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Punta del Este is one of South America's foremost beacons of fine luxury living. Well-known for decades by the Argentine and Brazilian jet-set, this seaside city's reputation now goes far beyond hemispheres. A place to see and be seen, this glitzy coastal community has inspired comparisons to Monaco. Scintillating casinos, glamorous beaches, and famed club zones brimming with the buzz of celebrity sightings and gossip make up Punta's mystique. From the Gaudi-style whimsy of Carlos Páez Vilaro's cliffside art gallery to the iconic Mano en la Arena sculpture protruding from the fine sands of Playa Brava, Punta del Este abounds with a youthful and exuberant spirit that enchants far and wide.
The dedicated LVH team ensures all guests receive the ultimate in service and satisfaction during their stays. LVH can arrange for private chefs, private jets, exotic cars, luxury yachts, and anything else you might require to make your vacation stay truly remarkable. Choose a one-on-one session with a certified yoga or pilates instructor, time with a private tennis pro to up your game, or complete pampering sessions with a massage therapist, hair stylist or barber, nail technician, and makeup artist.
Luxury home rentals, with full services and support, can be arranged to accommodate groups of varying sizes and are ideal for lavish events. A wide roster of specially curated properties makes up the lists of the world’s most exquisite vacation estates. No matter what your chosen destination, when you are seeking the best homes, you have the most elite selection from which to choose when booking your stay with LVH.
All of Punta del Este is beautiful, however these four areas are particularly popular among locals and visitors alike:
El Chorro is a resort area in southeastern Uruguay right on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful beaches and exquisite sunsets beckon travelers from far and wide. Bikini Beach is a popular area for watersports and relaxing in the sun. For a small area visitors will find lots to do and sights to see like the 19th century Punta del Este Lighthouse with its sweeping views and incredible maritime history. This tranquil area is the ideal respite for luxury vacationers looking to reconnect with nature, to unwind and just breathe for a while.
Punta del Este is upscale and busy, but right outside the main area are places like Jose Ignacio, quiet surf towns just close enough to all the hustle and bustle. Vacationers will find absolute quiet and tranquility in this area. Coastal towns appeal to many visitors for their relaxed ambiance, sparkling waters and warm sand. Spend some time at Jose Ignacio lagoon or have a horseback ride along the water at sunset. Swim the day away before heading back to stunning Villa Shaina right on Brava Beach and only a little more than a mile away from the downtown core. This property offers a combination of relaxed beach living and ultimate privacy, yet is within easy reach of entertainment areas. The four-bedroom villa has room for up to 10 guests who can spend hours at the outdoor pool or work on the tan lying on the pristine beach. To experience those balmy breezes, the living room opens up to the beach and pool areas. There are many things to do inside as well such as playing pool or ping pong, enjoying a drink at the cocktail bar before heading to the cinema room to take in a movie. The outside space has a BBQ, dining area, terrace and patio.
This resort community is a haven for artistic, Bohemian types. Just outside the city core, La Barra is on an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean that provides long, sandy beaches offering terrific surfing. Quaint houses light up the coastline with their pastel hues. This community is known for its hip hangouts, art galleries, cool architecture (including a “wavy” bridge) and laid-back elegance. Luxury travelers who want to put down vacation roots in one of the most beautiful maritime landscapes in Punta del Este should seriously consider staying at Villa Dama de la Noche. Up to 14 guests can enjoy everything this palatial home has to offer including an outdoor Olympic-sized infinity pool. Located on the front of a golf course, Villa Dama de la Noche offers unparalleled views of undulating hills, lush greenery, and Arroyo Maldonado lagoon. Guests can dine al fresco or in the impressive formal dining room. This classy home is decorated in hues of gold and cream providing a subdued elegance and comes complete with incredible amenities like a gym, Turkish bath, hammam, spa lounge, massage room and gym. Staff members have their own separate quarters.
This little, laid-back fishing village turns into an exclusive resort area in the summer. Chic crowds gather at open-air cocktail lounges and nightclubs to party the hours away. Foodies make their ways to Manantiales for its artisanal ice cream and upscale pizza variations. Boho shops sell handmade candles, contemporary art and unique, cool clothes. It is the place to be seen in Punta del Este and luxury travelers who want to make a statement with their Uruguay accommodations choose to stay at Villa Kelly with its modern architectural design and location right on Bikini Beach. This Smart Home can comfortably welcome up to 10 guests. Wine aficionados will appreciate the climate-controlled wine cellar. Choose a delicious vintage to drink by the heated outdoor pool or with an al fresco dinner cooked on the outdoor grill. This stunning property also has a separate guest house.
