Insight /

Uruguay

Spotlight on... Vik Retreats, Uruguay

Just Back from Uruguay, Sales Manager Sarah McLennan discovered a trio of stylish hotels strung along the coast and inland.

Uncover Uruguay

Those who’ve spent time in Argentina will find Uruguay to be its quieter, unassuming sibling, characterised by authentic experiences, friendly people and a bold cuisine to rival its Argentinian neighbour.

Sarah visited three Vik Retreats hotels located around the arty boho town of José Ignacio. Vik Retreats are a hotel brand known for skilfully blending local experiences and cultural heritage with ground-breaking art and innovative design. We’d recommend putting two of the hotels together along with a longer itinerary. Sarah reports back that Uruguay makes the perfect self-drive holiday on excellent roads, which could be extended to explore Montevideo’s Old Town, the characterful historic quarter of  UNESCO-protected Colonia del Sacramento and the wineries of Carmelo.

    Estancia Vik

    Located inland and surrounded by rural views that stretch into the distance, Estancia Vik is a peaceful countryside retreat with a strong emphasis on local connection, just a ten-minute drive from the crashing beaches of the South Atlantic Ocean.

    The colonial-style ranch typified by white-washed walls and red tin roofs is ideal for families with generous-sized bedrooms easily accommodating extra beds. It also suits those looking to tap into authentic experiences, with particular focus on equine activities – this is the place to learn to play polo, ride out on the pampas with the gauchos or even enjoy a full moon horse ride. You can also canoe or fish in the Arroyo de José Ignacio, working up an appetite for a classic Uruguayan barbecue in the evening, cooked in the traditional open-fire method. Estancia Vik has a strong art influence with eye-catching sculptures, large-format friezes and one-of-a-kind pieces very much part of the interior design, allowing this estancia to connect to Uruguay’s heritage in a variety of ways.

    Sarah Says: “This is a lovely hotel with lots of character and really large rooms. The food was a highlight and there was plenty of activities as well as a beautiful pool in idyllic countryside for peaceful downtime too.”

     

    Bahia Vik

    Cradled into the scrubby dunes with direct access to the beach, Bahia Vik is a beach resort, 20-minutes’ walk from the laid-back coastal town of José Ignacio. Sitting on a long sweep of sand, it’s a perfect spot for beach walks, swims and surfing, with an enticing selection of seafood restaurants along on the shore. Bahia Vik is also one of the best spots for sunsets – watch as the orange-flamed sun slinks into the South Atlantic Ocean.

    With a modern and contemporary style, Bahia Vik is made up of 10 suites and 15 bungalows that sit nestled into the sand dunes, the sharp lines of their concrete facades juxtaposing with the undulating topography of the dunes. The bungalows have between two and four bedrooms – making them ideal for family gatherings. As with all Vik properties, art plays a big part and here at Bahia you are privy to some bold and thought-provoking pieces which may not be to everyone’s taste. However, the natural surroundings are always on hand to inspire – with plenty of activities in nature including surfing, horse-riding on the beach and bike rides to the Garzon Lagoon for birdwatching. At the hotel there is daily yoga at the pavilion, a rejuvenating spa and four pools to pick from for a refreshing dip.

    Sarah Says: “Bahia Vik has a lovely ‘beach resort’ feel with everything you need to enjoy a relaxing family holiday on Uruguay’s coast. The beach terrace restaurant La Susanna for a freshly caught seafood lunch is a buzzy spot, and a good opportunity to try Vik’s own wines, grown at the sister vineyard property in Chile.”

     

     

    Playa Vik

    With perhaps one of the most audacious swimming pools in Latin America, a logic-defying, cantilevered pool that juts out over the beach – Playa Vik is located in the hip beach town of José Ignacio, giving you the best of both worlds – access to an intriguing boho-art hub as well as enjoying the coastal pleasures of this beachside design retreat.

    Ideally placed to catch dramatic sunsets of which this region is famed for, Playa Vik is a modern take on traditional beachside architecture with shimmering titanium roofs, vast sheets of glass, living roofs and curvilinear concrete walls, designed by renowned Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott. Inside, Vik’s proclivity for art continues, this time with international big hitters such as James Turrell and Zaha Hadid joining artistic homegrown Uruguayan talent. From the hotel, it’s very much encouraged that you explore José Ignacio – we recommend visiting the art museum and home of Carlos Paez Vilaro, a celebrated Uruguayan modern artist and the Tierra Garzon Foundation, an outdoor art gallery.

    Sarah Says: “A great design hotel right on the beach, Playa Vik is a stylish place to stay – plus it’s very well-placed as you can easily walk down to the beach and also walk to local restaurants – I can personally recommend both Juana and La Huella – both sophisticated takes on Uruguayan cuisine.”