So this is where all the corrupt money goes! 😉 I had been wondering after all. Punta del Este is the Cote D´Azur of South America – posh cars, posh people, immaculate beaches, grand hotels. Fittingly, we stayed at “The Grand” hotel, a relatively new feature on Playa Brava, a bit outside the main pub and restaurant area of town. The staff are impeccably nice and the hotel is designed beautifully.
It’s not an all-inclusive but the hotel has its own beach bar, pool bar, restaurant, indoor and outdoor pool, gym, sauna, spa, and cinema. The “Green” room on the first floor is a lovely little living space with books, magazines, movies, and couches.
An extensive breakfast buffet is included in the room rate – complete with champagne and made-to-order waffles and omelettes as desired. It’s safe to say you can spend all your time in the hotel and not be disappointed.
We checked in on a Friday, lucking into another feature – the Friday cocktail party for guests! We went upstairs to the Green Room for sparkling rose wine and bar snacks, before walking over to the Boulevard Gourmand for dinner.
The Boulevard is a small street dotted with various restaurants, most French, most rather expensive. After checking out the wine and cheese cellar at La Bourgogne, we headed into L´Incanto for dinner, set amongst babbling ponds, flowers, and glowing candles.
The next days were devoted to relaxation – walks on the beach, books by the pool, and not much else.
For a more casual lunch scene, you can head into town where there are numerous options – I highly recommend Capi Bar, serving their own artisanal beer and great fried seafood. Olivia´s Bar and Resto also serves delicious generous entrees with a view over the marina.
There are promenades and paths all along the beach – you can walk for miles and appreciate the view.
The beaches are immaculate, the houses, apartments, and hotels well-groomed and sleek, and in general the feeling here is relaxed and orderly compared to the crazy city just a ferry ride away. If you’re in need of a bit of shopping, Lunadeleste is an adorable little boutique on the Boulevard Gourmand, with all sorts of goodies for your home and kitchen.
On our last evening we stayed at the hotel for dinner to try out the Lighthouse restaurant – if you’re a guest at the hotel they even throw in a free bottle of wine 😉 We sampled freshly baked bread with lemon chili butter, grilled octopus, and two meats – filet with red pepper hummus and vegetables, and slow-cooked lamb with rosemary, grilled squash, and goat cheese. Delicious. The staff kindly treated us to a chocolate cake and champagne at the end as well – it happened to be somebody’s birthday 🙂
All in all our experience at both the hotel and the town was fabulous – relaxation, top service, and incredible beaches. Both ferries and flights leave from Buenos Aires daily for Uruguay. You can find the Grand Hotel here.