Punta del Este has something for everyone’s culinary tastes. Fine dining is heartily available. These four establishments are among the best the area has to offer:
Simple, delicious food is often the hardest to execute and Chef Francis Mallmann at Bodega Garzon has this down pat. Mallmann owns restaurants all over the world and is well-versed in the Uruguayan and Argentinian styles of cooking. Diners will enjoy the warm, welcoming ambiance and those who are familiar with fine dining know that a restaurant is a place for excellent food and an unforgettable experience and that is what they will get here. The food and libations are not fancy, yet somehow stay in the memory: a perfectly seared steak drizzled with herbed olive oil; the freshest local fish baked in a salt crust; or a simple, smoky Negroni. Mallmann’s cuisine rivals those of the restaurants in the best luxury hotels in Punta del Este.
Fasano Punta del Este offers fine dining enthusiasts more than 100 years of tradition and excellence in the best haute cuisine in a relaxed, informal environment. Focusing on regional Italian cuisine, the restaurant is a favorite dining venue of residents and locals. The Fasano family built this facility on one of the highest points in the country. Guests will get incredible views of Las Piedras and surrounding cities. The buttery seafood risotto comes highly recommended as does the roasted duck breast in orange sauce with asparagus. If there is room for dessert, try the dulce de leche soufflé.
This gourmet restaurant sits right on the seafront in one of Uruguay’s most exclusive seaside resorts. Authentic French cuisine is created by Executive Chef Jean-Paul Bondoux, using products from his own farm like zucchini flowers stuffed with chicken or roast rack of lamb in garden herbs. The chef says he likes to use ingredients that are close to the land. Luxury travelers looking for something a little different to do, might want to consider taking cooking classes with the chef. On the menu one can find such offerings as house smoked salmon, suckling piglet, and of course, filet mignon. La Bourgogne is the ideal place for a romantic and sophisticated dinner.
Focused on Uruguayan products and producers, Lo de Tere serves the best seafood from the Atlantic and local lagoons alongside the finest countryside ingredients. In a tasting menu of five, six or seven courses, the restaurant serves dishes such as mussels with herbs and garlic, octopus carpaccio, red crab salad and wild langoustine bonbon with wild mushroom consommé. The cozy dining room with exposed brickwork looks out onto lush greenery and a grand view of the harbor, Gorriti Island and Mansa Beach Bay. Ask for dulce de leche shot for dessert.
Punta del Este has some stellar galleries and museums. These three provide something for everyone:
Make sure to be wearing shades when approaching Casapueblo. Its stark white exterior next to a brilliant blue sky may be too bright for the eyes to handle. Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro’s whimsical villa and art gallery sits atop Punta Ballena, a jutting headland west of Punta del Este. Visitors can tour five rooms, view a film on the artist’s life and travels, and revel in spectacular sunset views in the upstairs cafeteria-bar.
The Ralli Museum in Punta del Este is the first of five Ralli museums in the world. Especially designed and planned to house a museum, it houses one of the most important collections of Latin American art in the world, as well as works by renowned European artists. Art lovers who appreciate the work of Fernando Botero must visit this museum. It also has a healthy selection of sculptures from Salvador Dali. Pencil in at least a few hours to see all the wonders this museum has to offer.
The Pablo Atchugarry Foundation is an enormous estate with several indoor facilities holding temporary exhibitions and sculptures by artist, Pablo Atchugarry. Its most prominent feature is the astonishing sculpture park, the artist’s collection that brings together works of 20th and 21st century sculptors from all over the world. Walking around the park, with its forests and lake, will entice everyone for the unique connection between art and nature.
Whether travelers want to be the life of the party or find a quiet, romantic corner to sip a glass or two of wine, these three venues fit the bill:
Guests can get food until midnight at this lively bar and nightclub in Manantiales and then dance the night away. Stocked full of enough classy cocktails and bottled beers to take partiers through to the morning, this bar is a guaranteed good time. Like many, La Casita is a seasonal bar that starts jumping in the summer. The ambiance is casual and cozy, yet stylish.
This intimate, relaxed pub is one of the most approachable and renowned bars in Punta del Este. Moby Dick is on the waterfront right next to the port, so it’s a great place for romantic sunsets. It has a nautical theme throughout, but the design has been heavily influenced by Irish and English pub culture which is why it hosts live music nights during most of the summer.
