and individually decorated suites in La Mansion, which has played host to U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and many other celebrities. The tower houses a variety of accommodations, including a selection of executive suites. One of the advantages of staying in the tower is the view over the mansion. Guests in Preferred rooms and suites enjoy access to The Library, a lounge with complimentary Internet access and space for you to meet with clients and colleagues. In-room business amenities include cell phones, fax machines on request, multi-line cordless phones, voicemail and high-speed wireless Internet access. Meeting spaces range from a Grand Salon for receptions to boardrooms decorated with original artwork. Le Mistral restaurant, a health club and spa provide off-hours relaxation.

Marriott Plaza Hotel Buenos Aires
Florida 1005
54-11-4318-3000
marriott.com

Marriott Plaza Hotel Buenos AiresCombining the prestige of the original Plaza hotel (opened in 1909) with the solid reputation of its current management (the Marriott group), Marriott Plaza Hotel Buenos Aires is an appealing and sometimes surprisingly sophisticated bet. The hotel was renovated in 1993, and today offers features such as Wi-Fi access in the Executive Lounge and more than 300 executive-oriented accommodations, dubbed The Room that Works. The Plaza Grill is a refined spot for business wining and dining, and the health club and attractive outdoor pool provide options for burning off steam at the end of the day. The classy chandelier-draped Fiestas Ballroom, Dorado Room and San Martin meeting room round out the hotel's comprehensive business offerings. It's conveniently located on the pedestrian-only Florida Street which offers great shopping options, perfect for finding those last-minute family gifts before you fly home.

Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau
Avenida Alvear 1661
54-11-5171-1234
www.buenosaires.park.hyatt.com

Park Hyatt Palacio DuhauWhen it opened in 2006, the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau immediately upped the ante for elegance in Buenos Aires and has smartly combined classic style and design with modern amenities and service. The hotel is comprised of two buildings: a renovated 1930s-era mansion that previously belonged to the Duhau family, and a gleaming new seventeen-story structure. An underground art gallery and a leafy garden connect the two. The rooms are decorated in rich hues of wood; marble and Argentine leather and have flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. The high-end suites also have crystal chandeliers, fireplaces and bulletproof windows, just in case. The two hotel restaurants serve delicious French-inspired Argentine cuisine. Be sure to check out the Cheese Room and the Wine Library, which has more than 3,500 bottles. The perfect spot to unwind after a long day in the boardroom is in The Oak Room, where cigars and the city's largest whiskey list await in a space decorated in 17th Century oak wood from Normandy.


Where to Dine

Casa Cruz
Uriarte 1658
54-11-4833-1112
www.casa-cruz.com

18/20
$$$
$$

Casa CruzCasa Cruz first opened its imposing bronze doors in 2005, and has since established itself as the spot for local trendsetters and jetsetters to see and be seen. Owned by Chilean-born Juan Santa Cruz, a former investment banker, the Palermo Soho neighborhood eatery slyly blends pretentiousness with world-class fusion cuisine. So even if you arrive in your business suit, you'll feel at home at this fantastic restaurant. Over 300 wine labels are housed in the floor-to-ceiling wine rack. Resident bartender Inés de los Santos is one of the city's most imaginative mixologists. Chef German Martitegui's menu is a bold combination of Argentine staples like beef, rabbit and lamb, along with variations of crab, snapper and tuna plates.


Francesca
Migueletes 840
54-11-4776-6760

17/20
$$$$$

FrancescaOwned by Argentine entrepreneur turned restaurateur turned fashion model, Federico Ribero, Francesca is one of the best new restaurants to open in Buenos Aires in years. It has world-class cuisine, impeccable style and service and attracts a steady stream of starlets, businessmen and polo players. A stunning five-meter tall mirror framed in native lapacho wood greets you, followed by an impressive backlit bar stocked with top-shelf liquors. Flowing white curtains run from floor-to-ceiling and hug walls decorated with artwork. An upstairs library lounge accommodates private parties and smokers. The bar offers both classic martinis and apple martinis. The wine list features some of Argentina's finest boutique wineries. Peruvian-inspired appetizers pair well with main courses of beef, chicken and pork, all slow-cooked over quebracho wood.

