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Punta Recs

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6 posts
5 reviews
Punta Recs

I am planning a trip for myself and 1-3 other friends. We are single girls in our late twenties and planning to spend a few days in Punta in mid-January. We have a moderate budget. I'd really appreciate input as to whether it is better to pony up for the nice hotel or save some money on hotel and spend it at restaurants/bars? Are there moderately priced restaurants/bars or is it all expensive?

Also, to avoid renting a car, we were planning to stay along the peninsula rather than La Barra. When people say "older" crowd, could you be more specific as we'd probably rather be around people in their 30s than in their teens (but not necessarily people in their 50s).

Any advice is appreciated!!

Punta del Este...
Level Contributor
3,654 posts
16 reviews
1. Re: Punta Recs

My wife and I live in Punta half the year. We're retired but young at heart.

In mid-January, you are likely to spend most of your time outside your hotel, so it makes sense to save money there. Besides, it is very late to be booking the nice hotels for that period; most are probably full. You should make whatever booking you want, very soon, to have a choice.

The key thing to understand about Punta is that it is, above all, a family destination and a place where most of the "action" takes place in people's homes (most of which are pretty nice, many of which rival anything in the world). Whether you are on the peninsula, in La Barra, or in Jose Ignacio, the majority of the people around you will be there with their families. So, you will have all ages wherever you are.

That said, there are subtle differences. The peninsula will truly have everyone of all ages and economic range. La Barra will have teenagers on the streets, and 20-somethings and a few 30-somethings in the bars and clubs, and the economic range will tend upwards on the whole. Lots of trendy places in La Barra.

Jose Ignacio is the cream. Very high scale economically (gajillionaires abound), lots of 20-somethings through 50-somethings but many models and could-be models. No bars, no clubs, all parties are in private homes. It is amazingly laid-back and understated, absolutely no glitz factor as in other jet-set destinations.

There are many good, moderately priced restaurants on the peninsula or nearby, and some expensive ones. In La Barra, restaurants are generally more expensive than on the peninsula, but there are a couple of moderately priced ones (e.g., Baby Gouda). Jose Ignacio has only a small handful of restaurants (in a given season, 3-6), all excellent, and no more expensive than La Barra.

The beaches around the peninsula are excellent, and give you the option of calm water on the "Mansa" side of the peninsula, or raging surf on the "Brava" side. The views and sunsets from the Mansa beaches are spectacular.

The beaches of La Barra are not that good, actually -- quite rocky. Just outside La Barra, on the way to Jose Ignacio, are some good beaches. Jose Ignacio has it all -- both Mansa and Brava beaches, like the peninsula, bery pretty and very broad, and much less crowded. Stunning sunsets in Jose Ignacio, too.

You make your choice. But if money matters, I'd say stay on or near the peninsula for the choice of hotels and restaurants and the choice of beaches, and take the bus to La Barra or Jose Ignacio to see those areas. Definitely get to Jose Ignacio. And eat at least once, preferably for lunch, at La Huella in Jose Ignacio. Look it up on the web. Mentioned in Gourmet Magazine on line as "the best seaside restaurant in the world," and for my money that doesn't even do it justice. It's heaven; we drive 30 miles each way to eat there every weekend.

Book now, and have fun! (I'd be interested in knowing what you decide. If you start to settle on a specific hotel and want my views, post again and I'll give them if I know the place.)

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Punta Recs


So here are the places that we are looking at (and currently appear to have availability).

Posada Aldila:

Palace Hotel:

Le Club Posada:

Serena Hotel:

La Capilla:

Hotel Bravamar:

La Posta del Cangrejo:

Hotel Remanso

I am planning to book ASAP to ensure that we get our choice. I'd really appreciate any input about the above hotels or others that may have availability.

Punta del Este...
Level Contributor
3,654 posts
16 reviews
3. Re: Punta Recs

I'm familiar with all of them, but only from the outside or the public areas/restaurants, etc. I haven't seen a room in any of them, don't know if all have air conditioning, that kind of thing. Also, from season to season, the conditions of rooms can change, depending on how well they kept them during the winter and whether they "refreshed" them in a given year.

Only two of these are on the peninsula: Palace and Remanso. Another, Bravamar, is just off the peninsula, maybe a quarter of a mile to half a mile. Of these three, Remanso has the best specific location, right in the best commercial area and near the port. Remanso also looks the best from the outside, but who knows about the rooms.

Aldila is in a part of the area I didn't mention, Punta Ballena. This is a small peninsula about 5 miles from the main peninsual, headed toward Montevideo, i.e., in the direction opposite of La Barra and Jose Ignacio. Punta Ballena itself is a beautiful spot,with a breathtaking, sweeping, scallop-shell shaped beach that extends for more than 5 miles. It's on the Rio de la Plata, not the Atlantic, but you cannot tell it's not the ocean. You could even walk up the beach to the clothing-optional beach, Chihuahua, if that interests any of you. This area has the only hills in the Punta area, and Aldila is sitting high up so you should get a great open view out over the water. Aldila looks to be reat place, sort of European boutique. Very likely to be cut above either fo the three on or near the peninsula. But the issue is getting to the peninsual of Punta, and to La Barra and Jose Ignacio. Surely the buses pass by Aldila, but it would be 10-15 minutes into the peninsula, and 20minutes from there to La Barra, and another 25 minutes to Jose Ignacio.

Serena is between Punta Ballena and the main peninsula of Punta, sits right on the beach (Rio de la Plata) with spectacular views in every direction, and is a very upscale place in every way. It's probably the best hotel of the ones you've listed. Its immediate surroundings, along the road, are not great (not dangerous or anything, just a bit run-down), but you can walk along the beach all the way to the main peninsula (probably 2 to 2 1/2 miles).

La Capilla is in a residential area of Punta, about two miles from the peninsula but only 500 yards from the beach. It was once a very desirable hotel, very popular with European stars and such, but now it's a tad past its peak. Still, it's small, will be quiet. The beach you walk to is the Atlantic, i.e., rougher.

Le Club and La Posta del Cangrejo across the street from each other in La Barra. Le Club is right on a tiny beach, La Posta is 30 ards from that beach and sitting a little high so you get a good view to sea (it's the Atlantic there). Le Club is smaller, a bit more "Bohemian" but classy and popular with Europeans. La Posta is one of the classic places in the Punta area, now going on 60 years old, looks like it was snatched from a Greek island (white walls, blue touches), and generally attracts a pretty sophisticated crowd, also lots of Europeans. Both Le Club and La Posta have excellent restaurants. Their location is right in the heart of the La Barra action, although a long block off the main road where most of the noise is concentrated.

My straight ranking of the overall quality of the places, again leaving rooms aside, and without reference to their locations:


La Posta


Le Club

La Capilla


Palace, Bravamar

Good luck! One last thing: Having a car would make a lot of difference in how much you enjoyed the stay. Once you're there, you will want to explore all of the area -- 40 miles of greatly varying beaches, and differing crowds -- at your own pace.

4. Re: Punta Recs

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