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Wellness and wine blend together at this centenary property impeccably refurbished by enologist Susana Balbo and her daughter in Mendoza, Argentina.

Why book?

Wellness and wine blend together at this centenary property impeccably refurbished by enologist Susana Balbo and her daughter in Mendoza, Argentina.

Set the scene

The latest addition to Mendoza’s constellation of luxury hotels is set in Chacras de Coria, a traditional vineyard region that, over time, has slowly been urbanized. Bearing that in mind, SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites, named after trailblazing female enologist and co-founder Susana Balbo, keeps wine culture stylish and alive. Well-heeled wine lovers check in for spa treatments, haute cuisine, and bespoke experiences that fully embrace Mendoza’s vivid winemaking culture, dressing down for a day by the pool then glamming it up for dinner. Given that Susana and marketing guru daughter Ana Lavaglio Balbo have opened up their home to guests, they have curated every last detail to share their lifestyle with guests.

The backstory

While Argentina’s trail-blazing enologist Susana Balbo has been creating world-class, high-scoring vintages for more than four decades at her eponymous bodega, she and daughter Ana Lavaglio Balbo are raising the luxury stakes in their home province of Mendoza. Although they run the family winemaking business together—Ana as head of marketing—this is their first step into the world of hotel hospitality. Refurbishing the centenary property in Chacras de Coria that Ana had been living in with her young family was an intensive two-year project, but it was worth the effort to design seven purpose-built glass-walled suites while restoring the mansion. The original quarters are the hotel’s focal point, which also acts as an arts hub for a collection of works by renowned South American artists.

The rooms

What to sample first, soaking in the egg-shaped tub, booking a couple’s spa treatment session, or uncorking one of Susana’s legendary vintages from the souped-up minibar? Mother and daughter have thought of every last detail in the only wine hotel in Latin America whose seven suites include a steam room, sensations shower, and massage table. A natural color palette mirrors this mountainous wine country, while the stone and nut hues in leather and lamb and llama wool evoke calm and Argentine texture. Privacy is key to the well-being process, and each suite is tucked away, sporting a private garden with a fire pit and irresistible heated loungers that might make you late for dinner. While the three smaller spa suites don’t come with a dry sauna, they are equally as stunning but cost less.

Food and drink

Despite the bijou scale of the hotel, guests can enjoy two very distinctive dining experiences. Should a leisurely lunch outside by the pool be in order, order mollejas (sweetbreads) and entraña (skirt steak) grilled by the asador, and a bottle of Nosotros Malbec 2018. For a slick, 14-course tasting menu created by chef Flavia Amad Di Leo, book a table at La VidA restaurant; ask the resident sommelier about pairings. If you’re in wine country with a heap of friends, book the private chef’s table. For a digestif, slip into the cocktail bar for an Hoja de Parra, a signature drink with a vine leaf base, or head back to your room and uncork a Torrontés de Raíz Naranjo from the minibar, a surprising and delicious skin-contact vintage by Susana.

The spa

Mendoza’s wine culture is at the heart of the spa menu, with the antioxidant properties of grapes as wine, must, and raisins harnessed in locally made creams and exfoliators. Therapies are taken in room: Book the luxurious three-hour Frutos De La Vid (From The Vine) treatment, which includes a grape seed body scrub and red wine must mud wrap, along with your choice of massage.

The neighborhood/area

Many winemakers call Chacras de Coria their home, their needs buoyed by mom-and-pop joints and bars fanning out from the tiny Plaza General Espejo square that are decent enough for a quick bite. And although many wineries serve delicious paired lunchtime menus, few open for dinner. Fine dining lovers, however, won’t starve as the low-key Brindillas, a short drive from SB Winemaker’s House, serves up tasty seasonal dishes such as braised lamb with quinoa, and also houses an epic cellar.

The service

While the wellness butler can organize a dazzling array of relaxing wine-based therapies and the experiences curator can tailor private cooking classes, wine tastings, or horseback riding expeditions up into the Andes, why not explore beyond Mendoza. Those looking to unearth hidden corners of Argentina should book a flight on the hotel’s very own VisionAir seaplane, the only such air safari service in the country.

Eco effort

In the kitchen, every last morsel is prepared from scratch, taking care to use organic ingredients where possible. There’s also elaborate upcycling where possible. A closer look at the front desk proves it was a (fallen) olive tree in its previous life, while the Tree of Life’s trunk is artfully conceived from recycled newspapers and an accountancy book.


The whole hotel is based on the ground floor, while ramps are in place for the few steps in the main quarters.

Anything left to mention?

Given that Ana and Susana curated a fantastic art collection together, giving pride of place to many Argentine artists, ask for an aesthete’s tour of the property. Highly collectible names abound: when checking in, there’s a warm welcome from Susana’s specially commissioned Tree of Life by artist Sergio Roggerone. Other highlights include Julio Le Parc’s Espejos mirrors, and Mujer Rural, a black-and-white image by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado Júnior, a gift to Susana for her work presiding over the W20 Argentina network.