My weekend at a Uruguayan wine lodge

Last weekend I sneaked off to a local wine lodge with a friend. I hadn’t seen my friend, Gigi for donkeys years and so I wanted somewhere homely, fun and private where we could catch up. Aguaverde was all this… and a lot more.

I’m lucky enough to have stayed in some pretty swanky hotels over the years, but I’ve never felt quite so at ease at I did at Aguaverde.

Aguaverde isn’t a hotel. There is no check in time, no check out time, no breakfast time. In fact, for guests there isn’t really the concept of time. ‘Gigi, what day is it again?’ I’d ask. Who cares!

However, the hotel is run according to five star clockwork. Our fireplace stayed alight throughout the day. Our rooms were cleaned and tidied. Blinds were drawn in the day, and beds were turned down at night time. Breakfast was ready when we were.

Yet, we were never disturbed. I put it down to a team of magic fairy elves.

Clearly there are staff, and they’re very good. We met most of the team, and they went above and beyond to make sure we were enjoying ourselves.

The staff are mostly family or have worked in the business for years, and it shows. The lodge is not run by magic elves, but it does have a magical feeling.

We drank tea, chatted, drank more tea and chatted some more. Then we ate, walked and ate (rather a lot) all over again.

Now, Aguaverde is luxurious, but it isn’t a fancy gold taps, bling bling type of place. Aguaverde is all about enjoying the simple things in life. Yes, the food and wine is amazing, but the idea behind Aguaverde is appreciating it with friends.

We feasted on wonderful local produce, from the comfort of a worn leather sofa, by the hearth.

The owners, Pancho and Caroline, along with all of the staff made us feel at home. Pancho is a former DJ and the couples’ love for life seems only to have grown stronger. My friend Gigi and I snorted with laughter as they told their stories.

We didn’t watch TV or even get around to the board games, but enjoyed country strolls around the estate.

We explored the hotel Pancho and Caroline’s estate. There was a little spa area with a sauna and massage area, which we never got around to testing as we were talking too much.

We spotted a cute wine cellar and meant to stop for a tasting, but lost track of time. And we even saw a room within a wine cellar.

I booked Aguaverde on a whim… well in fact I didn’t even book it. There is no formal booking process. I didn’t share any credit card, or sign any forms. As I presented my passport to check in, Pancho laughed. There is no check in!

As a business, Aguaverde shouldn’t work. But it does, and it does so spectacularly. It runs on trust, fun and wine.

If you go on the Aguaverde website, you can read all about the food, the wine, the bedrooms and so on… but you’d miss the real point of a stay here – this is a place with a soul.

We stayed in low season and paid $145 USD per person per night. An elaborate tasting menu with wine pairing was $80 USD per person, while a three-course dinner with wine pairing was charged at $ 60 USD. For more visit

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