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This stylish port city is the financial, political and cultural hub of Argentina. Unlike most other cities on the hustle, however, business in Buenos Aires is always personal. So, be sure to come armed with family photos and funny anecdotes because, in this town, making a deal means making a friend.
Photo: Irina Werning
Lay of the land: True, you could stay at an extravagant, palatial hotel and maybe bump into a visiting political figure, but, in Buenos Aires, boutique is where it’s at. Intimate five- to 20-room hotels reign in the fashionable Palermo Soho district, and chief among them is the Duque Hotel Boutique & Spa. A renovated 1920s mansion, the Duque combines old-world charm and impeccable service for a hotel stay that feels like home, but better. The 104-room Hotel Pulitzer creates an intimate boutique vibe in a posh setting, employing a chic combination of 1950s style and European charm, with a little four-star luxury on the side.
Make your pitch: Argentine cattle-raisers are among the best in the world and, not surprisingly, Buenos Aires is a city that’s mad about the cow. While every local carnivore will have a favourite steak house, La Cabaña is a consistent top contender. For a break from the grill, try Tomo 1, founded by sisters Ada and Ebe Concaro, who were the city’s patron saints of modern Argentine cuisine for close to 40 years. Ada died last year, but Tomo 1 remains a power-lunch standby. Call a week ahead to book the tasting menu.
Seal the deal: Milion is the ultimate stylish hot spot. The beautifully restored three-storey mansion includes a high-end restaurant (reservations are a must), a glitzy bar and a lovely garden courtyard — great for a private chat. If your style is more old-school, the tuxedo-clad waiters at the venerable Plaza Bar have served many a perfect cocktail to visiting royalty, celebs and pretty much every Argentine president. Afterwards, you can take a taxi to the San Telmo barrio and see top-quality tango dancers performing in the street.
What to watch: A fast-paced thriller from beloved Buenos Aires director Fabián Bielinsky, Nine Queens follows two con artists through the streets of the city in a head-spinning tale of heists and deception.
Terminal tip: Gourmet gelateria Persico’s outpost in the Ministro Pistarini International Airport offers departing visitors one last taste of the best artisanal ice cream in Buenos Aires, from classic mascarpone to dulce de leche or banana split.
“Argentines love to go out to eat. When they dine, however, it’s usually late—11 p.m. business dinners aren’t unusual. In fact, many restaurants don’t even open until 9 p.m. I try to have a snack earlier in the evening because I know it’ll usually be a while before dinner.” — Simon G. Proctor is director of sales for Carmanah Technologies Corp. in Victoria, B.C., and has been visiting Buenos Aires on business for seven years.