We are a young British couple that stayed in Mendoza for three nights in March-14. Overall we had a great stay and this is an incredible hotel, but there were some issues with service which need to be addressed for a hotel of this price / quality.
Having stayed in quite a few luxury hotels (inc other Relais & Chateaux) we both agreed that this was the nicest room we have ever been in. Every room is effectively a small apartment with: a lounge area inc cable TV; king size bed with fireplace; bathroom with both bath and shower; patio with plunge pool and outdoor shower; and finally a private roof terrace overlooking the vineyards with views of the Andes.
These rooms are incredibly nice and even people with the highest expectations will be impressed.
One small criticism is that the plunge pool was freezing cold and not usable, even though it was very hot during the day (by English standards!) - if they want this to be a year round hotel, they should consider heating the plunge pools.
The main building has a restaurant with both indoor & outdoor seating, wine cellar in the basement, a small outdoor pool (also unheated), small gym and spa.
The Spa was incredible (and my wife in particular used it a lot!) - a large enclosed areas with a couple of hot tubs, treatment areas, wine baths, etc. Very good treatments and reasonably priced as its quoted in Pesos (which have devalued massively recently, so cheap deals might not last long!).
The entire hotel is set in a vineyard which is a lovely touch. All of the Cavas wine is consumed on-site by the hotel itself, so it's the only place in the world where you can find it! We had a few bottles and they were fantastic.
Our initial impression of the food after our first lunch was fantastic. However, we also had a few dishes which seriously under-impressed, including the worst starter we have ever had in a moderately nice restaurant (it was a starter that translated as "green salad" for US $20 which turned out to be literally a pile of lettuce with some olive oil dressing - my wife joked about rabbit food, but this was the laziest bit of cooking I have ever seen).
Unfortunately the service was a bit of a mixed bag. As typical Brits we hate complaining but had a number of things which were below par for this standard of hotel such as:
- at one dinner, the sommelier brought the wrong vintage of wine, then when we challenged it she argued saying they were all the same anyway and charged us the same price despite the wine being two years younger (and this is the sommelier in a luxury wine lodge, saying that vintage of a wine is irrelevant!).
- we ordered our romantic dinner on the private balcony and they brought the wrong main course
- we asked for a number of things at reception such as items for our mini bar, changes to our itinerary and had lovely response of "yes definitely" but then nothing happened until we chased i.e. they didn't leave you with the sense that you could fully relax, confident that they would take care of everything
To their credit, once we brought issues to their attention (e.g. vintage of wine and green salad), they offered us a discount and assured us they were currently in the process of kitchen/staff changes, which might explain the odd menu/service during the time we were there.
Currency on deposit (IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ)
Finally, when we checked out we realised that they had made a mistake in their currency calculation which effectively added 10% to our total room bill! I work in finance and understood the mistake, but had to argue with the reception team who then had to call the founders, who were absolutely lovely once they realised what had happened (and admitted we were right after a period of explanation) but fundamentally realised their system automatically miscalculates their deposit value.
This applies to anyone who paid a deposit before the Argentinian peso had a massive devaluation (I think around Feb-14) but then stayed in the hotel after the devaluation.
It's a slightly confusing concept, but basically what they do is agree the price in US$ (say $2,000) and then take a deposit (say $500) and ask for the balance on checkout (in this case $1500). The problem is that when you get the bill, they convert everything to local currency for actual charging, and they use the FX rates at the time, so your original deposit of $500 goes onto the bill at an exchange rate which implies that it's only worth $300.... So when they ask you for the final amount they claim you only paid $300 and ask for $1,700, when in reality you paid $500 at the time, it just so happens that their currency has plummeted.
Hopefully they have corrected this in the accounts, but it was a major mistake and means there are probably hundreds of guests who have effectively been short changed through their calculation methodology.
It's hard to fault the rooms, building, location and quality of wine! All of which deserve more than five stars. However, the service and food both need to improve for this to compete with other hotels in the same price bracket. The founders seemed lovely and I am sure they will be able to do it, they just need to find the right staff (go and poach Juan Hom at Ojo de Agua the organic vineyard, he was the best restaurant manager / host we have seen in a long time!)
Would definitely recommend this hotel to others as hopefully these service issues can be resolved in the short term! Celia and her husband were great hosts and I am sure they will continue to go from strength to strength with Cavas.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Cavas Wine Lodge is located amid the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the fertile, green vineyards of Mendoza. It is the fist hotel in Mendoza dedicated to wine and all its secrets. Guests are drawn to the Cavas Wine Lodge for its privacy, tranquility and unmistakable romance. Guests are encouraged to indulge in wine, food, luxurious spa treatments and the surrounding natural beauty. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cavas Wine Hotel Agrelo
- Cavas Wine Mendoza
- Cavas Wine Lodge Mendoza/Lujan De Cuyo, Argentina