Luxury travel in Latin America is surprisingly easy to plan and is getting that much easier as new flamboyant properties are coming online to cater to the not-so-easy-to-please patron. Not surprising, “wow” is usually the first thing heard from visitors to these six magnificent resorts.
Luxury Travel Latin America: Cabo San Lucas
While luxury travel to the Baja is best managed through the many brand-name resorts lining the golden resort corridor along the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California, The Resort at Pedregal can be seen as crowning this path on its perch overlooking the town of Cabo San Lucas and the ocean, accessed through a long chandelier-lit tunnel cut into the cliffs. The 118-room Spanish Colonial-style resort keeps a focus on customer service while bringing on the wows and ahhs in spa surroundings, infinity pool placements, private terraces and suites, and seafood dining that is considered to be some of the best on the peninsula.
At the Resort at Pedregal, every room is an ocean view room whether a Private Casitas or a 5-Star Suite, each with a private terrace to pan the exquisite landscapes. Mini-fridges are refilled daily with complimentary beverages and each accommodation comes with excellent Wi-Fi, curated reading materials, plush bedding, and a private plunge pool.
Luxury Travel Latin America: Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos
Few trips into nature are as rewarding as a visit to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador where time is but a human concept amid natural surroundings that have remained respected and preserved for eons. For active travelers concerned with nature’s sustainability but who want to enjoy this bounty without foregoing the luxury and pampering that travel often affords, Pikaia Lodge is the one resort where conscious travelers can have it all.
The 14-room property on Santa Cruz Island operates through adherence to nature-preserving practices: solar and wind energy, natural insulation, water conservation, local sourcing …. but has found a way to infuse precious luxury amenities in the process. Guests stay in spacious individually built quarters with soaring floor-to-ceiling glass windows, bamboo floors, and Ecuadorian teak furnishings on a hill overlooking the ocean and island savannah — populated mostly with tortoises and blue-footed boobies.
Every day is a new adventure. Guests can rise early and head off in a private yacht for a day of out island explorations and swimming in remote coves. They can bike around Santa Cruz island, stopping for unusual flora and fauna sightings on their way to the local town. They can lounge around Pikaia’s delicious infinity pool, gazing at nothing but … infinity. They are given to all manner of guided small-group excursions to Galapagos National Park, and know that private sugar sand beaches or islets of penguins, iguanas, sea lions and dolphins are but a quick yacht moment away.
Luxury Travel Latin America: Vik Resorts
Few resorts in Latin America spell luxury travel as well as Vik Resorts. The collection, the efforts of a Norwegian/Uruguayan billionaire couple with a keen eye for contemporary art and design, are seen in Uruguay and Chile as the products of knowing what living the good life requires and having the means to set dreams into action.
Those looking for an experience of Luxury travel in Latin America, a visit to José Ignacio, Uruguay near Punta del Este answers the call. José Ignacio is a simple fishing village within easy reach of the jet-setter’s hub of Punte del Este but far enough in distance to bring sublime quiet, privacy and contemplation of the better things in life.
Estancia Vik is a sumptuous contrast to Punte del Este’s beach scene with sweeping views of the rugged, pastoral Uruguayan countryside. The 12-suite estate overlooks Lake José Ignacio and the Atlantic Ocean from a small hill on a wild 3,400-arce expanse. Horseback riding is the thing here and a place to hone polo skills. Guests can enjoy the spa, play tennis, sip fine wines and wander the spaces where art complements the greater beauty of nature. Along with the public spaces each suite is its own masterpiece, designed and executed by top regional artists in what feels like a flowing fête of Art Basel.
Continuing that celebration of art and life in this popular resort corner of Uruguay is Playa Vik José Ignacio, located just a short drive away from Estancia Vik.
The architect Carlos Ott, perhaps better known for imposing statements of steel and glass in high profile places like Dubai, took on Playa Vik as a special project in his native Uruguay. Ott was given carte blanche for the Playa, a project the architect compares to designing a museum.
The beachside retreat on the José Ignacio peninsula, features a central structure surrounded by six art-focused casitas. As the smallest of the Vik properties in Uruguay, Playa Vik is a self-sustaining, eco-friendly oceanfront hideaway on the shores of Jose Ignacio that can be booked for private gatherings or rented for individual private retreats.
Each of the property’s suites and villas features a fireplace, a private garden, radiant floor heating, and an eyeful of contemporary art creations. Also find a cantilevered swimming pool, acclaimed restaurant, spa, wine cellar, fitness center, game room and library at Playa Vik — all just four blocks from the city center of Jose Ignacio, which offers its own vibrant dining, shopping and nightlife scene in the high season.
Not to be outdone, Bahia Vik is the antidote to the high life with has 11 modernist bungalows and 10 suites right on the southern Atlantic, set amidst the dunes. Bahia Vik is the largest of the Vik beachfront boutique stays in Uruguay and brings distinctive designs conceived by international and local artists to anchor the stunning interiors. But guests are mostly tempted to roll out of bed and onto the sun-drenched sands just outside their suite. They can take a five-minute bike ride or a relaxing 20-minute walk to town when breaking from the warming vistas. Or they can dip into one of Bahia’s four swimming pools, order up at the acclaimed La Susana restaurant, immerse in quiet at the spa, take advantage of the fitness center and tennis courts, or consult with a personal concierge.
Viña Vik takes Vik Retreats to another level with a focus on wine and food as can only be expected with such a manse located on a winery in Chile’s Millahue Valley. The 11,000-acre luxury resort and winery is a two-hour drive from Santiago airport and regales guests with guided tours of the winery, tastings that can include chocolate and wine pairings; horseback riding trips through the surrounding valleys; even foraging expeditions followed by a cooking class. Guests enjoy traditional South American barbecues, a wine spa treatment and, of course, the stunning interior and exterior visual effects for which Vik is now widely known. The resort brings 22 individual guest rooms and suites, each offering its own experience of the resort and its surroundings.
On its perch along the eastern side of the Cordillera de la Costa range, Viña Vik is an easy 45-minute drive to the important wine region of Chile’s Colchagua Province. But as the only winery on the eastern side of the divide, the lodge presides as the current king of these wine-worthy foothills with impressive lines of glass and rock anchoring the wild and rugged escarpments.
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
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