I’ve always had a penchant for exotic massages, especially those that reflect a certain culture. Notwithstanding the foreign-sounding and often difficult-to-pronounce names of these treatments, getting them is like immersing yourself in an unfamiliar yet oh-so relaxing realm.
Buenos Aires is one such place that you’ll never regret immersing yourself in. Touted as the Paris of Latin America, theArgentine capital is teeming with a different kind of energy—sexy and romantic, vibrant and melancholic, confident and passionate.
Walking along the city streets gives a feel of grandness, with stately buildings lining the main avenue. One can find solace in quaint cafés, which are also the perfect places to relax and watch the Latin vibe come alive before your eyes.
There are several points of interest in Argentina. In Buenos Aires, a walk along the famed Caminito Street affords visitors a glimpse of Argentinian art. It is here where one can find tango dancers, artisans and a picturesque walkway lined with zinc shacks painted in bright colors.
Then there’s Palermo Soho, where one can find local designer boutiques, as well as trendy cafés and restos offering global cuisine.
To get the best of Argentina’s gaucho lifestyle, head to San Antonio de Areco, 75 miles from Buenos Aires. There are private ranches that open their doors to visitors to let them experience a day in the Argentinian Pampas.
Devout Catholics may go on the Pope Tour, which includes visits to places where Pope Francis grew up, including the church where he was baptized, the public elementary school he attended, the house where he spent his childhood, and even the place where he used to play football with his friends.
But, to me, a visit to Buenos Aires would not be complete without dancing the tango. The partner dance originated in the 1880s along the River Plate, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. It’s a fusion of African and European influences, with a popularity of global proportions.
There are several tango shows and tango schools in Buenos Aires offering classes for novices and professionals alike.
Tango houses such as Complejo Tango, Sabor a Tango and Piazolla include tango lessons, which precede an exquisite Argentinian dinner followed by a beautiful tango performance.
Undoubtedly, if there’s one thing Argentinians are passionate about other than football, it’s the tango, so much so that it’s an important part of their culture, including their own spa world.
The spaholic in me was thrilled to find out that, in lieu of a tango class, I could actually have a tango massage right in the comfort of the Four Seasons hotel’s Cielo Spa.
It offers a full range of spa treatments using the brand Germaine de Capuccini, a natural product line designed to relax, detoxify and harmonize the body.
The signature treatment I chose is called “Portengo Tango,” which includes choreographed massage techniques to the beat of classical tango music!
It starts with a body exfoliation using a special blend enriched with the antioxidant properties of natural red wine and vitamin E.
After that, my well-trained therapist performed the tango massage on my back using hot stones.
The strokes were really in synch with the tango music playing in the background. There would be moments when hard pressure was applied ever so slowly, just like the music; then, as it became more upbeat, the strokes would pick up speed as well.
It was a first for me, and my mind was debating whether I should stay on the massage table or just get up and dance!
That’s one of the perks of traveling —plunging into the unknown and unfamiliar, only to find a sweet surprise waiting just around the corner.