Estancia El Ombú
El Ombú takes its name from the only tree indigenous to the pampas, one of which looms over the yard that separates the estancia's stables from the two main buildings. The nine guest rooms, each assigned the name of a local bird rather than a number, are located in an 1890's building with soaring ceilings and furnished with European and Argentinean antiques such as brass beds and potbellied stoves—which are kept burning during the winter. The estancia has two pools, but few activities are offered beyond morning and afternoon horseback excursions. Thirteen friendly dogs, from German shepherds to dachshunds, roam the grounds and join the horses and guests on rides. Lunch, served fireside in winter and on the patio when the weather is mild, is a traditional asado, with platters of grilled steaks and sausages; the addition of day visitors from Buenos Aires on weekends makes this a boisterous event. Dinner is more subdued, and most guests retire early or take a glass of Malbec to the library or game room. Getting There The estancia is 75 miles by car from Buenos Aires, and private-car service can be arranged by the estancia, for $80 each way.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.