While Buenos Aires and Argentina are popular vacation destinations, significantly fewer people visit next door neighbour, Uruguay. This is a grave mistake, but we know readers of Luxury And Boutique Hotels won’t make that mistake!
Most of the small number of people who do make it to Uruguay just visit on a day trip. A ferry ride across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires will take you to Colonia del Sacramento, a pretty little UNESCO town. Here you’ll find UNESCO ruins to explore, a lighthouse to climb, pretty streets for strolling, cafés for lounging, and spectacular sunsets over the widest river in the world. Staying a few days in Colonia is essential, or you’ll miss the charm of this pretty town with a seaside feel.
There’s a lot of art in Colonia del Sacramento, and we recommend two boutique hotels to get your arty fix. Posadita de la Plaza is for those of you who prefer photography, modern pop art, and collections. The front of this small hotel is the gallery of photographer and artist Eduardo Alvares Boszko, and you’ll find his whimsical taste in art throughout the hotel’s four rooms and back garden.
Colonia Suite Art B&B is another art-filled boutique hotel we recommend. Three of the hotel’s rooms are in the main building, and there’s a cottage with a beachy feel in the garden. The three principal rooms are each decorated in the style of a particular artist and the common dining room / living room is full of the works of locals artists, including paintings by the owner.
Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is not to be missed. The architecture in the most southerly capital city on the continent is stunning and gives both a European and a Caribbean feel. In fact, Montevideo is often used as a stand-in for Havana for movie and television filming!
Where to stay depends on whether you want to be near the beach or in the historic centre. My Suites Boutique Hotel is near the long crescented Playa de los Pocitos. Here you can taste incredible Uruguayan olive oils and wine and enjoy a spacious modern suite after you’ve spent the day sipping maté tea on the beach.
In the historic centre of Montevideo, you’ll find the beautiful Teatro Solis, a theatre in which you can both take an architectural tour as well as see a performance. Near by is the imposing Plaza Independencia with the bulbous Palacio Salvo, which will make you think you’re in Gaudí’s Barcelona. Montevideo is chock full of museums, shopping, and art. You can live the artistic history at Alma Histórica Boutique Hotel, an exquisite hotel with each of its 15 rooms decorated to commemorate a different Uruguayan artist. Montevideo has incredible food too. I was particularly impressed with Jacinto and Estrecho, both within an easy walk of Alma Histórica.
If you have more time (and you’re not visiting in high season, as I was) rent a car and go exploring along Uruguay’s coast to where the Rio de la Plata turns into the Atlantic Ocean. At famous Punte del Este and beyond, you’ll find spectacular views and spectacular luxury and boutique hotels. We can hardly wait to go back!