SALTO, Uruguay, Aug. 20, 2016 – Sometimes the best places to visit are the ones that require a little effort to get to. Whether it is the satisfaction of accomplishing something that tests your wanderlust spirit or nothing more than the personal pride of discovery, there is something magical about finding a traveler’s treasure hidden in a world of tourism.
Peter Wirth is an enterprising hotel entrepreneur with a rich pedigree in the business. After growing up in the luxurious Hotel Hassler in Rome, he became executive director of Waldorf Towers in New York.
The Bucher-Wirth family is a familiar name to veteran travelers that is filled with tradition and heritage. For five generations they have been catering to the world’s most prestigious clientele, and their name is revered throughout Switzerland and Italy, where the family perfected the art of hospitality.
Following the family legacy, Peter ventured into Mexico and established the first Relais & Chateaux property there in San Miguel Allende.
Now Peter has returned to Latin America with his most recent “Inn-carnation” known as Casa Wirth in Salto, Uruguay. In the true spirit of the family tradition, Casa Wirth labels itself “Your Uruguayan home with a heart,” where the only requirement is to “enjoy simple life with a touch of class.”
To be sure, Casa Wirth is off the beaten path. Having lived in New York, Peter Wirth knows all too well that there is Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway. In the world of travel, Casa Wirth is termed a “pathfinder” destination, which is code for “off-off-the-beaten-path.” But that’s part of the magic, and it does not mean that you must sacrifice comfort or luxury.
To begin with, the 12,000-square0foot estate was once the love nest of an Argentinian ballerina, and it has been renovated into a secluded five-guest-room hideaway nestled along the shores of the Rio Uruguay.
Each room is uniquely furnished with colonial flair that retains the original style. It is tasteful and “unfussy” rather than plush. Bathrooms have been designed to offer individuality and peerless character. And, just so the “civilized” world doesn’t get too far away, free wi-fi is also included.
Half of the property is a garden where guests can enjoy a traditional asado or Uruguayan barbecue.
Casa Wirth is a place that time forgot where you can pick a fresh passion fruit from a tree and savor its succulent juiciness as you settle back with the aroma of fragrant orchids and roses.
Breakfast is included and lovingly prepared by the staff, who will also wash and iron your clothes, if you like.
A short 30-minute drive from Salto, Uruguay’s second largest city, guests at Casa Wirth are welcomed at Estancia Don Pipo, a 2,470-acre ranch with over 100 Criollo and Arab horses and a herd of 400 cattle. This is the world of the gauchos, and it’s the real thing.
Visitors can spend the day or experience the estancia overnight in one of its cottages. Estancia Don Pipo’s owner is also Swiss, which ensures the ultimate in hospitality and charm.
Other activities at Estancia Don Pipo include horseback riding, bird watching and an opportunity to experience the world of the gauchos.
As cruise ships like to say, “At Casa Wirth, you can do everything or you can do nothing at all.” For the “do everything” crowd, there are wine tours, access to the Club Romero gym, paragliding, tours of colonial landmarks, visits to the pilgrimage site of Padre Pio and the San Antonio battlefield and the relaxing thermal pools of Termas de San Nicanor.
It is also possible to take a ferry to Argentina for lunch.
Best of all are the prices. At $85 per night for a double room, including breakfast and fresh local orange juice, you might just stay forever.
The entire casa can also be reserved, complete with a private kitchen and full staff, including gardener, handyman and housekeeper/cook. Casa Wirth can accommodate up to 10 guests, but there is no minimum required to reserve the entire property for $390 per night.
As mentioned above, getting there requires a flight to either Montevideo or Buenos Aires and then a choice between a private plane or a chauffeured car or rental car. Drive time to Salto is approximately five hours.
Anyone familiar with the Bucher-Wirth reputation for excellence knows all too well that they are “out-of-the-box” experts in the art of comfort and privacy.
Peter Wirth continues that tradition with his newest enterprise, Casa Wirth in Salto, Uruguay. This is truly a “touch of class in South America,” or perhaps better, “a touch of Wirth in Uruguay.”
As Peter Wirth puts it, “Mi casa es tu casa at Casa Wirth!”
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more.
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