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Gauchos, Wine and Relaxation - Discover Estancia Vik

Estancia Vik sits on 4,000 acres in the rolling countryside of José Ignacio, Uruguay, northeast of Punta del Este.  The Estancia is just a one-mile crow’s flight from the Atlantic Ocean, in area that creates a unique environment for wine as well as gauchos.  The Vik family retreat was converted from a private estancia into a luxurious hotel under the loving talent of Carrie and Alex Vik, and Uruguayan architect Marcelo Daglio.  We were excited to be invited guests in this traditional Spanish-style estancia, featuring white adobe walls and red tin roofs with covered walkways leading to multiple outdoor courtyards, gardens, outdoor seating areas, sculpture installations, and a 20-meter pool made of Absolute Nero stone.  The bottom of the pool is fitted with fiber optic lights, which mirror the constellations above.  12 suites are separated into two wings, joined by common living space, a central kitchen and 2 indoor dining areas, and a game room.  Two of the suites are expansive at 900 sq ft and the remaining 10 with ground floor patios are 500 sq ft each.  All twelve private Suites are uniquely designed, integrating original art by leading contemporary Uruguayan artists conceived to create a different vibe for each particular space.

The central theme of the estancia is to celebrate the vision and individuality of the artists.  Their creations add a museum quality environment without compromising the feeling that you are staying in a family home that loves to pamper and entertain its guests.

At Estancia Vik, Marlborough Country meets laid back St Tropez.  Your day can include horse riding on one of the Criollo and Quarter horses across open pampas with the gauchos, taking polo lessons and participating in a polo game, or enjoying a professional polo match.  You can kayak, fish and canoe in the lake, enjoy the abundant birdlife, mountain bike, hike, or golf.  The Vik offers an excellent spa and gym, and nighttime or rainy-day activities can include pool, ping pong and board games indoors.

Dining blends tradition with innovation and creativity, transforming every experience into a cultural celebration.  El Asador, with a traditional open fire fogón, or barbeque, is a magical place with tin walls perfectly marrying gaucho roots to contemporary Uruguayan art adding a modern twist to a timeless setting.  The wine cellar can also be used for private dinners and the food is fantastic, as would be expected in such an amazing setting.  Like its neighbor Argentina, Uruguay is known for its world-class beef and wine.  Cattle outnumber people by a 4 to 1 ratio (13mil cows to 3.5 million people), such that beef and cheese are commonly featured, as well as wine from their national grape, Tannat, which was imported from southwest France and has become the largest varietal produced in Uruguay. 

We found Uruguay as subtle surprise.  The capital, Montevideo, is filled with art, culture,

and shopping and presents a unique nightlife with wonderful restaurants and

energizing tango clubs.  One hundred miles to the east is Punta del Este, easily accessed by car or ferry, also known as the Monaco of South America, a luxury playground filled mega-yachts, lavish restaurants, casinos, and relaxing, beautiful beaches.  Roughly seven miles further east, The Vik property collection also has two retreats steps from the ocean in the bohemian chic village of José Ignacio, on the most coveted point of the Uruguayan coastline.


Uruguay is cattle, gauchos, estancias, wide open country and rolling hills, abundant shorelines, colonial and contemporary architecture, fun and unique art, sculpture gardens, family wine estates, foodie focused and proud.  Just a short ferry ride or even shorter flight from Buenos Aires, it is an easy add on to an Argentinean vacation.

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