YOU SHOULD STAY HERE IN SALTA ARGENTINA

SALTA PROVINCE | ARGENTINA

[SALTA, ARGENTINA] — There aren’t a ton of hotels in Salta province, it’s such a vast place, but there are several really cool ones.  I only stayed in three, but here are my favorites for best boutique hotels in Salta. You should stay here in Salta. The best luxury hotels in Salta. After doing lots of research, these are my choices for 3 best boutique hotels in Salta from a trip I took to Salta in March 2011.

[Note: As I continue to improve my website, this is an updated and enhanced post from a trip I took in 2011, with better pictures and information from my previous lame posts, now consolidated into one guide.]

To be clear, there is the city of Salta and the entire Salta province, so when researching your trip, it’s good to plot out where the hotels actually are.  For my trip, my real goal was to explore the entire untrammeled Wild West province, so I spent very little time in the city of Salta. They call it “Salta the beautiful” but I was just in and out on a day trip, so didn’t get a chance to discover the beautiful part of the city.  I planned out my trip so I’d break up the trip in three completely different places, a cool hotel at the end of each day.

Here’s a link to another post about exploring Salta province on a road trip to get bearings on where these hotels are.  Here follows is a summary of my stays at each of these places, some just for a night, but several nights at the extremely remote Estancia Colomé — which was my real destination for this trip, especially for its highly coveted James Turrell Museum.

Here are my three best boutique hotels in Salta

I put a bunch of links to other hotel guides for the region at the end of the post. Let me know if you find some you like.

It’s Like Staying on a Private Estancia — House of Jasmines, Outside of Salta City

A few miles outside of Salta city is a perfect hotel and spa in the countryside. House of Jasmines. A luxurious estancia-turned-hotel (and the actor Robert Duvall’s former working ranch) it’s the perfect base to explore Salta province, easy to connect to the highways into the mountains, yet being away in a quiet retreat from the bustling Salta city.

It’s just a few kilometers on the other side of the airport, so it’s a great place to crash after a long flight.  Set amidst acres of green, green farmland, trees and remarkable views of the distant white capped mountains. And super quiet. House of Jasmines website.  I really wish I’d booked more nights here, I was just in and out in coming and going to the altiplano.  Highly recommend several days here, for adventures. I can’t wait to go back.

House of Jasmines entrance drive

This is a real estancia, just minutes from the airport, you pull in a perfect tree lined drive.

 

House of Jasmines best boutique hotel Salta

This is one of the three best boutique hotels in Salta. This is the main building, with Reception, a small breakfast room and cool restaurant with a huge indoor wood fired grill. It’s a Relais & Chateaux hotel, so you know it’s all about the food.

 

House of Jasmines is essentially made up of a main house and several guest houses, each with their own terraces with views of the open fields, the views to the mountains, the sun and the sound of the outside.

 

House of Jasmines villa viewThe terrace on my room, with views to the green mountains in the distance.

 

House of Jasmines villa exterior

There are out-buildings where some rooms are. This was mine, with another room or two on the other end. Very quiet.

 

House of Jasmines sunrise view

I only got to spend one morning here before heading out on my multi-day road trip. It was cloudy and rainy when I landed, then got dark upon my arrival. But I woke up with the sun and was rewarded, before heading to a sumptuous breakfast.

 

 

House of Jasmines restaurant asado

I could sit in this spot night after night and watch this guy cook. I love cooking with fire. 

 

There’s an excellent restaurant in the main house.  One night I was there they had a special barbecue and fiesta and I had one of the best bottles of wines I’ve ever had. And it’s a Relais & Chateaux property, so you know it’s good and the food, amazing. You really don’t want to leave. Here’s a great overview on Scott Dunn’s website.  As I mentioned, this used to be the actor Robert Duvall’s private estancia for years, but for some time has be run by a French hotelier family.  The French decor touches really show.  I visited here in 2011 and looks like they have really upped the decor even better based on recent photos, so make sure you check out the links and their website.

 

House of Jasmines villa terrace view

The perfect place to enjoy a morning cortado and sip in the views, Andean vultures circling above.

 

House of Jasmines field view

It was so amazing to fly to Buenos Aires, have a five hour layover, then arrive at night and wake up in the morning to this peaceful bliss. All sky. 

Here is the Trip Advisor review for House of Jasmines. And the Relais & Chateaux booking site. A review in Travel & Leisure. And Conde Nast Traveler.

Patios de Cafayate — Stay in the Middle of a Vineyard Outside Cafayate

Patios de Cafayate best boutique hotel Salta

Patios de Cafayate is one of the best boutique hotels in Salta province.

 

This is really a pretty place. The Patios de Cafayate — almost the most perfect Spanish style villa and grounds you can imagine.  The reviews are sometimes mixed, but  I loved it.  Maybe while pretty, it might be lacking a soul with some of the people working there. I think it used to be part of the Luxury Collection, but then I got a cryptic message from the LC when booking saying that they were no longer associated with the property. Not sure of its current status, but would still recommend.

There is a famous roadhouse that specializes in the treasured Salteño music of the region. I was so exhausted, I didn’t have the energy to venture out, but the bonus was you could sit outside your room and hear the lamented crooning waft over the trees from the nearby joint.

I wish I stayed here a few more days.

Here’s a great Travel & Leisure article about Salta.

 

Patios de Cafayate main building

I was channel surfing a couple years back and noticed the opening credits for The Amazing Race and it was all set around Cafayate and Patios de Cafayate. Cafayate is a gorgeous wine area, btw. Great place to base your explorations and very easy to get to if you drive straight down from Salta and skip the Ruta 40 loop…maybe 2-3 hours.

