Old World opulence in the grand, marble-lined lobby; vintage chic in the striking Thays Bar
Serene indoor/outdoor swimming pool, and amethyst exfoliation treatments in the smartly designed SoSpa
Crème brûlée for breakfast and other French-inspired indulgences at the elegant 1921 restaurant
What To Know
Though close to the airport, the hotel is a 30-minute taxi ride from Montevideo's historic center and ferry harbor
Growing pains: Sofitel has taken over a hotel that was closed for years, so expect a few minor issues in design and service
Guestrooms are fairly standard — not as remarkable as the grand public spaces
Parking on site
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Uruguay meets Sofitel's signature French style at this glamorously restored palace on the sand
French-Uruguayan glamour. The grandeur of a landmark 1930s beachfront resort with a contemporary Parisian twist. Picture romantic turrets, soaring marble columns, stately archways, glittering chandeliers and ornate stained glass ceiling panels mixed with minimalist sofas and striking design objects with a sense of humor — such as a pair of life-size horse statues topped with lamps that light the way from the lobby to the elevators, giving a playful wink to the region's more bucolic past.
Bed and Bath
The guestrooms and suites, done up in a sophisticated palette of crisp white and chocolate-brown, are a little less lavish than you'd expect after walking through the lobby. Which isn't to say they're lacking in luxury; you'll find all the standard Sofitel amenities. The huge walk-in rain showers, stocked with Hermès bath products, are a particular highlight. And the boxy hotel room format doesn't apply here; thanks to the contours of the building, most guestrooms have unusual layouts, curving walls and antique window frames.
Located in the hotel's original entryway, at the foot of a pair of antique staircases, Thays Bar – which features towering columns, striking black and white tile floors, and a circular bar centerpiece — is perhaps the hotel's most memorable space. A formal menu of French classics and Uruguayan wines is served nearby in the historic 1921 restaurant, as is an extravagant breakfast buffet, complete with petits fours, crepes and a "chariot de fromage" (cheese cart). Downstairs, spa treatment rooms surround the grotto-like indoor swimming pool at SoSpa; on the other side of a glass wall the larger part of the pool extends outside, surrounded in warmer weather by inviting chaise longues.
In the Area
The hotel is located just across the street from the Rio de la Plata, which is called a river but looks and feels more like the ocean. Join the locals for a stroll or a cycle along the gorgeous beachfront promenade that parallels the coast road called La Rambla. Take a taxi to the Ciudad Vieja (Old City) and have a traditional Uruguayan lunch at one of the parrillas (steakhouses) inside the Mercado del Puerto, which dates from 1868. Then head to boutique winery Bodega Bouza to taste Tannat, Uruguay's delicious but little-known red wine.