Published on March 25th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
7 Interesting Hotels in Uruguay
During my recent visit to Uruguay on a trip with Borello Travel & Tours, I checked out a bunch of noteworthy and interesting small hotels set in various interesting locations — many in and around Punta del Este, the chic, sun-drenched getaway that’s sometimes called the St. Tropez of South America. Here are a few of my favorite hotels.
Best Boutique Style in Punta del Este: Awa Boutique + Design Hotel
Open since 2007, this 48-room property is pleasingly decorated with clean white walls and colorful original artwork. Just five blocks from the beach, it’s also close to shopping in downtown Punta del Este. I especially appreciate that there is no nickel-and-diming here: there is no charge to use the swimming pool, small fitness center, Jacuzzi, property-wide WiFi or even the eight-seat “microcine,” a movie theater that shows films on a super-large screen. $110 and up, including breakfast.
Best Place to Watch the Sunset: Casapueblo
Over the years, Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez has created a quirky complex of structures on a seaside hill in Punta Ballena, near Punta del Este. Its Gaudi-esque rounded corners house a museum and art gallery, which has a terrace that’s a popular place for watching the sun set. The Hotel Casapueblo is the place to check in if you’d like to extend your enjoyment of the ambiance. All of the 73 rooms have some kind of ocean view; they’re quirky, rounded and imperfect, but memorable. $75 and up, including breakfast.
Best Place to Get Away From it All: Estancia Vik
Set on rolling hills outside of the small beach town called José Ignacio (and not far from Punta del Este), Estancia Vik is a sweeping, luxurious ranch set on 4,000 acres. Open since 2009, this stylish getaway — a Spanish colonial-style structure that’s actually newly built — expertly blends old-fashioned estancia living (horseback riding, isolated, sweeping views, freshly prepared cuisine, a great room that serves as a comfortable living room) with contemporary elements (original art and creative décor in each of the 12 large guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool with gorgeous views, a small gym, spa and game room). The cuisine is tremendous (I consumed an unmentionable amount of fresh beef and sausage at dinner), and I especially enjoyed horseback riding lazily along the river. $275 and up, including breakfast.
Best Place to Keep your Eye on: Las Piedras Villas & Hotel Fasano
It won’t be open until December 2010, but if the parts I’ve already seen of this new luxury resort are any indication, it will be something quite special. From the minds of the Brazilian Fasano brand (I’ve stayed at their São Paulo property and it’s fabulous), the hotel component of this 480-hectare complex will include 20 upscale bungalows with private plunge pools. The expansive property — set among gently rolling hills in the countryside outside of Punta del Este — will also have an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, individual homes and villas, polo fields and a spa.
Best Place to Feel Like You’re Visiting Friends at the Beach: La Posada del Faro
Like a wealthy friend’s home along the coast, the 15-room La Posada del Faro is small, friendly and posh, at all once. There is a swimming pool with swim-up bar, and it’s located in José Ignacio, a quieter alternative to Punta del Este. $180 and up, including breakfast. Just down the street from a small, uncrowded beach.
Best Place for a Gourmet, Small-scale Getaway: La Vigna
This small farm has been turned into a rustic yet luxurious five-room inn by a professional couple from Argentina. It’s an inviting place to unwind, with an abundance of cheeses made on the premises, special yoga weekends and delicious homemade cuisine. U.S.$110 and up, including breakfast. http://www.lavignalifestyle.com/
Best Style with Big-Hotel Amenities: Mantra Resort • Spa • Casino
A member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World, Mantra is located in Barra, a waterfront area adjacent to Punta del Este. It’s walking distance to a small beach, and features extensive amenities, including a relatively large swimming pool, conference facilities, casino and even a large movie theater (admission to the theater is extra).