March 2014

A LUXURY RESORT IN THE MIDST OF TALL PINES OF CARMELO URUGUAY

[CARMELO, URUGUAY] — I’m not a huge Four Seasons fan for international trips — I prefer more unique hotels that reflect the character of each locale — but in a pinch for a room at the last minute in Carmelo, I booked a couple of nights at the Four Seasons Carmelo in the heart of the prettiest part of Uruguay’s best wine region. Nestled in and under the towering, towering pine trees lining the Rio de la Plata, the trees themselves, and the lazy muddy la Plata are the stars, with a lot of five star cush to soften your head. And the sky. Rolling slumberous clouds developing over the la Plata, giant cotton puffs rolling along, one after another. Just for you. After a

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STAY ON A CLASSIC VINEYARD IN URUGUAY’S WINE COUNTRY

[CARMELO, URUGUAY] — Along the cool banks of the muddy Rio de la Plata is the wine region of Carmelo, Uruguay’s top wine region. All the best Uruguayan vintners are here, including Finca Narbona. Restored to turn of the century newness, Narbona Wine Lodge is like a museum of the past, with antiques, buildings and charm that dates back over a century.  With only and handful of rooms nestled right up along the vines, you feel like you’re staying in a period movie. The rooms are huge. The service minimal. The quiet is deafening. What a great place to relax, eat and take in the cool air of the wine region. It’s a Tablet Hotels and Relais & Chateaux property, so you know it’s good. And

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STAY IN A MOVIE-SET-PERFECT GAUCHO TOWN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE OF URUGUAY

[PUEBLO GARZON, URUGUAY] — Pueblo Garzon is a one-horse….actually a 75 horse town in the rolling green estancia country of Uruguay’s Maldonado province. It’s a gorgeous 40 minute drive inland from the bohemian chic beach town of Jose Ignacio. The town was practically abandoned until famous Argentine chef Francis Mallmann bought a building and then nearly the whole town to create a movie-set perfect town and install another fine restaurant in his empire. Others, mostly friends, famous and wealthy, have followed, buying up abandoned buildings and creating summer houses, yet preserving the rustic gaucho character of the whole town. Speaking of that, there’s not much to the town, just a few square blocks surround a central plaza. But it is a beautifully scenic and mellow

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A GAUCHO FESTIVAL IN URUGUAY

[PUEBLO GARZON, URUGUAY] –We were in the tiny quiet village of Pueblo Garzon, Uruguay. Once abandoned, but bought by the famous chef Francis Mallmann who added a world famous restaurant and small five room hotel.  We were here for a few days to eat and bask in the green wide expanse of the Uruguayan countryside. Little did we know we’d stumbled on a gaucho parade in Garzon. It was the First of March. We wanted to take horses up for a picnic in the nearby Uruguayan highlands. But the extremely nice people at the Hotel Garzon apologized, but said in clipped-English,”I’m sorry but normally we accommodate your request, but today all the horses in town are taken for the parade.”  “What parade?” “Today is our

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A REVISIT TO FRANCIS MALLMANN’S STUNNING GARZON HOTEL & RESTAURANT IN URUGUAY

[PUEBLO GAZON, URUGUAY] — Details. Details. Details. It’s all in the details. And famous Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s hideout in the small, un-developed Pueblo Garzon is dripping with it. Imagine the perfect movie set or photo shoot where every single corner, nook and cranny exudes great thought and attention. Nothing is missed. Zoom in on any square meter and you have your shot. Not to mention the food. Oh boy, the food. Set about 40 minutes inland from the popular Bohemian Jetset town of Jose Ignacio the restaurant has been drawing carloads of gourmands to make the trek inland, past the expansive Uruguayan estancias, cows, gauchos and farmland to this treasured idyll. Long abandoned, he bought up most of the town years ago and built this

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