Alvear Palace Hotel Photo Shoot, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“When commissioning a photographic shoot, the hotel management needs to consider the question, “Why is this hotel special?“ and we will ensure that uniqueness is captured.”
Hotel photographer Michelle Chaplow recounts anecdotes from the photo shoot.
The Hotel Essence team and I were commissioned to shoot the The Alvear Palace in November, which is the Argentinian spring. During this month, the streets of Buenos Aires are ablaze with purple jacaranda trees and lilac agapanthus. This timing inspired our creative direction for the shoot; we used national, in-season flowers, carefully procured under the expert guidance of the two in-house florists, Nora and Elisa, who have worked at the Alvear Palace for 30 years. You wouldn’t believe how helpful such familiar knowledge of a hotel is when you are on a shoot; they knew every corner of the hotel and could retrieve every available vase, from antique cut-glass to beautiful ornate Chinese pieces.
The flower market, situated on the outskirts of the town, opens at 5 AM and by this early hour, queues have already formed. The colours and perfumes of the vibrant blooms brought the lofty warehouse to life. The flowers that we collected for the shoot went on to serve excellent further use, adorning the rooms, halls and public spaces of the Alvear Palace. They were on display for days, to be admired by passing guests.
As well as floral arrangements, the styling for the Alvear Palace photo shoot included numerous pieces of top-quality leather luggage and accessories, sourced from the finest leather stores in Buenos Aires. It was a joy for stylist Andreea Gherasim to contribute to this special selection process and support historical local business.
It was a delight for the whole team to work at this hotel. The staff were proud to be part of the Alvear and their pride showed; this is one of those hotels where you are likely to meet two or three generations of the same family working side by side. The Alvear Palace photo shoot captured both a landmark historical property, as well as the impeccable service of the reputable staff.
The hotel experience
The Alvear Palace is a hive of activity; butlers unpack, repack, mend things and fill the bathtub. The chambermaids rush up and down their iconic spiral staircase, which is over 100 years old, reminiscent of a bygone age of travel. These are the essential details of hospitality at the Alvear Palace; when commissioning a photographic shoot, the hotel management needs to consider the question, “Why is this hotel special?“. Hotel Essence Photography prides itself on its ability to capture this uniqueness. Therefore, in their portfolio of images for the Alvear, you will see; the maid walking up the stairs, the butler service, the bathtubs, the palatial rooms and the gourmet food. The image shortlist also included Sunday brunch, an iconic afternoon tea, bellboys, the doorman, the bartenders in their scarlet suits and jet-black bowties, as well as an abundance of flowers.
The Alvear Palace is a truly unforgettable hotel, not just because of its lavish history, which is visible in its sumptuous interiors, but also because of the pride taken by the staff in their work. Their impeccable service and presentation are what really stand out to guests.
Alvear Palace hotel history
In the world of luxury historic hotels, the Alvear Palace is one of the Grande Hotel Dames of Latin America. As a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide™, it sets the standard for luxury historic hotels in the Argentinian capital. It is located in La Recoleta, a neighbourhood seen by many visitors as the “Paris of South America” due to the prevalence of French architecture on its streets.
The hotel was originally built by Buenos Aires businessman and socialite Dr Rafael de Miero to accommodate the many European tourists visiting the city. Miero’s trips to Paris in the early 1920s inspired the hotel’s French-style interiors. It opened in 1932 and, in its own words, became ‘a model of the highest expression of refinement’. It has been part of the Alvear Luxury Hotels group since 1984, and in 1993 was added as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World.
The hotel has accommodated many notable guests, including actor Tony Curtis and his family while he filmed Taras Bulba in 1962, as well as Tom Cruise, Muhammad Ali, Vladimir Putin, and Prince Charles. The Alvear Palace has also featured in films, including II Gaucho (1964), The Things of Love, Part II (1995), and Walt & El Grupo (2009).