Mantra Resort Uruguayan-modernism in hip-residential setting
Argentinean Elite, Leonardo DiCaprio, model Eva Herzigova
Reason to Stay:
Architectural Design, Beach Club, Residential Setting
Preferred Room:Deluxe Room
Special Features:Casino, Trendy Clientele, Sexy Staff
Amenities:Restaurant, Spa, Pool, Lounge, Fitness Center
We were there for the opening in 2004, which came with a good dose of fanfare and a fancy-Cipriani name. That name has since been abandoned due to strife between the owners and investors, which included the National Oil Company of Angola, leading to the 2005 re-launch as the Mantra Resort. At the time of opening, it was one of South America's best resorts with a sexy modern design and youthful vibe that attracted the international jetset. The hotel is located in La Barra, a cozy residential area with groovy restaurants and bars, midway between Punta del Este and Jose Ignacio.
Up a curved driveway, guests arrive to a shaded courtyard with buttoned-up bellman in mandarin-collared suites with sexy grins. The check-in counter is a mere-desk set back from the marble lobby posing with Italianate furnishings, Arco lamps and open fireplace. Most guests get into their swimsuits as fast as possible, and make their way to one of the wooden loungers surrounding the pool. Others opt to roam around and discover the clay tennis courts or decadent spa area with top-notch fitness center that even offers spinning.
Luckily the hotel's modest casino is well hidden from the hotel, with its dressed-up locals spending their hard labors on overpriced card tables and tacky slot machines. Since its re-launch the hotel has cutback on some services, namely the gardens are a bit over-grown and the furnishings (especially around the pool) are starting to show their age.
It wasn’t an easy removing the Cipriani-logo from every bathroom, water glass and bed linen immediately after opening – and most people still spot a few. The hotel is built in a U-shaped design offering residential or pool views from small balconies and porches. Standard accommodations are not large, but well decorated with small seating areas and writing desks in a black-and-white color scheme. Bathrooms are bright and cozy with honed-marble flooring, deep-soaking tubs and fluffy linens. Larger room categories include a Junior Suite (with separate living room) and Executive Suites featuring oversized terraces and obscured ocean views. Service is speedy and refined throughout the hotel, including a private butler who surfaces after checking–in to offer unpacking services and other posh demands that no one ever has the nerve to request. Be sure to visit the Manatiales Beach Club, a short walk from the hotel with its lounge décor, evening DJs and oversize sun-beds perfect for show-offs.
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