A scenic 45-minute flight across the Andes from Santiago, Argentina’s Mendoza wine region is a destination easily combined with a visit to Chile. Modern wineries and resorts stand amid vineyards backdropped by snowcapped mountains, creating some of the most attractive wine country in the world. The weather is reliably fine, averaging 300-some sunny days per year, and the wines have reached new heights of quality.
The Vines Resort & Spa
Many of the best vineyards are in the Uco Valley, a high-altitude region about an hour south of the city of Mendoza. A lack of sophisticated lodgings previously relegated the valley to a long day trip, but the recent opening of The Vines Resort & Spa has brought some of the region’s top wineries such as Clos de los Siete and O. Fournier within easy reach. Set amid 1,500 acres of vineyards and gardens, The Vines has only 21 villas, arranged in an oval around a well-groomed meadow cooled by fountains. Villas 1 through 12 have the best locations and most privacy, with unobstructed views of the vineyards and the Andes. We stayed in a villa facing the interior meadow, but this barely felt like a compromise, as the mountains rose high above the roofs of the low-slung accommodations.
Done mostly in warm cream and brown tones, our One Bedroom Deluxe Villa offered an impressive 1,975 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, divided among an open-plan kitchen/dining room/living room, a bedroom with king bed, and a bath with dual vanities and showers. The full-size refrigerator contained an array of complimentary beverages, and a different tempting snack appeared on the heavy wooden kitchen island each day (the first was a plate of perfectly ripe wild strawberries). Nearby, an armchair and overstuffed leather sofa flanked a woodburning fireplace. An array of hand-knit woolen fabrics softened the bedroom and gave it a sense of place, enhanced by a cowhide rug. And outside, a wide patio had room for a well-cushioned four-person dining set, two armchairs, two loungers, a fire pit and a private hot tub. The small roof terrace lacked shade, but it was a pleasant alternative at sunrise and sunset. The Vines’ smallest accommodations lack the roof terrace and private hot tub, but with 1,000 square feet of space, the One Bedroom Villas are unlikely to feel cramped.