Departures: Grande dames get a facelift

Sofitel Carrasco Montevideo
Sofitel Carrasco Montevideo
Two very different capital cities recline on each side of the River Plate: laid-back Montevideo and the rather more accelerated Buenos Aires. Despite their differing personalities, both lived through a glorious golden age at the start of the 20th century, and now two hotels from that era have undergone substantial surgery. One, a purpose-built hotel and casino whose every last teaspoon was auctioned off before being abandoned for 13 years; the other a wedding gift from a besotted husband to his new bride. Happily, both have slipped into the 21st century while retaining defining characteristics of bygone days.

To the east of Uruguay’s capital, the former Hotel Casino Carrasco is a stately silhouette metres from the river’s sandy beaches, which hosted the likes of Albert Einstein as well as countless society balls in its heyday. In the hands of careless owners, however, this Uruguayan belle époque beauty went through hard times, and was literally left to rot. Following a considerable injection of love, the Carrasco underwent a full facelift and reopened in 2013 as Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco and Spa.

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