Our adventure through Argentina and Chile started off in the scenic wine region of Mendoza. We decided to spend 2 nights in Mendoza and 2 nights in the Uco Valley which is about an hour and 30 minutes from Mendoza. Our first stop was the unique luxury boutique hotel, Cavas Wine Lodge. We were immediately drawn to the unique style of the villas and of course the views of the Andes Mountains, so we were excited to be able to see and experience Cavas Wine Lodge first hand.
We arrived hours late after an unfortunate situation where our luggage was stolen at the end of our 24 hours in Santiago, which caused us to miss our original flight into Mendoza. A rough start to our trip of which we were very bummed that we missed an entire day at Cavas Wine Lodge. I notified the hotel before our arrival about the situation to let them know we would be late and Cecilia, the owner, and the concierge were quick to respond and offer assistance with notifying our car rental company and asked if there was any other way they could help. It was very unexpected and much appreciated given the added stress we were dealing with. Once we arrived in Mendoza (around 6:00pm) we quickly got our rental car and headed to Cavas Wine Lodge. It was about a 45-minute drive and quite easy to find since we made it just before the sunset.
We pulled up to the lobby and were greeted with champagne and open arms. The reception had been notified of our situation and everyone was very helpful and courteous and wanted to make certain that from the moment we arrived we would be in good hands and could put the travel mishaps behind us.
We were given a quick tour of the main lodge including the restaurant, lounge areas, wine cave, meeting space, outdoor entertaining area, pool, spa, and gym.
We were then led to our villa in the vines (room #11) which was just a short stroll through the vineyards.
When we entered our villa there was a nice welcome card with a bottle of Malbec and fruit from the Cavas Team.
As you enter the room there is a sitting area with a couch, coffee table, and mini bar that has a slider that opens up onto the patio. Just beyond the sitting room is the bedroom, which looks out over the vines. The bathroom is fully equipped with a claw bathtub (which I fully took advantage of) and a shower and is stocked with house amenities, that I loved.
The private patio has a small plunge pool and lounge chairs for relaxation and the best part of the villa (in my opinion) has to be the rooftop viewing deck. The deck has cozy lounges and a fireplace, perfect place to watch the sunset with a bottle of Malbec.
After we got settled in and showered we had to quickly head out for dinner as we had reservations at Frances Mallman's Siete Fuegos. We found out that the restaurant was over an hour away which did not sound like the ideal option for us especially given the day we had just had. We felt bad canceling so we decided to try and make it and unfortunately got very (very) lost. We had no cell service at all as we were trying to connect to google to get our bearings. We eventually got some service and I called
We eventually got some service and I called Cavas' reception for assistance and they offered to call the restaurant and see if they could still take us given that we were going to be so late. Apparently there was a mix-up and they did not have us reserved at all!!! The concierge at Cavas said we were more than welcome to come back and join them for the winemakers dinner. We were so glad we did!
We got back to the hotel and were led directly to our table and were greeted immediately with a glass of wine and amuse bouche. We had a 3-course dinner paired with house wines. The winemaker came to our table for every course explaining the wine we were about to try. Everything was delicious and was the perfect ending to our very hectic day. We decided to make it an early night and headed straight to bed so we could start fresh the next day.
We woke up early the next morning and enjoyed a lazy and relaxing couple of hours in our room. The Nespresso maker was fully stocked so we had a couple espressos in the room while we did a bit of work before heading to breakfast.
Breakfast is included with your stay at Cavas, which includes a beautiful spread of fresh fruits, nuts, yogurt, granola, cereals, cheeses, and cold cuts. You can also order from the a la carte menu, which has a selection of egg dishes to choose from.
We had planned to head straight to the gym after breakfast when the executive chef of Cavas, Leo, came by our table and told us that he was conducting a cooking class in the gardens in a few minutes and invited us to join. He was quite persuasive! We decided to change our plans and learn how to make traditional Argentine empanadas. A workout or empanadas with Leo....that was an easy decision!
We joined a group of 6 other guests along with the chefs for an afternoon of making empanadas and sipping delicious wine. While I do not eat meat, I still got my hands dirty and assisted with preparing these traditional treats. I really enjoy cooking at home and learning how to prepare and cook different cuisines so the cooking class was definitely a highlight for me. It was also a great a way to meet other guests and hear about their adventures and experiences. We even got to take home our Cavas Wine Lodge apron, which I will put to good use when I make vegetarian empanadas in my kitchen.
After our cooking class, we took a quick run through the gorgeous vines before heading out for lunch at a nearby vineyard.
It happened to be Sunday and many of the vineyards and tasting rooms are closed on Sundays so the hotel recommended a small family owned restaurant and vineyard, Ojo De Agua which was nearby and offered fish and vegetarian options for us.
