In 1906 the National Congress moved from the adjacencies of the Plaza de Mayo to its current building on Avenida Entre Ríos. In this way, the monumental scale auction of the East-West axis of Avenida de Mayo was completed.
More importantly, the building of the architect Vittorio Meano generated a landmark for the development of political activities in a new area, located on both sides of Boulevard Callao, as it was known then to the current avenue.
It was the time of economic progress as never before seen in Argentina. Year after year the frontiers of agriculture and livestock were extended, while the country received waves of immigrants willing to live their dream of prosperity in the new continent. The figures of a census of the City of Buenos Aires indicated that it was populated by something more than a million inhabitants. In 1908 the Teatro Colón was inaugurated while in the field of popular music the tango was furor in Buenos Aires and Montevideo with the success of "El choclo" and "La Morocha" recorded by the Victor label.
The intense political activity that took place inside the parliament extended beyond its walls, turning Boulevard Callao northward into the vibrant artery that linked the area surrounding Congress with the Recoleta.
Buenos Aires received the visit of important personalities who demanded first class hotels for their stays in the Paris of South America. It was the time when, preparing for the Centennial celebrations of the May Revolution of 1810, the Palace, Plaza, Majestic, Paris and Savoy hotels opened their doors.
The owners of the Savoy, conceived a great luxury hotel located just a couple of blocks from the Plaza del Congreso and many others from Corrientes Street - still narrow - which was then the epicentre of the Buenos Aires night entertainment. They filled their theatres and cafes.
The project was entrusted to the architect Gerónimo Agostini. Of Italian origin, Agostini erected a beautiful five-story building in Eclectic style, with strong influences from the Milanese Liberty. As it was a corner property, the skilled professional linked the facades on Callao and Cangallo with an important dome that dialogued with the mansards. The opulent interiors of the hotel were dressed in a refreshing modernism with clear allusions to the Viennese Secession.
The presence of the Savoy was a foundational milestone on the Boulevard. Over the years, real estate investors gave Callao a particular edilicia imprint with notable buildings for commercial and residential use, among which the music house of Max Glucksmann stood out on the corner with Bartolomé Miter and the fashion store Mussion at the junction with Sarmiento.
The celebration of the Centennial was the biggest party in the history of Argentina. For 2 weeks the city of Buenos Aires received the visit of numerous foreign committees, the most important being that of Infanta Isabel. During the night, the Avenida de Mayo and the Plaza del Congreso were illuminated "a giorno" The Hotel Savoy, so close to where the historic celebrations took place, was fully occupied by the delegations of the countries that participated in the Centennial celebrations.
A few years later the Confitería del Molino opened its doors, where it was not unusual to see politicians drinking coffee, but the most important political meetings took place in the most intimate setting of the Savoy. It was in one of the rooms of the great hotel on Callao Avenue that in December 1914 Lisandro de la Torre founded the Progressive Democratic Party. The privileged location of the Savoy made it the place where all kinds of manifestations of culture were developed and there were numerous artists, musicians and singers who performed in the theatres of Corrientes Street. The hotel lounges were ideal for tributes, charity dinners, weddings and social gatherings, as well as elegant Carnival dances.
In the thirties, the inauguration of the Lacroze underground line (today line B) and the widening of Corrientes Avenue were two urban landmarks. The new theatres, the traditional bookstores and the busiest cafes in the city were only 200 meters from the Savoy.
At the beginning of the 70s the return of political activity meant that the salons of the Hotel Savoy were used by the parties from all over the spectrum that were going to participate in the presidential elections of 1973. There were events organized by La Hora del Pueblo and even the Peronist Youth When the coup d'état took place in 1976, all partisan activity ceased, although in 1977 the Socialist Américo Ghioldi, who had initially supported the military government, gave a lecture at the Savoy in which he said that the time had come to call elections. Regrettably, this took place in 1983 but, some time before, the politicians grouped in the Multipartidaria met in the halls of the hotel.
The validity of the republican system and the consequent freedom of expression created the conditions for the resurgence of artistic activities in the San Martin Cultural Center, of which the Savoy is only a few hundred meters away. Since then Corrientes Avenue is experiencing a welcome theatrical revival with the opening of new rooms.
On the other hand, the resumption of political activity brought the Savoy to a new generation of representatives of the most diverse currents. As proof of loyalty to the hotel that saw it born, in 2004 the Democratic Progressive Party recalled its founding in the same room as Lisandro de la Torre.
Savoy Hotel Today
In recent years the city of Buenos Aires became aware of the importance of its rich architectural heritage. Callao Avenue has been declared a protected area and the magnificent buildings that adorn it cannot be demolished.
Keeping alive the splendour of the Belle Epoque, the Savoy is nowadays a hotel equipped with the most advanced technology and a level of services to match the best hotels in the world.
The meeting rooms of the Savoy remain as places of old to celebrate agreements and unite wills in pursuit of the progress of the Republic. The Salón Imperio, a serene space decorated in the purest Central European style, is the inspiring setting for a break before or after a business meeting but it can also be the ideal place for a handshake that seals a good agreement between parties.