First international tourist destination. Pride and weakness of the Argentinian aristocracy from the 1900s. A story both unique and majestic. Ladies and Gentlemen, the grand Club Hotel Sierra de la Ventana.
When back in the early 1900s, the concept of tourism we have today did not exist, a group of Argentinian and English visionaries began to raise the foundations of a huge dream.
So big and majestic was it that even today, after one century, turned into ruins and abandoned to the passing of time, it keeps attracting guests who are pleased with just touring its corridors, its halls and what is left of its exotic and extravagant rooms.
From Health Care Center to Majestic Hotel
During one of his visits to Sierra de la Ventana, Mr. Félix Muñoz M.D., specialist in respiratory diseases, found a healthy kind of weather ideal to cure respiratory and nervous disorders. Soon, he had an idea: building a large hospital there would be a good investment.
Mr. Manuel Láinez M.D., a friend of Mr. Muñoz's and owner of a significant portion of land in Sierra de la Ventana, resolved to include the British company Southern Railway in the project. This company's line used to cross the pampa
towards the Southwest heading for Bahía Blanca
was representing good profits for the British. Therefore, they saw an excellent opportunity to increase passenger traffic even more across this beautiful area: building a huge and ostentatious hotel resort. Totally unforeseen, not only for Argentina which was still undergoing consolidation, but also for the old Europe, where the meaning of the word “tourism” was still unknown.
So, in August 15, 1903, the hotel train station was inaugurated. Later on, it would be called Sauce Grande Station, and at present, it bears the name of Sierra de la Ventana.
Nevertheless, the departure of the sailors to their country of origin let oblivion and abandonment succeed once again. The projects of relaunching the venue, as well as the constant franchises, could not achieve any result. Eventually, in 1978, the demolition works began.
In July 8, 1983, the Gran Club Hotel Sierra de la Ventana was devoured by a fire some people claim to have been intentional. However, the experts assured it was an accident. Although today it lies in ruins, almost one century after its inauguration, its track continues to motivate permanent visits.
Bear in mind: In Sierra de la Ventana, it is possible to find a book which tells this story with perfect detail and includes stuff such as the list of remarkable surnames that were present during the inauguration party or the complete menu served to the hotel guests in those days. This small jewell, called “Club Hotel de la Ventana, the Story of a Giant” by its creators, was written by Stella Maris Rodríguez and Sergio G. Rodríguez, two ancient denizens of Sierra de la Ventana who still keep the hope that one day the hotel can be what it used to be once more.