A TRIP TO THE BUSTLING METROPOLIS of Buenos Aires opens a window into a collision of cultures. The Argentine capital vibrates to the Latin beats of tango and cumbia drifting from the bars and taxis which line Haussmann-style boulevards that could have been lifted straight from Paris.
Soccer, steaks, wine and tango all come to mind when you think of Argentina, and Buenos Aires presents innumerable choices. Fanatical soccer fans, the best steak and wine in the world and mesmerizing tango performances are woven into the fabric of this bewitching city.
Most visitors arrive in this fascinating South American capital at Ministro Pistarini International Airport, known locally as Ezeiza International Airport, about 14 miles south of the city center. Many of the 9 million passengers who pass through the airport hire an executive taxi run by the Manuel Tienda Leon Bus Co. to get into town for around $38, or a Taxi Ezeiza for around $30. You can also choose to travel by shuttle bus for about $12, but you’ll have to find your way from the terminal to your hotel. That could mean a ride in a black and yellow city taxi or a trip on the Subte metro system for the more adventurous.
Make like visiting dignitaries and check in at the 5-star Alvear Palace Hotel, which just opened a series of opulent rooftop suites. Inviting your clients to the newly opened Alvear Lounge for lunch meetings will certainly impress, thanks to the iconic status of the hotel, and the views over the Recoleta neighborhood are incredible.
The perfect spot for a power breakfast is Club del Progreso in Monserrat. Generations of Argentinean presidents have dined amid its antique interiors where powerbrokers have cut deals since its foundation in 1852. Treat your clients to breakfast or hire one of the salons for a private lunch meeting. Both the Salon Roque Sáenz Peña and the Salon Rojo feature cozy rooms that can accommodate a maximum of 20 people.
To let off some steam after long meetings, head to the regenerated Puerto Madero area. The former docks are now home to the spectacular Puente de la Mujer, a rotating footbridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and some of the best entertainment in the city.
Among the attractions is Casino Buenos Aires, something of an oddity. Due to state gambling laws that prohibit casinos, the enterprising owners moored their casino boat in national waters to avoid legislation. Thanks to some creative thinking, you and your clients can enjoy 150 gaming tables and more than 1,500 slot machines.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during soccer season, bag an executive box for a Boca Juniors game at the world-renowned stadium La Bombonera. Your colleagues will be excited about seeing one of the most famous teams in South America … unless they are fans of archrivals River Plate, of course.
For a different kind of sporting atmosphere, you could always determine whether there is an event at the polo field in the Palermo district or horse racing at the Buenos Aires hippodrome. If you’re looking for a more relaxing day, visit the National Museum of Fine Arts or the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires.
Business travelers should know Buenos Aires comes alive at night, leaving plenty of time to enjoy restaurants and bars even after a long day of meetings. It’s not uncommon for Argentineans to make dinner reservations around 11 p.m. before heading for a nightcap around 2 a.m.
When it comes to food, meat rules the day. There really is no better way of getting into local culture than sipping on an exquisite Malbec as you enjoy huge, tender cuts of meat fresh from the grill, or parilla. Buenos Aires is full of restaurants offering this experience, but head to Don Julio to enjoy the best of the best in style at this atmospheric venue in Palermo.
Take in some tango at Cachirulo, a traditional milonga where fans of the dance come to watch and take part. Take to the floor if you have practiced your steps, or sit back and enjoy some drinks as the action unfolds around you. While many milongas don’t get going until the small hours, Cachirulo fills up around 11 p.m.
Entertaining clients doesn’t have to be stressful, and Buenos Aires is full of spots that make everyone feel special. From awe-inspiring meetings venues to after-hours bonding time, chances are you’ll keep your clients happy on your next trip to the Argentinean capital.
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