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Mendoza, Argentina 

Imagine a morning of wine tasting in Mendoza then climbing onto a seaplane and flying over the Andes Mountains. Land on a picturesque lake for a picnic lunch then fly back to your hotel for an in-suite massage followed by a gourmet dinner (paired with the region’s best wines) just steps away from your room. All of this can be part of your extraordinary getaway at the newly opened SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites — a must visit luxury-destination in the heart of Argentina’s wine country.

The ’SB’ in SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites is Susana Balbo who is a legend in Argentina’s wine world. She was the first woman in the country to earn a degree in enology as well as the first female winemaker, opened her own winery in 2001, served multiple terms as President of Wines of Argentina and was even elected to the country’s congress. Most importantly she makes some of the region’s best wines. Working alongside her daughter Ana Lovaglio Balbo, SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites is her first foray into the luxury hotel space.

Located about twenty five minutes from downtown Mendoza in Chacras de Coria, the hotel features seven suites on a private estate setting — though they are more like your own casita — all featuring large open bedroom/living rooms, steam room, sensations shower, massage table and egg-shaped deep tub — which can be filled with hot water and aromatherapy treatments as part of your turn down service. Four of the rooms are also equipped with saunas. Each suite also has private outdoor space with fire pit and lounge chairs. The layout allows the suites to feel secluded though the property is quite cozy — once you step outside your door you are steps away from the pool and main building.

The hotel’s restaurant La VidA, located in the main building, turns classic Argentinian cuisine into a gastronomical experience from Chef Flavia Amad who divides her menu into playful categories such as ‘Roots,’ “Branches,’ ‘Flowers’ and even ‘Parasites’ (don’t worry it’s only mushrooms and corn miso). Dinner guests can opt for a la carte menu as well as four or seven-course tasting menus. And for a special experience there is the Chef’s Table 14-course dinner in a private room that overlooks the kitchen. All the meals can be paired with wines from Susana Balbo as well as other top wineries.

But to truly enjoy the cuisine here you’re going to have to keep two nights free: one for the restaurant and one for a classic outdoor Argentinian ‘Asado’ grill night as you dine under the stars with empanadas, sausages and delicious meats cooked on open flames in front of you.

One of the most unique factors about SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites is they have a private seaplane and pilot that can tailor custom itineraries for guests. Spend the day flying over Mendoza vineyards and the Andes Mountains and experience the beauty of the area along scenic routes you won’t see from a commercial aircraft. Landing on an otherwise inaccessible lake for a private picnic and having the beautiful scenery all to yourself is a one-of-a-kind experience. And for the truly adventurous you can also plan multi-day trips to places like Esteros del Iberá and Patagonia as well — when was the last time your hotel flew you to another region for a few nights?

After all the wine, food and flying it’s time to use one of the best features of your suite — your in-room spa. There are multiple face and body treatments available as well as massages. But to really take advantage of everything your room offers there are two ‘SB Signature Rituals’ which both offer three hours of bliss, combining sauna and steam, massage and purifying baths. ‘The Detox Ritual’ features aromatic exfoliation using ‘Yon-Ka’ plant-based aromatic treatments while the ‘Frutos De A Vid Ritual’ adds wine to the therapy with a grape skin exfoliation.

The hotel’s main building and glass-walled suites were designed by local studio Mora Hughes Arquitectos while the modern interior design was handled by another local architect Consuelo Delgado. The furniture was inspired by Susana and Ana’s travels and custom made for the property — many from Cohelo-Cohelo, another mother-daughter team. The main house and suites feature artwork from 20 Argentine and Brazilian artists including photographer Sebastiao Salgado. One highlight, located in the main house is the ‘Tree of Life’ commissioned by Argentine artist Sergio Roggerone to tell Susana’s life story through vibrant colors, flowers and fruits that ‘symbolize strength and femininity, entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.’

With all the luxury you’d be hard-pressed to leave the hotel but it’s also the perfect base for exploring the many wineries and restaurants the area has to offer. And while Susana Balbo has created a masterpiece of comfort you’d be remiss not to also visit her first love and see her winery. Included with any two-night stay is round-trip transfer to Susan Balbo Wines along with a sommelier-led premium tasting.