As fashion trends went south of the border this spring with globally inspired prairie looks, so did O's editors: A trip to Argentina gave context to the clothes featured in the April 2009 story "Gaucho Chic", and Estancia El Rocío provided an authentic backdrop. Located on the expansive grasslands south of Buenos Aires, the five room inn is an hour and a half drive from the capital but worlds away from the bustle of city life.
Owner Patrice Gravière bought the ranch 20 years ago as a summer retreat before settling there with his wife full-time in 2003. Soon after, the couple decided to open up the property to travelers looking to unwind someplace remote and laid-back. "They make you feel like you're visiting someone's home rather than staying in a hotel," says Adam Glassman, O's creative director. "Everyone who works there is completely welcoming, and the rooms are very cozy but chic and sophisticated at the same time."
Furnished with antiques from across the country (a door from a Jesuit monastery in Córdoba) and the world (an 18th-century Portuguese armoire), the estancia makes guests feel as though they've entered another era without compromising on modern conveniences like Wi-Fi (available even in the barn). Ranch hands dressed in traditional garb give visitors a glimpse into the gaucho way of life by preparing an asado, a largescale open-fire barbecue. Beef tenderloin, sweetbreads, or a whole farm-raised lamb may be on the menu, and epicures can take cooking lessons and help prepare each day's meals (all of which are included in the cost per room). Go for a ride on one of the estancia's 60 polo-bred horses; the estate is an accredited member of the Argentine Polo Association and an affiliate of the U.S. Polo Association. Sports fans can learn from a staff of teaching pros how to balance the reins while swinging a mallet—or watch a match while soaking up rays at the pool.