La Bourgogne
Alvear Palace Hotel
Av. Alvear 1891
54-11-4808-2100
www.alvearpalace.com

19/20
$$$$$

La BourgogneMany consider this formal French restaurant, situated in Buenos Aires' most elegant hotel, the best in the city. Certainly, it's an excellent choice for impressing clients. Chef Jean-Paul Bondoux grows herbs and vegetables on his own farm, and serves classics such as chateaubriand, duck au cassis, roasted salmon and veal steak in his magnificent dining room. The wine list includes South American as well as French labels. For an even more unforgettable evening, reserve a table in the wine cave where you can dine and drink surrounded by bricks and bottles.


Rio Alba
Cervino 4499
54-11-4773-5748

15/20
$$$$$

In a city jam-packed with steakhouses, this one is the best, hands-down. The restaurant consistently serves the tastiest and largest cuts, blowing away other fancier tourist traps that serve half the food for twice the price. Located a block from the U.S. Embassy in Palermo, Rio Alba is filled with Americans at lunchtime, but at night, it's strictly locals, many of whom have been visiting religiously for decades. The old-school waiters wear vests and bowties and refuse to write down your order, but they always remember your name and favorite cut of beef. Try the behemoth bife de chorizo (NY strip steak), salty asado de tira (short ribs) or flavorful entrana (skirt steak).


Sucre
Sucre 676
54-11-4782-9082
www.sucrerestaurant.com.ar

16/20
$$$$$

SucreVisit Sucre, an elite, Buenos Aires hot spot in the Belgrano neighborhood, for modern Argentine food and a slick atmosphere ideal for 21st-century wheeling and dealing. Chef Fernando Trocca does not disappoint. Try the Patagonian lamb or the Antarctic king crabs, and watch the chefs work while you eat in the chic, high-ceilinged dining room. The post-industrial décor provides a nice, but noisy, atmosphere. Be sure to check out the excellent Argentine wines as well.


Off the Clock

Café Tortoni
Avenida de Mayo 825
54-11-4342-4328
www.cafetortoni.com.ar

Cafe Tortoni

This grand coffeehouse on Buenos Aires's "Champs-Elysées" is where Argentines have discussed literature and gossiped while snacking on pastries and sipping strong South American coffee since 1858. Today, it offers a perfect "coffee break" for visiting executives. The food comes secondary to the historic atmosphere, so enjoy a cup of café while admiring the Art Nouveau interior in the oldest confiteria in Argentina. Some evenings, in the basement, tango singers or jazz musicians entertain, but you should call ahead to reserve.

Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo
Avenida Libertador 4101
54-11-4778-2800
www.palermo.com.ar

Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo

Visit the enormous Hipódromo for a day at the races to see world-famous Argentine thoroughbreds grunt it out on the gigantic dirt and grass tracks. Entrance to the public area is free, for a few dollars you can sit in the swanky clubhouse, which has table-clothed tables with waiters, private betting booths and birds-eyes view of the track. If the ponies aren't winning, go underground, literally, to the largest slots casino in Argentina, housed below the track. If you're visiting in November or December, don't miss the world's most prestigious polo tournaments, the Argentine Open Polo Championship, played across the street at a field considered the "cathedral" of polo.

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)
Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415
54-11-4808-6500
www.malba.org.ar

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

The contemporary building of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) contains Colección Costantini, the private art collection of Argentine businessman Eduardo Costantini. With more than 200 works of twentieth-century art, it is thought to be one of the largest collections of Latin American art anywhere. Also worth a visit are the outdoor sculpture balcony and the temporary exhibits, where you may encounter pieces by Diego Rivera, Antonio Berni and Frida Kahlo. Admittance is free on Wednesdays.

Museo Evita
Calle Lafinur 2988
54-11-4807-3168
www.evitaperon.org

Museo Evita

The Evita Museum opened in the Palermo area in 2002 on the 50th anniversary of Eva Duarte Peron’s death. Housed in grand mansion from the 1920s, it displays the story of Evita’s fascinating life and work through memorabilia such as dresses, copies of her speeches, magazine covers and items from the 1947 woman's suffrage movement. Evita was both one of the most respected and despised icons in Argentine history, whose life ended at age 33 when she died of cancer.

Recoleta Cemetery
Calle Junín 1760
54-11-4803-1594

Recoleta Cemetery

Thousands of tourists flock to this famous cemetery every year, mostly to visit the grave of Eva Peron, who is buried next to some of the country’s most beloved and influential people, including presidents, scientists and writers. Built in 1822, this miniature city spreads across a length of four city blocks. As you enter through the neo-classical gates, you’ll see thousands of marble mausoleums decorated with statues. It is interesting to note that the death dates but not birth dates are engraved onto the façades.


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