Cigar Aficionado

Review: Oak Bar, Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Review: Oak Bar, Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Oak Bar is an intimate setting resembling an upper-class Englishman’s club.
Inside an opulent Neoclassical palace, an Old World venue offers great food, drink and plenty to smoke

Set in the tony La Recoleta district, the Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is a reminder of the city’s Belle Époque past that was ubiquitous in the 1930s, wrapping anyone who strides through its grand hallways and other public spaces in a regal mantel.

This restored palace, the opulent former home of the wealthy Duhau family—Luis Duhau, a former minister of agriculture, commissioned this Neoclassical palace, completed in 1932—was inspired by the Château du Marais in Le Val-Saint-Germain, France. Luxurious embellishments abound, from Baccarat chandeliers to gold frieze, travertine and detailed ironwork.

Those who ascend to the Piano nobile floor will discover the Oak Bar, an intimate setting resembling an upper-class Englishman’s club where patrons light up, settling into one of several leather wingback chairs that were imported from Sao Paolo. It’s likely that they’ll rub shoulders with high-profile politicians and leaders from the financial world, as well as a motley array of other national and international guests who gravitate here for the private, relaxing atmosphere.

The most iconic feature of this aptly named lavish den is the 17th century boiserie that originally decorated a château in Normandy. The designs, carved in European oak, are elaborate, with floral, medieval and Elizabethan motifs. With a soaring ceiling, French doors opening to a terrace overlooking a verdant garden and a wood-burning fireplace with an ornate wooden mantel, this Old World venue is welcoming through the seasons.

A safe from the original palace has been repurposed as a cigar humidor. The Oak Bar stocks many cigar brands and more than two dozen facings. Among the most popular are the Cohiba Maduro Magicos ($92, all prices converted to U.S. dollars) and Secretos ($52),  Montecristo Edmundo ($56), and the Partagás Serie P No. 2 ($49). Though most of the cigars are imported from Cuba, guests will also find La Aurora’s León Jimenes (Dominican Republic), and Maria Guerrero (Honduras).

The most iconic feature of this aptly named lavish den is the 17th century boiserie that originally decorated a château in Normandy. The designs, carved in European oak, are elaborate, with floral, medieval and Elizabethan motifs.
The most iconic feature of this aptly named lavish den is the 17th century boiserie that originally decorated a château in Normandy. The designs, carved in European oak, are elaborate, with floral, medieval and Elizabethan motifs.

Among the numerous libations, the whiskey menu is especially extensive, with single malts from different distilleries in Scotland, including The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie, two of the most popular. Oenophiles can choose from a varied selection of Argentine wines, such as the Angelica Zapata Malbec from Mendoza, the country’s largest wine-growing region. But, there are also fine wines sourced from other parts of South America, including Patagonia, and from countries as far as Spain and South Africa.

For a pre-dinner indulgence, the tapas-sized snacks appeal to all palates. Seafood-lovers favor the seared red tuna with chile marmalade and pistachio, while the wagyu-beef sliders topped with cheddar cheese are a heartier choice, and an empanada stuffed with Brie, caramelized onions and raisins is a scrumptious vegetarian option.

All the cheeses are brought up from the hotel’s cheese cave, which holds almost 50 different types. The cheeses come from the surrounding provinces of Buenos Aires, such as Lincoln, which produces a Swiss-like variety, and Las Flores, known for goat’s milk cheeses. Those considering one of the cheese plates will relish a selection tailored to their tastes and preferences. The hotel’s maître fromager also partners with the sommelier to ensure an ideal wine and cheese pairing.

Many patrons who step onto the terrace find it hard to leave, owing to the pastoral views of the French-landscaped garden that connects the Palace with the hotel’s second building, the contemporary Posadas. In this lush expanse, ivy climbs the walls and water tumbles down the slope to a water lily-laden pool. This tiered oasis where French roses, ginkgo trees, azaleas and other botanicals grow is attractive as a venue for a bucolic respite or a confidential business meeting. Many choose to stroll the Parisian stone walkways, or relax in the shade of century-old trees or on one of the sunny terraces.

Also worth exploring is an underground walkway beneath the garden. The Paseo de las Artes serves as an on-site gallery, adorned with the contemporary works of prominent Argentine artists. Precious paintings from such notables as Fernando Botero, Guillermo Roux and Rómulo Macció can also be found in the hotel’s other public spaces.

Oak Bar
Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Avenida Alvear 1661
Buenos Aires, Argentina C1014AAD
+54 11 5171 1234
https://buenosaires.park.hyatt.com

Open Sundays through Thursday: 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.