In its glory days in the early 20th century the magnificent Hotel Edén gave life to the entire area, and turned the isolated towns in the Punilla Valley of the Sierras into a hot touristic spot. Opened in 1897 by a German hotelier, the opulent accommodation saw many rich and famous guests walk up its grand Carrara marble stairs, including Argentine presidents, actors, and even Albert Einstein.
Unfortunately, the story of the Edén would be tainted by another type of guest it hosted. It was a popular retreat for Nazi officials in the years leading up to World War II, and at one point its owners had ties to Adolf Hitler himself. (Some say the Führer actually stayed at the hotel.) When Argentina officially declared war against Germany in 1945, the Argentinian government seized the Eden Hotel because of its links to the enemy, and used it to house wartime diplomats.
After the war ended, there were several attempts to restore the hotel to its former glory, but they proved unsuccessful. It instead sat abandoned and deteriorating for many years. Finally, the crumbling structure was declared a Historical Monument in 1988, and that brought the necessary funds to reopen the historic architectural wonder as a museum.
Restoration is ongoing, but today the hotel is open for visitors and offers historical tours. You can see the different areas of the hotel, including the dining room, the solarium, the service area. The hotel also had its own power generator, a massive washing room believed to prevent tuberculosis, a big pool, a tennis court, and stables. One room is set up with an exhibit of items and photos from the Edén’s golden age in the early 20th century: women dressed in gala for supper, families traveling with their maids, and big piles of trunks full of clothes for the whole summer.