Patios de Cafayate courtyard

Nice big rooms and perfect reading porches all around. Excellent courtyard and gorgeous main room.  I had a darn good meal in the restaurant, with a fine bottle of their house Don David Malbec.  Nice pool, too, to cool off after the exhausting drive. The travel agent and others recommended the Vinas de Cafayate as a much better place, but I never got a chance to stay there.

 

Patios de Cafayate lobby

Here is Patios de Cafayate’s website.  And their high marks on Trip Advisor.  Here’s their review on the Conde Nast Traveler website. And a review on The Telegraph’s excellent travel review page. And good mentions on their restaurant from Fodor’s. And a very detailed review on the most excellent Scott Dunn website.

Estancia Colomé — Skygaze and Stargaze Amidst High Altitude Vineyards in the Middle of Nowhere

Estancia Colomé is a place I had read a few things about, mostly its magical high-altitude vineyard and its remote, very VERY remote location. But what really attracted me to make the long journey to Salta was that it also is home to the only museum dedicated to one of my favorite artists, James Turrell.

The fact that he chose this remote place for his remote works makes both all the more special.  He works with light and the way we perceive. Read more about him, the museum and the estancia here.

Colomé is owned by the Hess Collection and is one of the oldest and highest vineyards in South America, if not the world. The Estancia hotel has only a handful of rooms and when I went there in March ’11 it was a small boutique hotel.

When I say remote, I’m talking about a two hour flight, a dramatic six hour (oft-times dangerous) 4 wheel drive crossing of multiple ecosystems (rain forests, mountains, desserts, high desserts, low desserts, etc. ) and driving through nearly a dozen or so roaring streams (depending on the rain).  It is one of the most coolest drives I’ve ever down, white knuckles and all, through some of the most dramatic scenery I’ve ever seen.  But the journey is what arriving at this place that much more special.  NOTE: I’ve read since that the hotel is now closed, open only for private bookings to the museum and vineyard tours. I think it might have been due to fording that last river….

When I followed the signs, they dead-ended at a wide muddy river. I thought “What???”  I saw some local people and asked “Estancia Colomé??”  “Si!” They said, smiling, pointing across the river. With my little car, I thought NO. As in NO WAY!

I tried calling the hotel, but the signal wouldn’t work. Was able to text my travel agent in the US and sent a pic of the wide river. She texted back: “They’re sending a truck, any minute.” I parked my car on the side of the road.

I can see why they stopped being a regular drop-in hotel. They really need a bridge to make this more accessible. I imagine today, they have better logistics to get across the river. This was crazy to get to experience, which made it all the better once I got there.

River crossing Estancia Colomé

This was the view going back down. Others waiting and wondering what to do, not obviously getting the memo about the river. We took a truck across to retrieve my car, I have no idea how these guys got across. The fast moving water was waste-deep.

Relieved after hahaha-ing across the soupy river, we finally pulled up to this remote hotel. This was the view from my room, 9,000 feet above sea level, in the middle of nowhere. Worth it.

Estancia Colomé room view

My room view. This was worth the drive.

 

Estancia Colomé pool reflection

The perfect pool, on top of the world, in the middle of nowhere.

 

Estancia Colomé mountain views

There’s a large functioning winery hidden down there.

 

Estancia Colomé main building

The handful of rooms all open up to vineyard views.

 

James Turrell Museum Estancia Colomé

This is the coolest museum I’ve ever seen, by my favorite artist James Turrell. In the middle of nowhere. Humble on the outside. Stunning on the inside. Couldn’t take pictures, but the works inside are burned into my retina.

 

 

They don’t allow photos on the inside of this world class museum in the middle of nowhere, but here are some examples of the multiple skygazing installations inside the museum, these from the official James Turrell archive.

So many things inside I wish I could show you. But alas, you’ll just have to go there.

Estancia Colomé stars

Never seen so many stars in my life.(despite my bad time-lapse) I can understand why James Turrell would create his star-gazing work here, in a dark and isolated valley.

 

 

Estancia Colomé old winery

There’s the original winery on site.

 

Estancia Colomé horseback riding

You can take a horseback ride across the vast lands at this high altitude with their “horse whisperer” — who really was. We took a quick spin and started a long tour before he pointed up to the sky and said “psssuuu-psssuuu” to the descending rain clouds.

 

 

Here’s their website. And here’s a great article about driving to Coloméand through Salta from Travel & Leisure.  Here’s a great story from the WSJ.com on road tripping through Argentina’s most extreme wine country. And another from Wall Street Journal on the advancing taste of Malbec.  And a great article from the NYTimes on Colomé. And an older New York Times article on Salta, which I used on my trip. Here’s a review of the gallery and estancia Colomé from The Independent.  And some mentions on the hotel and Turrell museum from AFAR magazine.

More Information on Where to Stay in Salta

Here’s a great overview article of 36 Hours in Salta form The NY Times and a great article on Salta province from Forbes.  Here’s a review of both House of Jasmines and Patios de Cafayate, as well as other great places to stay in Salta, in The Telegraph.  Here is The Telegraph’s list of best boutique hotels in Salta province.  And a great overview of Salta city and its hotels from The Hotel Guru. And great survey of all the curated hotels in Salta province from the very dependable I-escape.com.

Here’s where each of these cities are located across Salta province:

Salta Province hotel map

And here’s a link to an interactive map I created for this Salta Roadtrip, where you can zoom in to locations, roads, websites, addresses, etc.

Here are other posts I’ve made of exploring the incredible scenery of Salta province. Here’s one on the Salinas Grandes, one of the world’s largest salt flats. Amazing. And another post about exploring the colorful mountains of Jujuy province, an easy day trip from Salta city.

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“YOU SHOULD STAY HERE IN SALTA ARGENTINA”

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