Buenos Aires is a lively tangle of fantastic restaurants and world-class museums – but I feel truly connected to the soul of the city when someone I barely know offers me a sip of their maté, or when I spy glasses of red wine dangling loosely from gesturing hands on the balconies of Art Nouveau buildings, precipitously close to being dropped to the sidewalk below. Jardín Escondido manages to capture that rare balance of cosmopolitan chic and small-town cosiness – all in a seven-bedroom hotel in leafy Palermo Soho. Perhaps it’s because the property was originally not a hotel at all but the private home of director Francis Ford Coppola. He bought the place while in Argentina working on his 2009 film Tetro and never fully left: Even since he converted it into a member of The Family Coppola Hideaways portfolio, staffers say, he still returns when he needs a place to write (and a taste of Malbec). Four rooms (Sofia and Ellie, and the Francis and Roman suites) retain the name of their former Coppola-family occupants. Besides adding star appeal, this Hollywood history turns every guest into a member of the extended Coppola family.
The candy-apple-red home, ensnared in foliage, is a big-city hideout with wine-country flavour: Think terra-cotta tiles, thick wool blankets, and colourful patterned throw pillows, an effortless aesthetic that extends to every room. There’s no traditional lobby but a foyer and a living room with plush couches and Coppola’s film collection. In the courtyard, a small emerald-toned pool is hugged by a tangle of elephant’s ears and ferns. Nearby, a small staircase leads up to the garden terrace, draped in trellis heavy with vines and open for guests at all hours. There you can while away the hours sipping wines selected from the house bar by an on-call sommelier, or reading a book snagged from the main house.
The personalised attention that guests at Jardín Escondido receive is rare. Each morning, herbs were picked from the garden around me to top my eggs. When the team noticed my love of maté, they began presenting me with a thermos every morning to take out into the city, a calming ritual I soon yearned for after checking out. When guests buy out the hotel, they can request services like calling in a master barbecuer so they can host their own parilla on the backyard grill. There is no on-site restaurant, no spa, and no gym – but that’s what makes Jardín Escondido special. Here, luxury is soft-spoken and demonstrated in the quality of service. Every stay feels like a visit to a fabulous friend’s home in one of the world’s most culture-rich cities. From about £237. Megan Spurrell