A Visit to Finca La Gracia, Argentina
With her extended family in tow, our finance director Ana Maria Gutierrez discovers a party for the senses at Finca La Gracia in Argentina's wine country.
A few weeks ago, my family and I returned home from a very special trip to the Mendoza wine region in Argentina. It was a special holiday, not only because it was our first family trip since before the pandemic, but also because it's one of the properties that we have the honor of featuring in the BoutiqueHomes collection. I was afraid I was going to be a bit biased, but the truth is my family fell as hard in love with Finca La Gracia as I did.
I had the opportunity to talk to the owners prior to my visit. They were so lovely. Gracia and Gustavo have created a house in the middle of nowhere with all the commodities and everything you can think of to live in it. But most importantly, and what I think makes the Finca a BoutiqueHomes property, is that the house tells a story, one where you can clearly "meet" the people behind such special space.
Gustavo is from Argentina, he is an editor, a reader, a writer, a thinker… and I could see how his personality was showcased in the library at the house. That was my personal favorite space. I was able to work, big windows to my back. When you opened them, a lavender garden greeted you, visually stunning, and a natural air freshener. I found myself staring at the bumblebees doing their dance, minding their own business, and just like that I ended up with a smile on my face. Being surrounded by books, in a quiet and spacious room with time to really concentrate on what you are doing, whether it is working, drawing or writing, that was something I had not experienced in a long time, and it felt like the right mixture of business and pleasure.
Gracia is from Spain, and as soon as I entered the house, I could feel her roots. The house has the "colonial house" feel, where rooms are arranged around the courtyard. The décor is current and indigenous and very personal. And it’s no wonder, as the house was built from scratch. What started as a birthday gift for Gracia in 2005—a flat, treeless piece of desert—resulted in a magical place. Gustavo and Gracia not only created a beautiful house lived in and enjoyed by their family (they have three kids, now fully grown), but also gave birth to a successful walnut-exporting and wine-making business (a very crisp and delicious Malbec called Apostrophe). The house is surrounded by vines and trees (walnut, apple, peaches, figs and quince), not to mention the vegetables in the orchard or the lavender and rosemary gardens. The last two are, in my personal opinion, the protagonists of the surroundings.
The hallways around the main courtyard are lined by hammocks (which we made great use of!), and all through the house are personal touches from the owners. The entrance has a blackboard where guests can leave messages and a beautiful bound notebook where guests can write not only reviews but also family recipes—a very clever idea since you’ll be cooking and those recipes will come in handy.
Lavender arrangements through the house, straw hats hanging from wall pegs, antiques here and there, an open kitchen which allows a group to convene where people universally like to gather… One of the rooms has a cupboard full of board games and activities which was a big hit with my children. Even I was drawn to it as they had blank notebooks for the kids (and grown-ups, I assumed) to draw on.
We were a group of ten. Two couples with two kids each, aged between ten and fifteen. My in-laws joined us for four of the six nights, and they could not have been more in awe of the place. It was so nice to see them take a break and relax, do nothing but sleep, eat, drink wine, and play burako (rummy). Now that’s a vacation.
We were very comfortable in the four rooms of the main house, two rooms (where all the kids stayed) shared a bathroom, the other two were ensuite. There was also a little apartment attached to the house, which could accommodate up to four people, with an independent entrance and kitchen, which was perfect for my in-laws.
Our days at the Finca were a party for the senses. The views! Being at the feet of the Andes, you wake up, open the door, and see the peaks of those majestic mountains.
Smell… did I mention how much I loved the lavender gardens? The bath products were heavenly and, best of all, locally produced.
Taste… we had a private chef cooking dinner two nights, and the food was amazing! Three-course restaurant service in the comfort of your own home, with wine, sweet fruit, and fresh veggies from the garden in your salad.
Sound… complete silence to sleep to, interrupted only by nature, nothing severe or loud, barely perceptible sounds such as the breeze going through the vines, almost like a background lullaby. And during the day, laughter from the kids, splashes in the pool, friendly conversations, the clinking of wine glasses.
Touch… feeling the coolness of the pool when the temperature rose and the warmth of the fire at night when it dropped, soft linens and all the hugs from my lovely family, grateful for bringing them to this piece of paradise.
Lucas, the on-site manager, was someone I could relate to when it came to his passion for the hospitality business. His goal was to make us feel at home, which he succeeded at. The hosts offer a wide array of services at a cost, including breakfast, private dinners, shopping, transfers, activities, and massage. But, at no cost, you have a welcome basket with the basics like coffee, tea, biscuits, salty snacks and, of course, wine and walnuts. A very welcome surprise was the laundry service, again free of charge, a lifesaver when I realized asking my kids to pack their own bags meant only two pairs of socks and underwear for fifteen days.
But not everything was complete relaxation; there was also adventure. The kids went horseback riding and rafting. Mendoza is full of activities for lovers of the outdoors. And for those who prefer exemplary cuisine and world-class wines, there is also the option of going to the nearby vineyards—but make sure to ask Lucas to help you organize a shuttle service to get back to the house!
This is the kind of place where your only problem could very well be where to take a nap… a room with giant windows overlooking the lavender gardens, the hammock in the courtyard, the chaise by the pool, or the couch in the library?
I’m already looking forward to returning to Finca La Gracia one day. Thank you, Gracia and Gustavo, for creating such a special place.