Carrasco Uruguay

A century ago, Hotel Carrasco was the elegant jewel of Uruguay, a palace in the sand close to the capital of Montevideo. After a long period when it sat abandoned, French Accor brand Sofitel bought it and restored it to glory. And then some.

Now named the mouthful Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa, this elegant building is a bit of Paris on the Rio de la Plata, with the staffers even speaking French to the mostly non-French-speaking guests. Nothing has been done halfway in this restoration, with the grandest original features restored to glory and new ones added for more contemporary tastes.

Naturally the cuisine is a highlight here, with delectable finger bites at the bar and the 1921 restaurant that changes moods between breakfast and elegant dinners. A Sunday brunch is the new local splurge for upscale families from the capital.

Although it looks like a city hotel in most respects, Sofitel Montevideo Carrasco fronts a wide beach, meaning you can go take a stroll or a dip or just gaze out at the beach and water from a balcony or the indoor-outdoor swimming pool.

Almost immediately upon my arrival, I realize that the hotel is one of those rare places where I can’t decide whether I’d rather be inside or outside. From the vantage point of the beach, it’s a grand and isolated castle rising up, mirage–like, from the sand, the romantic turrets silhouetted dramatically against the pale blue sky. Stepping into the opulent lobby, with its smooth white marble surfaces, radiant stained glass ceiling and shimmering chandeliers, is like walking into a larger–than–life jewel box.

Sofitel fans will be happy with the guest rooms here, fitted with all the expected comforts, with the added benefit of having brand new wiring for the latest gadgets. Expect fine sheets, dreamy mattresses, and a bath with “walk–in rain shower, soft lighting, oversized tub, and smooth marble surfaces.”

Uruguay’s capital city has been waiting a while for a great luxury hotel. Now they’ve got one. See our full review of Sofitel Montevideo Carrasco.