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Four Seasons Resort Carmelo––Carmelo, Uruguay

Ruta 21, km 262, Dpto. de Colonia, Carmelo, Uruguay

The Four Seasons Resort in Carmelo on the Rio de la Plata is a secluded destination where the décor and service put it at the top of the luxury offerings in Uruguay. Well away from the hubbub of Punta del Este it is only a short distance from Buenos Aires and designed for those looking for high–end accommodations and service.

Four Seasons Resort Carmelo
© Four Seasons Resort

Guests who need to avoid the paparazzi and others looking for a secluded getaway will find it at the Four Seasons Carmelo in Uruguay. Located in a bucolic countryside dotted with pine and eucalyptus trees on the shore of the Rio de la Plata, the Four Seasons offers pampering, personalized service, and the attention to detail that has become their signature. Personalized service starts from the moment guests are pickup in a Mercedes Benz or vintage car at the ferry landing in the historic city of Colonia. The Four Seasons is a one–hour drive from the historic city of Colonia, which is one hour by fast ferry from Buenos Aires. Those in a hurry can rely on a 20–minute plane transfer from Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires to the small airport in Carmelo, only 10 minutes from the hotel.

The Four Season Carmelo is a wonderful balance of global décor and architectural styles with Balinese accents. Beyond the large intricate, hand–carved door imported from Bali is a four–level main lobby with a soaring granite fireplace and four large wrought iron chandeliers. During sit–down sign–in it is hard to stay focused while trying to take in the property's unique artifacts that include Foo Dogs.

Uruguay Four Seasons waiter
© Sandra Scott

Surrounded by eucalyptus and pine trees, accommodations include bi–level suites and bungalows featuring private gardens. The bungalows have an exterior shower. Fruit–flavored iced tea, apples, and a bowl with nuts and dried fruits await each guest's arrival. Four–poster Lapacho beds can be found in the bi–level suites while the bungalows offer a hand–carved bed. Cozy banquettes and mesh bed drapes create a romantic setting. Accommodations, especially the bi–level ones are so comfy that should the weather turn cool, which it can, spending time curled up with a good book on a banquette is no hardship.

The Pura Restaurant, with seating around a still pool dotted with floating candles, features an &asado,& the traditional Uruguayan slanted grill. Ask about the Uruguayan items on the menu and the waiter will share information about the country's culinary history. For a more intimate dining experience choose a corner tables with batik privacy curtains. The Mandara Restaurant features Italian cuisine in a setting that continues the world fusion theme with a blend of aspects of Morocco and Bali. In the lobby lounge a wide selection of libations, including Cana Mojitos made with the local &fire water,& can be enjoyed while gazing at the Rio de la Plata. Mid afternoon is teatime in the Shiva Lounge under a splashy painted ceiling and surrounded by unique art pieces. Private dinner with guitar music in the Gazebo is not to be missed. The rustic Estancia is the setting for barbecues, while dining in the room or on the patio is easy to arrange.

Uruguay Four Seasons Hotel dining
© Four Seasons Resort

The double–cascade heated infinity pool is the centerpiece in the daytime, with cushioned lounge chairs and attendants in waiting. Activities include biking, canoeing, horseback riding, polo tournaments at the resort's own polo court, tennis, fishing, and visits to the cities of Carmelo and historic Colonia. The 18–hole golf course here is considered one of the best in Latin America, complete with a driving range, a large outdoor, and a pro shop providing golf equipment sales and rental. A kids' club with daily activities makes it a family destination but many &little ones& and teenagers may find there is not enough to keep them occupied. The onsite casino is more intimate than lively.

The spa provides the expected Four Seasons pampering, in a setting where glass walls face the forest. Trickling water, candles, and subdued lighting create an ambiance of ultimate tranquility.

For a romantic escapade or a pampered getaway, this is a good choice. Even guests who are not trying to get away from prying eyes will feel that they are as important as those who are &in hiding.& There is none of the razzle–dazzle associated with Punta del Este–come here for a getaway with no distractions. This hotel is less extensive than some other Four Seasons locations, but few will leave disappointed.

Web Address: www.fourseasons.com/carmelo
Total Number of Rooms: 44
Published rates: $310 to $520

Review by Sandra Scott.

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