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Time to Relax in Uruguay
I headed to #Uruguay urgently searching for #relaxation. I found a fantastic hotel, opened just for me!, with an amazing #swimming pool hidden behind two artistic solid copper doors. The Estancia VIK has everything you'd need to unwind - including biking, birding, a place for families, and a fresh, local food and wine.
I arrived via Santiago, Chile with LAN. The flight from MIA to SCL takes around 8 hours and 40 minutes, easy connection to MVD and the flight takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. Other alternatives will be on American via Miami, to MVD non-stop, or on Delta to either Santiago or BA. I was smitten by the beautiful crossing of the Andes from Santiago to Montevideo, from my window I could see the snow peaks.
LAN Chile is a great airline, clean planes comfortable business class seats that go flat, and just like the other carriers I have flown in business, they do your bed. They also have good electronics and great menu with Chileans wines.
Once I arrived, the manager of the hotel waited to escort me in one of their jeeps to the Hotel Estancia VIK.
The road is very good, and the panoramic views were gorgeous, especially when you get into the coast of Punta Del Este! It reminds me of Southern California. The Estancia VIK is about 40 minutes from Punta del Este and 1 hour and 40 minutes from the airport of Montevideo.
Hotel Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio
Buenos Aires City Tour
This the second property we stayed at, Playa Vik, is just 10 minutes away from the Estancia, but two different worlds. Beach, sun and warm breeze. Two very different concepts in such a close proximity, this resort is very dramatic due to the location and the architecture. The buildings were designed by the same architect who designed the opera house in Paris and the airport in Montevideo. It's a spectacular, very modern structure, with lots of glass and steel. The suites located in the main building upstairs are magnificent, with a wide open view to the Atlantic. The main focus is the infinity pool, which is located behind solid cooper doors designed by a local artist, who named them "the doors to paradise." Open them up to the pool with a great perspective, and with almost half of its body hanging in the air!
Open them up to the pool with a great perspective, and with almost half of its body hanging in the air!
It’s in the town of Jose Ignacio, with a magnificent view of the bay. The resort was closed when we were there due to the low season. However, they were getting ready to open the next month, but were nice enough to open just for us, so we could experienced it. They were working and getting it ready, but our rooms were good to go. My suite was very large with two separate rooms, one for children and the other was the master bedroom, with a courtyard around it full of lavender and herbs. Big windows surrounded the room, and the bathrooms were also big, with a huge oval marble tub and lots of stone forming the walls of the bathroom, lots of closet space and a plasma TV, and a gorgeous fire place. Like the Estancia, Playa Vik is also decorated with fine art and each room has a theme, mine was more western style, with the walls hand painted with cool texture.
Hotel Playa Vik Jose Ignacio
Buenos Aires City Tour
The property has two small restaurants, a gym, and a place to sit down around a fire pit, looking at the ocean. My impression of Playa Vik is that is very welcoming for families. Most of the rooms have two bedrooms and include beds for children. But I would also recommended it for couples.
The restaurant on the property is not too fancy; small, and the seating is very communal - large tables with chairs on each side. The Spa is not actually a Spa; it’s more like a massage room with a sauna. I wish that they had a real Spa, but I'm not sure where it could go, since the property is not very large, and most of its space is taken up by the rooms. The access to the beach could be clearer and clean of debris, and could use better steps with handrails to help find the way to the beach.
I can see why they are reluctant to call it a hotel, I did not feel at all I was in one. I did love the contemporary but simple style, the rough texture, and the sensuality of the architecture. The earthy elements mix together to give balance to this place which is not an ordinary ranch house. The fresh winds that are born a mile away in the Atlantic Ocean spread in the L-shape corridors and move freely inside the comfortable rooms in Estancia. The sunrise and sunset offers an incredible array of hues, dressing up the place for great effects. The sense of remoteness and quietness gives so much peace to your tired body after a long flight. A passion for art is showcased throughout the property, and each room is decorated with sensual paintings, old-world French furnishings, mosaics and modern abstract paintings (all originals). The Estancia has four beautiful master suites and eight smaller, but still very big, suites.
You feel like you are in a constant state of meditation.
For me, when I arrived at this grand and amazing place, I thought I was back in time at the “Marlboro country’’: the horses, the cows, the gauchos collecting and moving the cattle, the sheep. There is so much to do here, or just nothing if you wish. Biking, horse riding (which is so much fun because of the openness and the beauty of the land), the smell of the eucalyptus, families of parakeets flying above you. Also you can learn about local food, hiking, fishing, hang out at the pool, or go bird watching. The solitude created by the fresh whisper of the wind makes you feel like you are in a constant state of meditation.
Fresh food and local wine is the best complement of Estancia VIK. The best veal and meat (the staple of Uruguay) is cooked to perfection by the Chef. Salads, with their home made cheese, and yogurts are all served in the great, big dinner room. The service is so wonderful, as all their staff graduated from hospitality schools, some of them also have experience working in Europe. They are very attentive, diligent, professional and have great, genuine smiles.
Overall, this is a place to unplug yourself and come down to earth. Feel the generosity of its primitive abundance and sublime relaxation.
And did I mention, it has free internet. I love that!
Now the cons were minimal. The trails for hiking are not marked, when flushing the toilet in the bathroom, the water rushes out so quick there could be overspill, I did not see a proper Spa, which would be fabulous out by the stables with that fantastic view. A list of children's activities and more bicycles for the guests would also be beneficial.