Four Seasons Resort Carmelo from $180/Night

by  James Sturz | Jul 12, 2011
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina / StreetFlash/iStock

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Most visitors to Buenos Aires know the Río de la Plata as the widest river in the world, reaching 136 miles across. But by the Dársena Norte in Puerto Madero, it’s only 14 miles – or 75 minutes by Buquebus ferry – to the Uruguayan coast, making it perfect for a day trip or multi-day excursion.

So consider now the ease of visiting the Four Season Resort Carmelo, just two hours by car from the Uruguayan port town of Colonia del Sacramento (you can also condense the trip to less than 25 minutes by flying from Buenos Aires to Carmelo by private plane). Set along the banks of the Río Uruguay in a eucalyptus and pine forest, the 110-acre resort is a haven for weekending Argentinians, who make up three-quarters of its guests. As a result of these particular demographics, you’ll find the lowest rates of any Four Seasons resort in the world, starting at $240 per night, but as low as $180 for three-night stays.

The 44 rooms are either bungalows or bi-level suites, both of them large and even sprawling affairs, built from local lapacho and vivaró woods, with outdoor patios, deep-soaking tubs and separate slate showers – plus a second outdoor garden shower in the bungalows, which makes them the perfect choice. For activities, there’s golf, tennis, polo lessons, horseback riding with the local gauchos, a 75-foot outdoor pool and smaller, heated indoor pool in the 13,000-square-foot spa, loads of complimentary kids’ activities, and visits to nearby wineries and farms, like the Finca Narbona, where you can also spend the night. Beyond that, the quiet-ish resort might strike some visitors as “Four Seasons Lite,” although the main lodge, with its somewhat oddly placed Balinese décor, is a truly comfortable place to kick back and relax and watch the sun set. And no doubt enjoy a little steak.

The Four Seasons also offers day trips to Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded by the Portuguese in 1680, where cobblestone streets are lined with museums, restaurants, and craft shops. You might even find Colonia so charming you’ll want to pause and spend the night. (If you do, Posada el Capullo isn’t bad, with rooms starting at $100.) But if you’re heading back to Buenos Aires by ferry, you’ll need to stop there anyway, and before the Buquebus pulls away from the dock you’ll start to understand why so many Porteños make frequent visits.

For general trip-planning info, see our Buenos Aires Travel Guide.

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