José Ignacio for Spring Break: Which Vik to Pick?
October 14, 2019 by Allison Reiber DiLiegro
A bohemian beach town on Uruguay’s coast, José Ignacio is a coveted holiday destination for in-the-know travelers. The brand behind the buzz is Vik Retreats, who own the town’s top three properties: Estancia Vik, Playa Vik and Bahia Vik.
The holiday season books out months in advance, but insiders have another time of year on their radar: Spring Break. March is low season in José Ignacio, but perhaps it shouldn’t be. March has some of the best weather of the year, little rain and warm water for swimming. Restaurants are lively but not too packed. In short, travelers can have the full José Ignacio experience without the crowds and high holiday rates.
What does the full José Ignacio experience entail? Bohemian, elegant, and distinctly Uruguayan, a trip to José Ignacio is about long lunches, sipping good wine, riding horses, lounging on the beach and admiring art. And if you’re lucky, your José Ignacio experience includes a stay at one of the Vik Retreats.
Guests at one property have access to the activities at all three, but each offers a distinct experience. Here’s how to pick the perfect Vik for you.
The scene: Surrounded by 4,000 acres of land, Estancia Vik offers the quintessential gaucho experience. The 12-room estate is set inside a Spanish colonial ranch with traditional white adobe walls. The interiors, however, veer from the traditional. Each is unique, featuring site-specific work by contemporary Uruguayan artists. Countryside activities like horseback riding and polo lessons are a major draw, the beach is easily accessible by a 10-minute drive or 30-minute bike ride.
A day at Estancia Vik: Estancia Vik has the most extensive activities list of the three, so a day is what you make of it. In addition to horseback riding and polo lessons, there’s bird watching, yoga classes, wine tasting, mountain biking, cooking lessons and olive oil tastings next to the Estancia (accessible by horseback, should you wish). Kids and the young at heart can join a soccer game, play paintball in the woods or play golf at the nearby La Barra Golf Club. Soak up the last rays of sunlight with a swim in the pool or bike ride down to the beach.
Who it’s right for: Thanks to the excellent activities, Estancia Vik is a perfect choice for families, active couples and equestrians. Large groups looking to take over a property may also be best suited to Estancia Vik. The rates for a buyout can be as low as $5,000 per night during March.
The scene: The avant-garde Playa Vik is a haven for art-lovers. The focal point of the property is the Sculpture building, a futuristic structure that houses four suites, a restaurant and the library. Just outside, a sparkling swimming pool reaches out over the beach. Six casas, from two- to three-bedroom, wrap around a courtyard. As with the other Vik properties, each of the artist-designed rooms is unique. The best offer uninterrupted views of the beach.
A day at Playa Vik: Set on a calm beach, guests can swim and stand-up paddle-board right off the property. A short walk away is José Ignacio town, a charming spot for shopping, strolling and dinner. A wilder beach on the other side of town is ideal for watersports, like surfing and kite surfing. Guests are welcome at Estancia Vik for the ranch activities. By night, cozy up by the fire pit for a cocktail before walking to town for dinner.
Who it’s right for: Families, couples and friends who are looking to be on the beach and a short walk from town. La Susana, the beach club owned by the Viks, is set between Playa Vik and Bahia Vik.
The scene: The newest and largest of the three Vik properties, Bahia Vik offers a beachfront resort experience, though an intimate one. Set on 10 acres of beach and dunes, there’s plenty of room to roam at Bahia Vik. Where Playa Vik is artsy and avant-garde, Bahia Vik is takes a more contemporary turn. Even so, art is an essential element of the experience. The 10 suites and 11 bungalows, all artist-designed, each come with private terraces. Many offer beautiful views of the dunes and the ocean.
A day at Bahia Vik: Set on the beach, guests can swim and paddle-board just off the property. Have a long lunch at the beachfront restaurant or visit La Susana, the neighboring beach club. As José Ignacio is a 20-minute walk away, taking a stroll through town is easy. Or, take to the water to explore by boat. Bahia Vik guests are welcome at Estancia Vik for the ranch activities.
Who it’s right for: Families, couples and friends who are looking for a resort experience on the beach. There is a game room and plenty of space for kids to run and play. La Susana, the beach club owned by the Viks, is just next door.