Uruguay has long been a jet-set destination for wealthy Argentineans, but lately the country and its seaside resorts are garnering global buzz, thanks in part to two fabulously original hotels in laid-back Jose Ignacio. Sister hotels Estancia Vik and Playa Vik are located five miles from each other and offer a Uruguayan experience that’s second to none.
The Details: In what feels like the middle of nowhere (really five miles inland from Jose Ignacio’s beaches and 30 minutes from hot spot Punta del Este), working cattle ranch Estancia Vik looks out over miles of grassy plains streaked with rivulets. Horses and cows graze freely, a constant breeze wafts through the arched courtyards, and the quiet is rarely punctuated with anything other than the sounds of the animals (a neigh here, a moo there). Beautiful art-filled interiors house 12 spectacular suites, each showcasing a different artist’s point of view. All come with large private balconies or terraces, walk-in wardrobes, and large bathrooms with handmade beech-wood bathtubs and open showers.
New sister property, oceanfront Playa Vik is a work of art itself, displaying the brilliance of architect Carlos Ott and a handful of local Uruguayan artists. The centerpiece of the hotel is the curved glass-and-titanium Sculpture building and its 75-foot cantilevered pool (which has tiny little lights that illuminate at night, resembling the twinkling stars above it). Six casas, comprising 19 suites, are each uniquely decorated with original art and furnishings, and come with at least two bedrooms and bathrooms, private patios or balconies, living room areas with TVs, and big master baths with large soaking tubs and open showers. The food at both properties is excellent and the staff will set a table for you wherever you like, be it by the pool, on your terrace, or in the wine cellar.
Fodors.com readers can save a bundle on a one-of-a-kind seven-night package that includes four nights at Estancia Vik and three nights at Playa Vik, a private art lesson, polo lesson, horseback riding daily, one massage per person, and a Uruguayan BBQ experience (guests learn to prepare a traditional fogón, fish for their catch, pick fresh herbs, and to cook using ancient gaucho traditions).
The Deal: Discount rates for the week go for $3,150 per person (down from $6,950). Offer is valid March through April and November through December 10. Call 011-598-94-605212 and reference Fodor’s.
Getting There: Aerolinas Argentinas flights from Buenos Aires to Punta del Este are notoriously late (and the ferry service from BA only goes to Montevideo, takes three hours, and then requires a 1.5-hour drive to Jose Ignacio). Factor in an extra few hours of traveling time and eat a nice big meal before you head to the airport.
Thinking of a trip to Uruguay?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our online Uruguay Travel Guide.
Photo Credit: Estancia Vik courtesy Stephanie Johnnidis