Forested La Falda owes its origins to the Cruz del Eje railroad, which arrived here in 1892, and the grand Hotel Edén—now in ruins—that opened six years later. For much of the first half of the 20th century, it was the place for socialites summering in the Sierras—though its later history had a dark side. La Falda has become a more democratic destination, but its quiet tree-lined streets are still a contrast to raucously populist Carlos Paz  and Cosquín .
At the foot of Sierra Chica’s steeper western slope, 934 meters above sea level, La Falda (pop. about 17,000) is 19 kilometers north of Cosquín and 45 kilometers north of Villa Carlos Paz via RN 38. Most businesses are on or near Avenida Edén, which leads east off the highway.
In its heyday, 1898 to about 1945, Hotel Edén hosted figures of the stature of president Julio A. Roca, Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, Albert Einstein, and the Prince of Wales. Its second set of German owners, though, were Nazi sympathizers, and the Argentine government expropriated the property after declaring war on Germany on March 28, 1945.
After closing in 1965 and being ransacked by locals—including its supposed custodians—in the 1970s and 1980s, today it’s a ghostly grand hotel offering only hints of what it once was. Some locals, though, take pride in at least part of its history and dream of the day that it might reopen—many years and millions of dollars in the future, if ever. Partly restored, Hotel Edén (Avenida Edén s/n, tel. 03548/42-6643) is open for guided tours 9 a.m.–8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. weekends. Admission costs US$5.50.
La Falda has abundant accommodations that offer, in general, more spacious grounds and greater quiet than those in Cosquín  or Carlos Paz . Few accommodations in its price range can boast a pool, but the shoestring Hostería Marina (Güemes 134, tel. 03548/42-2640, US$12 pp) can.
Well-landscaped Hotel Old Garden (Capital Federal 28, tel. 03548/42-2842, oldgarden [at] arnetbiz [dot] com [dot] ar, US$34 s, US$47 d) also has a pool and exceptionally friendly management that also handles English and German.
With its lush grounds and huge pool, Hotel Scala (Avenida Edén 450, tel. 03548/42-3072, www.scalahotel.com.ar , US$52 d) is a contradiction—well past its 1960s prime even though the rooms are large and functional. It’s suffering deferred maintenance, but if you can look past chipped plaster and faded wallpaper, it’s a good value, at least in the off-season.
The standard for excellence, though, is Hotel Tomaso di Savoia (Avenida Edén 732, tel. 03548/42-3013, hotel [at] tomasodisavoiahotel [dot] com [dot] ar, US$50 s, US$63 d), which also has an outstanding restaurant.
La Parrilla de Raúl (Avenida Edén 1002, tel. 03548/42-3001) is a cavernous parrilla that’s cool in winter even when the embers are smoldering, but the huge buffet is an exceptional value.
Lo de Nedda (Avenida Edén 124, tel. 03548/42-7101) serves fine chivito (roast goat) in large portions (US$10), with appetizer extras and a pretty good wine list. Service is well above average, and the kitchen makes an extra effort to accommodate its clients.
San Cayetano (Avenida Edén 213) has the best ice cream.
From La Falda’s Estación Terminal de Ómnibus (RN 38 and Chubut), there are frequent buses up and down the Valle de Punilla and to Córdoba , and long-distance services to the Cuyo cities of San Juan  and Mendoza  as well as to Buenos Aires  and intermediates.