Punta del Este, Uruguay
Located on a peninsula that forms the southernmost part of Uruguay, Punta del Este offers sophistication and chicness aplenty, making it an increasingly popular destination for Royal Holiday members and other vacationers. Roughly 90 minutes away from the capitol of Montevideo, Punta del Este first became popular among wealthy South American vacationers; today, the charms of this costal paradise are available for everyone, though it maintains its air of relaxed fun. The perfect spot for those who loathe mornings, life in Punta del Este starts in the afternoon and goes all night, making it the ideal spot for the Royal Holiday member looking for exciting nightlife and relaxing beachside days in the same destination.
Royal Holiday members will stay in the heart of the Peninsula district, a mere block from the Brava beach, at the handsome Golden Beach Resort & SPA. A hotel featuring Ambassador suites well suited for families, the Golden Beach’s rooms also includes useful kitchenettes and terraces overlooking the ocean. Featuring services such as baby-sitters and playgrounds, it’s the perfect place for parents looking to enjoy some kid-free vacation time, while an on-site beauty salon, convenience store, and medical facility make it possible for the Golden Beach to be a home away from home. Its in-house spa offers extreme relaxation, while the hotel’s Golden Crown restaurant specializes in local and international cuisine alike.
Punta del Este was first colonized by the Portuguese in the late 1800s, but it remained a village well into the era of Uruguayan independence, only becoming a designated “ciudad” in 1957. Even today, the population remains under 10,000, though during the peak months of summer, the population rises considerably with the influx of vacationers. Royal Holiday members will likely join the crowds at the two famed beaches in Punta del Este, one on either side of the peninsula: the Atlantic side is known as “Brava,” or fierce, while the side facing the Río de la Plata is called “Mansa,” or tame. These appellations serve as an apt description for the kinds of activities available, as the Mansa enjoys calmer winds and gentler seas while the high winds of the Brava enable surfers to practice their craft. Some of the best loved beaches can be found in La Barra, a trendy neighborhood that features Montoya, Manantiales, and Bikini beaches, as well as much of the most exciting nightclubs. The two sides are divided by a famous piece of public art, the Dedos, or fingers, that extend out of the sand at the end of the Playa Brava.
Of course, the beach remains the headquarters for many vacationers, but Royal Holiday members will do well to take a trek inland to see some of Punta del Este’s numerous landmarks. Modern art can be found at the former home of artist Carlos Paez Vilaro, the Casa del Pueblo, while kids will love a trip to the local zoo, the Zoológico Pan de Azúcar. The Catedral de San Fernando is easily the most architecturally interesting church in Uruguay, while gourmands will prefer taking a tour of one of the finest dulce de leche manufactories in the region, Lapataia, a short trip from Punta del Este’s city center.