In Argentina, Swiss entrepreneurs create Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel and Spa, a boutique experience that goes above and beyond.
By Michelle F. Solomon
If there’s one place on earth where wine aficionados can fully immerse themselves, Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel and Spa in the Mendoza countryside of Argentina is it. You can literally bathe yourself in wine. For those who have never heard of vineotherapy treatments, a visit to Entre Cielos is something that needs to be put on the top of your bucket list.
Mendoza is one of the largest wine regions in the world and recognized as the second home of the Malbec grape. The 16-room boutique hotel is on 20 acres of Malbec vines with a backdrop of the snowcapped Andes Mountains that gives the place a mystical tranquility.
Co-owner Cécile Adam explains how the fantastic Entre Cielos got its start with a group of three friends who had a vision and a dream to create a place to share with others that would provide inspiring experiences and life-enriching moments. “It would also produce wine,” says Adam, “which is one of the nicest door openers to connect people.”
Adam and two other friends and their families traveled from Switzerland to France and Argentina looking for a place to transform. The friends had varied backgrounds, but all had the same philosophy on life: “Make the best of your time on earth, do what you dream for, and don’t be scared of the unknown.”
The group’s motivation to realize their dream inspired other family members. “In the end, we were 12 people moving to Argentina. Everyone had fallen in love with the charming wine region, Mendoza.” They found an abandoned vineyard in the Lujan de Cuyo wine area, a 20-minute drive from Mendoza, and opened the hotel in 2011.
After the operation of the hotel started, the majority of the group went back to Switzerland, Adam explains. “Mostly the ones with children.” Three of the Swiss entrepreneurs stayed behind to manage the resort. In addition to Adam, there’s David Wäger and his sister, Judith Wäger.
There is so much to revel in at Entre Cielos, where Adam says guests enjoy a “modern Mendoza experience.” Ultra-modern architecture and highly stylized rooms offer contrast to the natural surroundings of the working vineyard right outside your door. It is a bit like heaven on earth and Entre Cielos certainly lives up to its name, which translates to “between heaven.”
While all of the accommodations have an exceptional uniqueness, the Limited Edition Vineyard Loft is unlike anything else. The room, named Rosa Blanca, stands in the open on stilts above the vineyards. It has a style that looks like it’s landed from space with its futuristic styling. There’s a Jacuzzi on the terrace and a window in the roof where guests of the abode can sip the fruits of the vineyard’s bounty and delight in the starry sky that overlooks the loft, creating a view that seems like it was painted by Van Gogh.
Each room is named in some fashion for wines, such as the Classic — Classics are honest and unique, with powerful colors and a bouquet that can develop enormously. Young wines are often vivacious and lively, according to Adam, and that’s the name given to the four standard rooms that are named after typical Malbec aromas — Castanas, Casis, Canela, Cardamomo. Reserva suites, duplexes, are where demanding connoisseurs can unwind. Reserva wines are noted for their maturity and harmony; Gran Reserva are complex, structured wines with singular aromas. The Grand Cru Granada master suite has a rainforest shower and terrace by the vineyard.
“Landscaping for us was as important as the architecture,” says Adam. “Daniela Wäger, the creative mind in our Swiss group, designed the garden and the interiors, together, with a local team. The idea was to work with modern elements like concrete, window walls, and forms to give everything a cozy feeling.”
There really is no other place like Entre Cielos. Adding to that designation is the hotel spa’s first traditional hamam in Latin America. The thousand-year old concept uses heat and water at different temperatures to rid the body of accumulated toxins and relax the mind to a degree you may not think possible.
There are many things to delight in, but when in Rome — well, in this case Mendoza — indulge. Being in the heart of a wine region, the hamam treatment experts have created a Wine Grape Therapy. Vineotherapy includes grape treatments such as a body exfoliation that uses grape seeds, a wine bath of grape extracts that maximizes the vitamins and minerals from the grapes to soften and soothe the skin, and grape seed and oil massages.With eight acres of Malbec grapes, along with some Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Entre Cielos produces three lines of its own exclusive wines named Marantal.
“Our wines are different than the average Argentinian wine,” says Adam. “When we first arrived, the vineyard of 80-year-old Malbec was dried out, so we needed to plant new Malbec.” And they sought out the best winemaker in the area to work with them in shaping the new vineyard and creating their own wines. Huber Weber, the winemaker, creates the wines in a traditional French style with Malbec, then takes various components of other wines to create a custom concoction that results in an award-winning formula.
The resort also capitalizes on it being in a place where meeting around a coal fire for a meal is a social occasion. Twice weekly, Entre Cielos invites guests to an asado, which literally means barbecue, for an open-fire meal. Guests make their own empanadas of beef and eat generous portions of steak as part of The Beef Club.
“We have the best meat in Mendoza, but this recognition has yet to come, as we just inaugurated it. Best, because our ‘asador’ has a special gift for treating fire, coals, and the meat. Since we opened, even Argentines have said, it’s the best meat they have eaten so far.”