We pulled up to the small restaurant, which had just a few tables outside in a very casual setting, it was exactly what we were hoping for. Lunch was a 3-course meal paired with wine. We started off with vegetable empanadas with a green salad, Salmon and grilled vegetables for our main course, and ended with a dessert trio with chocolate mouse, homemade brownie, and lemon sorbet. After lunch, we grabbed our glasses of wine and walked around the vineyard. It was a perfect, relaxing way to spend our first day in Mendoza.
After lunch, we headed back to Cavas Wine Lodge to take advantage of our villa and watch the sunset from our rooftop deck before heading to dinner.
We had dinner in the city of Mendoza at Francis Mallman’s 1884. 1884 is about 35 minutes from Cavas Wine Lodge. Cavas pulled some major strings to get us a reservation (we may have had to use an alias to get in) and the meal definitely lived up to our expectations. The restaurant is tucked away off of a neighborhood side street, very easy to miss but once you enter through the doors you are transported to an old-world 5-star dining experience. The food is all prepared outdoor on an open flame which you can see from your seat. We sat inside but had a seat right by the window. I am a huge fan of octopus and it was one of the best we have ever had. We also ordered a zucchini salad which was to die for as well as the cast iron fish of the day which happened to be a white salmon.
The restaurant is tucked away off of a neighborhood side street, very easy to miss but once you enter through the doors you are transported to an old-world 5-star dining experience. The food is all prepared outdoor on an open flame which you can see from your seat. We sat inside but had a seat right by the window. I am a huge fan of octopus and it was one of the best we have ever had. We also ordered a zucchini salad which was to die for as well as the cast iron fish of the day which happened to be a white salmon.
After dinner we headed outside to watch the chefs in action, moving from one fire to the next. I could have watched them for hours.
We headed back to the hotel and while we were quite stuffed, we had a nice surprise in our room, A bottle of white wine and a selection of desserts from the hotel. It was perfect that we had passed on dessert at dinner because we couldn't help but eat all the truffles in bed(yum).
The next morning it was already time to check out. We enjoyed one last breakfast on the restaurant patio and took our time enjoying the hotel before we checked out.
I even took advantage of the bubble bath which was much needed.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to utilize the spa. We had plans to do a couples massage and try out the wine bath and wine scrub which I had heard so many wonderful things about (no you can't drink the wine) but since we had missed a day we had to cancel it.
Before we had checked out the concierge had printed us a map of directions to get to the Uco Valley without us even asking for it and notified Casa De Uco, the hotel that we were headed to, that we were leaving and could expect us in a couple of hours.
2 nights and 1 full day was definitely not enough time to spend at Cavas Wine Lodge. Our only regret was that we did not stay one more night so that we could have another full day at Cavas and the area of Mendoza. If we could do it again we would stay 3 or 4 nights.
What We Loved
The Cavas Team - I can't express in words how wonderful the team at Cavas was. They take pride in their service and treat guests like they are a guest in their own home.
The Location - Cavas Wine Lodge is located just 40 minutes from the airport making it a great place to stay when you first arrive in Mendoza. While Uco Valley and Maipu Valley are worth visiting, both valleys are more than an hour from the hotel. We suggest staying at Cavas Wine Lodge when you first arrive in Mendoza for 3-4 nights and then visit one of the other valleys for 2-3 nights at the end of your time in Mendoza.
Included Activities + Amenities - There are a few amenities that I feel should be standard in most luxury hotels but many miss the mark (included breakfast, in-room Nespresso makers, bikes available for use, quality bathroom amenities, etc). Cavas Wine Lodge not only offered the majority of our must have included amenities, they also offer a few other perks that really made our stay special, which included the group outdoor cooking class, daily wine tasting in the wine cellar, and a complimentary bottle of wine plus fresh fruit upon arrival.
Privacy of the Villas - Each of the 14 villas are very private and all are set throughout the vineyards. We never felt like we had to close our blinds to change, whisper on our patio, or worry about other guests disturbing us. Cavas Wine Lodge is a perfect place for couples, honeymooners, or anyone looking for all the amenities of a full-service hotel but still enjoy the privacy and feeling of being in their own home.
What To Know
Mendoza is a very large region and everything is very spread out. There are only a handful of wineries with restaurants nearby and it is roughly 30 minutes into the town of Mendoza. If you plan to stay at Cavas for a few evenings we suggest talking to the concierge prior to arrival and make reservations for dining in advance. We also highly recommend having a rental car or making arrangements in advance for a private driver.
Many of the restaurants in the area offer pre-set menus with multiple courses for both lunch and dinner. If you have dietary restrictions inform the concierge so they can make arrangements accordingly.