- Özgür Töre
Argentina’s renowned female winemaker, Susana Balbo, has opened her first hotel, SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites, in the famed wine region of Mendoza.
After four decades dedicated to the wine industry and international recognitions, Susana Balbo created the bespoke estate and luxury boutique hotel with her daughter, Ana Lovaglio Balbo.
The hotel features a sense of place as well as the hostesses’ authentic wine roots in everything from design, décor, and setting to culinary experiences, art, wellness, and nature. It’s also about exclusivity.
Guests will feel as if they’re staying in a private estate, where Susana and Ana become hosts for travelers who want to experience their culture and wines. The seven spa suites feature fully integrated in-room spa features and services. La VidA restaurant, a lounge bar, heated swimming pool, shop with local artisanal products, and tasting room complete the SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites.
The lesser-known region of Mendoza appeals for its dramatic natural surroundings and soft adventure. Guests will have an opportunity to explore the region near and far, including Patagonia to the south and Cafayate to the north on the hotel’s private seaplane. Guests can also take advantage of all the additional wine and food experiences at the nearby Susana Balbo bodega.
SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites is the only luxury wine hotel in Latin America with fully integrated in-room spa features and services in each suite. Each suite features a steam room, sensations shower, and massage table. Four of the seven suites are also equipped with a dry sauna. Guests can enjoy the features at leisure or do a guided experience with the Wellness Butler. The seven individually designed spa suites, also have their own living room, terrace, and curated wine fridge. A highlight are the traditional blankets of dyed llama wool made by the rural women of Argentina. Turn down service of in room aromatherapy is prepared in the in-suite tub, shaped like the concrete egg wine tanks used in the fermentation process.
Additionally, the glass walled suites all feature a private garden with outdoor fire pit and heated loungers hidden from other guests by a wall of foliage and volcanic stone. Every guest is treated to a 15 min massage on arrival on their suite’s heated loungers.
Guided by the in-house Wellness Butler, guests can choose from a number of wellness rituals using local herbs and other ingredients a la carte. Treatments range from relaxing geothermal therapy massages to a body exfoliation with grape seeds. Two multi-sensory wellness rituals, Deluxe SB Detox Ritual and Deluxe SB Frutos De A Vid Ritual, offer a multi-step sequence with various therapies including a steam bath, restorative shower, hydration wraps, and massages, amongst other healing rituals, all lasting a total of three hours.
A yoga mat and exercise kit is also available. Guests can also contract with a personal trainer and have access and transportation to the top gym in Mendoza.
Food & Beverage
La VidA restaurant features Argentinian cuisine that exudes bold flavors with high quality, sustainable and organic ingredients. Guests can opt to dine in the dining room of the house or at the exclusive Chef’s Table for an intimate experience overlooking the open-flame cooking. The Chef’s Table menu offers a selection of carefully crafted local options, each paired with Susana Balbo or rare world prized wines. La VidA also offers a la carte and a four-course set dinner menu which can be paired with renowned wines or signature cocktails from the bar. Highlights of the signature wine cocktail menu include the Plum, made with Crios Rosé de Malbec, Aperol, plums and grapefruit oil, as well as the Lemon, made with limoncello, ginger, seasonal fermented fruit and Osadía Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs. A cellar features with the best Argentine and international wines.
Exclusive Experiences and Expeditions
Novel expeditions can be arranged by the house's Experience Curator, from an afternoon horseback or bike ride to multi-day trips on an exclusive private amphibious aircraft. Various excursions to emblematic destinations in Argentina, including San Raphael, Cafayate, Esteros del Iberá and Patagonia, on a day tour or a variety of two- or three-night air safaris are offered. The private seaplane, seating six persons, is fully equipped with high-end technology and ultimate comfort. It is the only aircraft of its kind in Latin America. Operated by Vision Air VIP, part of Susana Balbo Family Group, the unique programs provide the flexibility to reach remote destinations and create tours that are not available on commercial routes.
The Experience Curator can also arrange various activities for guests upon request including rafting, tennis, golf, yoga, horseback riding, rappelling, and more. Culinary experiences range from cooking and grilling classes of Argentine favorites, to guided Wine Tours and Tastings, wine blending, and more.
Inspired by the family history of winemaking, artwork from 20 prominent Argentine and Brazilian artists including renowned photographer Sebastiao Salgado are featured throughout the property and in the spa suites.
Showcased in the main house and the foundation for SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites, Susana commissioned the Tree of Life by Argentine plastic artist Sergio Roggerone to reflect her life story. Among its endless details, the work has a root that represents the enological origin of the hostess of the house. The trunk, made of papyrus that maintains the natural color of the passage of time, shows the growth through the years. The flowers, with their vibrant colors that excite at first sight, symbolize strength and femininity, entrepreneurship, and women's empowerment. The fruit-abundant and juicy- signify the reward for the effort and enjoyment of life. The birds are the representation of the family and the nourishment of the affection and companionship that give life and meaning to this mother-daughter project.
The property also features work from Viviana Herrera, Julia Le Parc, Fernando Jereb, Enrique Testasecca, Pablo Comadrán, Guillermo Rigattierise, Martín Villalonga, Helen Cohelo, among others.
Rates at SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites start at $780 through September and then $980 for the remainder of the year through high season in April. The hotel is for adults 15 years and older. Rates are per night in double occupancy, including breakfast.