Hot Spot: Casa Los Sauces

El Calafate, Argentina

Built on the edge of this frontier town, this new estancia-style hotel makes an ideal base for exploring Perito Moreno glacier and the Patagonian ice fields. It's owned by Argentina's First Couple—Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Néstor Kirchner, the current and last president—whose weekend getaway is next door. They know something about stress and promise maximum pampering.

Accommodations: The hotel is split into three ranches done in the traditional Patagonian style, using sheet metal, wood and granite. Each has a shared lounge leading into lavish suites endowed with heavenly beds, soft furnishings and sleek bathrooms.

Dining: Argentine celebrity chef Ramiro Rodriguez Pardo serves tender Patagonian lamb, fresh trout and king crab in the gourmet restaurant, La Comarca, all to be washed down with rich Malbec wines. The kitchen will pack extravagant picnic lunches with salmon sandwiches, flasks of crab bisque and homemade cookies.

Amenities: The hotel offers archery, fly-fishing lessons, evening lectures and stargazing, as well as spa treatments. But most come to explore the dramatic landscape, by foot, horseback or mountain bike. Guests can ice-trek on Perito Moreno glacier, or just watch the huge fragments calve off into Lago Argentina.