Ocean Club is one of Punta del Este's best and most reliable beach clubs in the dunes between Punta and La Barra. Things really get cooking after midnight. The food and drinks are superb and the staff, welcoming and accommodating. The club is set in the middle of a concrete parking lot with a tunnel-like entrance made of translucent glass. A beam ceiling with strewn canvas connects large rooms with teak wood floors and a long central bar of tufted suede. Large circular chandeliers catch the occasional laser ray and fog storm from the club's visual display. The patio area and adjacent beach frontage attract international DJs for theme parties in the spring and summer. The crowd here is progressively upscale.
There is no shortage of things to do in Punta del Este. There is fun and culture to be found in these three:
Night of Nostalgia is one of the biggest parties of the year in Punta de Este and in all of Uruguay. It’s a time to remember the oldies while drinking and dancing the night away. Night of Nostalgia parties can be found anywhere – at restaurants, hotels, casinos, nightclubs, ballrooms and even in gyms. Most parties offer dinner and drinks but some even offer DJ tributes and video screens to play video clips of songs from groups like the Bee Gees, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Queen, Abba and the Village People, to name a few.
This festival brings together the best and most renowned chefs not only from Uruguay, but from other countries like Spain, Brazil, Argentina and the United States. It’s held every year between October and November and is one of the best foodies’ festivals in Punta del Este. Festivities take place in various hotels and sites and apart from celebrating food and wine with the most delicious and mouthwatering dishes and drinks, it also includes various entertainment performances including concerts. Each event highlights Uruguay’s local ingredients and each dish is paired with a Uruguayan wine. This is a must-attend event for even the most demanding gourmands.
The film festival brings together the best of the international, regional and national film scene. It is the most important film festival in the country and one of the main ones in Latin America. The festival is dedicated to short and feature films, fiction, documentary, experimental, Latin American and international, to promote film quality and creative and human values. It aims to provide a space for meetings and discussions of regional projects of mutual interest. Punta Del Este International Film Festival is independent and awards prizes from the jury, critics and the public.
The Fingers of Punta del Este, created by artist Mario Irarrazabal, is definitely a tourist stop. In a rather eerie way, these huge fingers can be seen emerging from the sand, The sculpture has become a symbol for Punta del Este since its completion in February 1982, and has become one of Uruguay's most recognizable landmarks. The artist was inspired to make a sculpture of a hand "drowning" as a warning to swimmers, as the water at La Barra up the beach has rougher waves which are better for surfing only, while the other way, water at Solanas is much more suited for swimming and windsurfing.
This beautiful neoclassical cathedral gives a touch of beauty and charm to the historic center of the city of Maldonado. Construction began in 1801 and was suspended by the English invasions of 1806, which led to the completion of the work taking almost a century. The cathedral consists of a main nave with two bell towers and a central dome. On the sides and at the back of the nave there are two small buildings that complete the set in the shape of a cross. The magnificent main altar is the work of Antonio Veiga, who won two prizes at the continental exhibition held in Buenos Aires in 1882. This stunning piece of local history is worth a visit.
Punta del Este has some of the best saltwater fishing on the continent. Either charter a boat for the day or stay on shore and fish off the dock at Punta del Este port. The waters surrounding the town are populated by a wide variety of marine life, ranging from anchovies, mullets, bluefish, and tuna to Argentine hake. Cast a line and catch the big one. Take the catch back to the villa where a private chef can create a dish that rivals those served at eateries at any luxury hotels in Punta del Este.
The best season for surfing in Punta del Este is the summer. For beginner surfers, La Olla is the ideal spot to learn and there is a surf school right on the sand that provides lessons, wetsuits and board rentals. Advanced surfers will be happy to know that there is a long left-hand wave that can swell up to seven feet, but keep in mind the current can become hazardous if waves get larger. Other areas to catch the waves are Bikini Beach, Montoya, La Barra, La Boca, La Plage, and El Emir.
Tambo el Sosiego, maker of famous Lapataia-brand dulce de leche, gives free tours that walk visitors through the process of making the region’s favorite dessert. The dairy farm and plant are 12 miles from central Punta del Este, easily accessible by car and open seven days a week. This is an ideal excursion for those vacationing with children. Kids can milk cows, feed baby goats and calves, ride on ponies and enjoy amazing dulce de leche pancakes.