By Amy Sedeño, Executive Director & Partner of CIIC
In 1999, Buenos Aires opened its first “design” hotel, Design Suites. Design Suites broke the mold, bringing a new contemporary concept to travelers. Today, Buenos Aires is home to multiple hotels in the boutique category: Great Small Hotels lists 19 in the city, Mr. and Mrs. Smith lists four, and Tablet Hotels lists 22.
The boutique hotel model in Latin America has a sharp focus: delivering a lifestyle, not just a vacation, that is fully integrated with the beautiful natural surroundings of the region or its energetic urban settings.
The rise in demand for authentic experiences has created a luxury independent boutique hotel niche in the region. Specifically, Millennials are willing to spend more on properties that integrate local cuisine,
sustainability, and learning experiences. The lack of strict and lengthy corporate structure and guidelines allow these businesses to think outside of the box, be nimble, be flexible, and adapt to market trends. Owners can change interiors or upgrade amenities as the market changes and support their local communities by locally sourcing food from nearby providers and crafts from local artisans.
Marked by their unique style and architecture, focus on experiences, personalized service, and commitment to sustainability, here are four boutique hotels in Latin America that are revolutionizing stays in the region:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Home was one of the city’s original boutique hotels and the passion
project of an Argentine-English couple. Located in the hip barrio of Palermo Viejo, one of the most colorful parts of the city, and surrounded by eateries and bars, the hotel offers a home-away-from-home that leaves no detail behind. The hotel owners’ mini-guide to the city offers tips on how to explore Buenos Aires like a porteño (local) and highlights mom-and-pop businesses as well as the “it” places to be seen. The hotel houses a subterranean spa, a craft cocktail bar that can’t be missed as well as daily home-cooked breakfast. Home was the first boutique hotel in Buenos Aires to incorporate sustainable practices and works with El Ceibo recycling community to recycle all glass, plastic, and cardboard, local company Eco Volta for the disposal of batteries, and donates towels, sheets, and slippers to charity organizations working with children and the elderly.
Dubbed Chile’s first urban winery, Wine Box was a leader in this concept.
Ex-winemaker Grant Phelps created a wine- and graffiti-themed hotel to link Valparaiso to the local winemaking regions of Casablanca, Aconcagua, and Leyda. The hotel organizes organic tours and tastings for guests and even produces wine during the transitional months to the Chilean winter, from April to midJune. Wine Box is also the first hotel built with recycled containers: 75 percent of the structure of the hotel is recycled.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Nestled in a protected wildlife area amidst lush jungle and the surf capital of Tamarindo, Cala Luna offers guests the gift of transformative travel. Everything in the hotel, from its architecture to its guest programming, was designed with nature, sustainability, and guests’ wellbeing in mind. Cala Luna offers complimentary yoga and fitness classes designed around balance and strength, farm-to-table dining from its neighboring farm, La Senda, al fresco spa treatments, and complimentary bikes. The hotel goes beyond ditching plastic to implement practices and life choices that stay
with guests well beyond check-out. By allowing guests to participate in wellness and sustainable initiatives, like beach cleanups and organic farm tours, Cala Luna looks to inspire travelers to implement similar practices
back home. Cala Luna is 100 percent solar-powered and boasts the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level five) from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
Los Cabos, Mexico
Vista Encantada is the debut boutique property from family-owned hotel company, Mexico Grand Hotels. The property is 100 percent authentically Mexican, and furnishings and decor are sourced from all over the country, bringing special touches to every room. The property houses a blend of adult-oriented luxury, ultra-personal service, and standout amenities in a boutique experience with stunning Sea of Cortez views, featuring a rooftop infinity Sky Pool, plant-based Milagro Wellness Spa, Sky Gym and other unique features. In addition to private balconies and individual plunge pools in each of the property’s 36 deluxe suites, a rooftop Sky Pool and
outdoor jacuzzi surrounded by cabanas immerse guests in 360-degree vistas. Further pampering guests are 24/7 butler service and a Guest Experience Manager, an elevated concierge service catering to guests
seeking unique, adaptable experiences that tap into the authentic local culture.