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The Sofitel is tucked away down Arroyo street in the neoclassical Bencich Tower adjacent to Plaza San Martin, a block away from the site of the 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing.
Built in 1929 for Yugoslav ship owner Mihanvich, who wanted immigrants to see the 80-metre skyscraper as they arrived at the port, and developed in 2000 by architects Daniel Fernandez & Asociados and Pierre-Yves Rochon, who designed the New York Sofitel, this 20-floor pile has been cleverly linked to two matching buildings in front of the tower by a glass roof.
The transparent ceiling unites the three buildings to form a beautifully lit aquarium lobby, which guests must walk through to reach the foot of the tower where the front desk is located. Visually, this is a masterpiece, so make sure the bell-boy takes your bags before you enter the hotel so that you can look skyward.
Up in the tower, the magnolia rooms do not quite do the lobby justice, but the marble bathrooms, seductive mustard upholstery and soft lighting will ensure you sleep well. Below the tower is a fitness centre and a narrow lap pool. Back up again to the lobby, the nicely understated Arroyo café is filled with mix of businessmen and stylish Europeans sipping coffee to the sound of chilled eclectic beats.