Destination Dispatches: My Uruguay

- David Black, Regional VP of Hotel Relations for Kiwi Collection

My first trip to Uruguay and I decided to do it as an Argentinian would.

I hop on the Bquebus ferry from Puerto Madero to Colonia—a short trip and by far the best way to get across. The time passed even faster as I met a fellow first time traveller. I was headed to the Four Seasons, but not before taking a short drive through the old town of Colonia.

Poolside at Four Seasons Resort Carmelo.

The city located in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata facing Buenos Aires, is renowned for its historic quarter. A trip here will take you back to a different time. Located about an hour from Colonia in Carmelo, the property I’m staying at is located on 82 hectares of land right on the river, and my suite, a very spacious bungalow. I felt relaxed here and could easily see why it’s so popular for weekend retreats.

And what of what to eat? Beef. They say it rivals that of its neighbour, Argentina. My favourite is the Chivito, a sandwich that you can’t say no too. Chivito literally means “little goat” or “baby goat” and consists primarily of a thin slice of filet mignon with mayonnaise, black or green olives, mozzarella, tomatoes and commonly also bacon, fried or hard-boiled eggs and ham. It is served in a bun, often with a side of French fries. So good.

Mini minus the Cooper. My rental car for cruising Uruguay.

The second part of my trip took me further south to Punta Del Este, an upscale resort town on the southern tip of Uruguay that has been compared to the Hamptons. In keeping with the adventitious spirit I cultivated in Buenos Aires, I rented a car and the only directions I got were from the gentleman at Thrifty pointing vaguely left outside of the airport towards my hotel. Off I went map in hand, driving a manual car (which I hadn’t driven in years) in what I hoped was the right direction. Thankfully, my hotel for the next two nights, the new Fasano Las Piedras, was just 40 minutes from the airport and easy to find. The design and attention to detail here at the hotel amazed me. Its countryside location offers 450 hectares of stunning scenery. Including a beautiful pool sculpted out of a large rock. Very cool.

Green miles: the view from the Fasano Restaurant.

Punta, as the locals call it, is a great location to find a little of everything—shopping, good food, charming nearby towns and even jazz. I will certainly be back a second time, and next time I’ll bring my wife. Don’t overlook a stop in Uruguay the next time you plan a trip, or you’ll miss out on a magical place.

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