Discover Uruguay’s capital and its surrounding neighbourhood, together accommodating around half of the nation’s entire population. Overlooking Montevideo Bay in the far south of the country, it has many safe and sheltered beaches. Plus the locals are welcoming, there’s a vibrant cafe culture, attractive wide tree-lined boulevards, a mild climate (similar to Los Angeles) and a laid-back feel that makes Montevideo especially accessible for those making their first foray into South America. Do try the indigenous Tannat wine and barbecued meats and expect some sizeable portions – the Uruguayans don’t do meals by halves.
Hotel Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco and Spa
Known as the “palace in the sand”, this 1920s-era property is located beside Playa Carrasco. The Belle Epoque detailing and grande dame interior of this hotel are so remarkable that tours are held each Saturday, showcasing the majestic stained glass atrium, marble columns and enormous chandeliers. Guests can recline on a grand terrace looking out to sea (technically this is a river, but it’s blue and salty due to its proximity to the ocean). The Sofitel’s amenities include an onsite casino, the SoSpa, the 1921 restaurant, a heated pool, a hammam and loaner bikes.