In 1847, provincial warlord and later Argentine president Justo Jose Urquiza built a country mansion between the Uruguay and the Parana rivers. More than a century later, his grandson, Jose Francisco Saenz Valiente, bought the flood-ruined palace and converted it into the only hotel in Argentina that is also a national historical monument.
Santa Candida, a pleasant three-hour drive from Buenos Aires in the citrus-growing province of Entre Rios, provides a weekend in the countryside and a visit to another century.
Period furniture, neoclassical busts, antique tapestries and family portraits vie for attention with ornate fireplaces, Baccarat fruit bowls, marble and oak floors, 25-foot ceilings festooned with Venetian candelabra, and two 15-foot gilt-wrapped mirrors which, guests are told, belonged to actress Sarah Bernhardt.
Santa Candida is located on 100 park-like acres at the junction of two branches of the Uruguay River, five miles by dirt road from the Argentine town of Concepcion del Uruguay. There is a large swimming pool on the statue-dotted, landscaped grounds, which can be appreciated on foot, on horseback or in a pony trap. Also for rent are a catamaran and launches for water-skiing, fishing or river excursions.