Mendoza, the hub of Argentina’s winemaking industry, is a city for food and wine lovers. Though an ideal visit would last three days or more, all you need is one day to fall in love with this Argentinian gem. Use our guide to get the most out of your 24-hour visit:
With one day in the city, the only place you should consider staying is the Park Hyatt Mendoza. Located in the heart of downtown Mendoza, the gorgeous property is situated across the street from the city’s main square, or Plaza Independencia. Around the corner are countless restaurants; a block away is the city’s central promenade, Avenida Sarmiento; and, you’re within walking distance of some of the town’s best boutique shopping. Boasting an excellent fitness facility, spa, pool and beautiful rooms with marble baths and separate rainfall showers, the Park Hyatt has every amenity you’ll need for a great night’s stay.
9 a.m. Start your day off with a buffet breakfast. Enjoy local medialuna pastries (kind of like a croissant) filled with dulce de leche (milk jam), made-to-order omelets, local fruits and yogurts, cured salmon and more at the Bistro M in the Park Hyatt’s lobby. After breakfast, you’ll visit a winery and have lunch. So, make sure you contact the Hyatt concierge at least a week before your arrival to arrange for a driver and to book the more well-known wineries such as Catena Zapata.
10:30 a.m. You’ll have enough time before lunch for one winery tour, or two or three tastings. For the highest rated, premium wines, consider visiting wineries such as Bressia, Pulenta Estate, Vistalba, Benegas Lynch and Achaval Ferrer. If you want to see stunning architecture, Decero, Melipal and Septima offer some of the best examples of modern architecture in the area.
1 p.m. When you’ve completed your tour and/or tastings, sit back and relax at the picturesque Ruca Malen winery for a fantastic, five-course, gourmet wine-pairing lunch.
3:30 p.m. After lunch, return to the Park Hyatt for an hour-long siesta. Take a nap in your luxurious room, laze out by the pool, or unwind in the spa tranquility room before taking advantage of the water circuit — steam room, Jacuzzi and cold plunge — inside the locker room.
5 p.m. It’s time to explore the city, as the shops reopen after siesta. Take a walk across the Plaza Independencia, and stroll along the promenade, or pietonal, called Avenida Sarmiento. Stop off at Bianco y Nero, an artisanal ice cream shop, and try a scoop of its phenomenal dulce de leche gelato. Continue down the promenade or wander over the next few blocks to shop at some of the city’s boutique clothing shops, which should stay open until 9 p.m. Stop by Prune for purses and leather goods and La Martina to pick up an authentic Argentinian polo shirt. On the weekends, there are local craft artisans set up along Plaza Independencia selling jewelry, art and leather
9 p.m. Just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, visit the Vines of Mendoza Tasting Room to taste even more wine varietals. Stop in to talk to the knowledgeable staff, taste some vinos and purchase a bottle to take with you to dinner (most restaurants in Mendoza allow you to bring your own bottle, with a corkage fee).
10:30 p.m. Make sure you have reservations at the city’s best restaurant, 1884, by one of Argentina’s most celebrated chefs, Francis Mallmann. Order one of the restaurant’s fantastic iron skillet appetizers — the sizzling proveleta cheese or skillet potato and prawns — to experience Mallmann’s mastery of the clay oven. For an entree, order a scrumptious piece of lomo (tenderloin of beef) or his amazingly tender braised goat, and wash it down with a bottle of Mendoza’s best Malbec such as Finca Altamira by Achaval Ferrer or Bressia’s Conjuro.
1:00 a.m. Stop by Avenida Villanueva Aristides to get a taste of Mendoza’s nightlife and bar scene. Though it’s pretty busy most nights, the real show happens from Thursday through Saturday, with blocks upon blocks of people filling the outdoor patios from 12 a.m. until 4.a.m. Find a seat to your liking, then order the local favorite, Fernet y Coca (Fernet Branca and Coca-Cola), as you absorb the sights and sounds of Mendoza by night.
Photos courtesy of Hyatt Corporation, Pulenta Estate, Tokyo Tanenhaus and Mai Pham