Stay beside the Uruguayan capital’s Río de la Plata to soak up the riverside identity of this South American city, or rest up alongside La Rambla – the longest sidewalk in the world.
While many travelers are drawn to the bright lights of nearby Buenos Aires, on the west bank of the River Plate, Montevideo holds just as many cultural trump cards, albeit slightly closer to its chest. The city and many of its hotels – particularly in the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) – boast notable architecture, nearby historical squares and numerous art galleries, museums and markets on the doorstep.
Tucked away on the first floor of a beautifully restored century-old building, Fauna is an unexpected piece of architectural heritage found in the Ciudad Vieja. Just a couple of blocks from La Rambla and the Mercado del Puerto, its owners hand selected mid-century furnishings and restored Art Déco artefacts, dipping into their own collections to furnish this eclectic five-room property. Original features include ceramic floor tiles, Carrara marble stairways and stained-glass windows.
This former presidential mansion, in the upscale neighbourhood of Carrasco, is set just two blocks from the area’s sandy beach. Its diverse and unique history is still evident today: its name nods to the fact there’s an exact replica of the wooden-panelled library of Uruguay’s legislative palace at the hotel. The elegant rooms draw from a neutral palette, many looking out over the immaculate English garden, where there’s also a swimming pool and a restaurant that spills out onto terraces, especially at breakfast.
This 1920s architectural beauty is found in Montevideo’s Barrio de Las Artes – an area ripe with cultural offerings, centered around Soriano Street, where you can tick off sights such as the Sala Verdi and Teatro Solís. More left-field lures are also in reach at museums dedicated to gaucho culture in the Palacio Heber Jackson and carnival traditions in the Ciudad Vieja. Feel like staying put? The hotel itself rotates art exhibits showcasing works by local and international artists.
Located in the upmarket Montevideo district of Carrasco, 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre, bucolically-named Cottage Hotel is a delightful property set alongside the River Plate that dates back to the 1940s. Its tea house is also a blast from a bygone era, where you can enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up with leaves selected by a local tea sommelier.
With an unbeatable Ciudad Vieja location, Axsur Design Hotel rubs shoulders with some of the most emblematic architectural sights in Montevideo. A stone’s throw from the Mercado del Puerto, it’s also a short walk from other cultural icons such as La Plaza Matriz – the oldest square in town – and of course La Rambla’s palm-lined walkway. Indeed, many of the hotel’s contemporary designed rooms have direct views of the Río de la Plata, the world’s widest estuary, that gives the city its rich riverside identity.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Andrew Kingsford-Smith.
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