On a recent trip to Argentina, I stayed a night at the lovely Sofitel Buenos Aires. It's on a quiet, leafy street that's lined with galleries and antique shops. It provides all the comforts (and great food) that one expects of this luxury French brand but with a distinct sense of place (the landmarked building was the city's first skyscraper when it was built in 1929 and the handsome rooms are trimmed in biker bar-levels of Argentine leather). The elegant cafe--Cafe Arroyo--off the lobby was modeled after Buenos Aires' distinguished jockey clubs of the early 1900s. Here, guests can find a singular amenity.
As part of a new program called “Cultural Nights,” a guest artist comes to the café on Wednesdays and Saturdays and works for guests and locals to watch, with a new artist rotating in every two months. And it’s not just humdrum landscapes: When I was there, the artist was the phantasmically edgy Dario Zana. A little more interesting than some guy tickling the ivories, right?
Café Arroyo is a good spot for a light lunch, afternoon tea, or an evening cocktail and bite (which you’ll need if you’re going to last until that 10 PM dinner reservation. My favorite dinner spot? Miranda in Palermo). In addition to the visiting artists, there are weekly talks about different parts of the city as well as live music (jazz, French, and Brazilian).