Open curtains and windows allowed me to enjoy the serene quiet of night as I occasionally awoke and counted twelve flashing navigational lights in the distance marking islands on the Rio de la Plata. Nine days of travel have taken me to Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, and Buenos Aires. I am not a city person. I like outdoor walks in the woods and on the beach. I instantly fell in love with the Sheraton Colonia Golf Resort & Spa in Colonia, Uruguay. A sense of calm relaxation enveloped me from the moment I arrived.
Winter here means temperatures in the 40s and 50s. The outdoor pools are drained for maintenance and repairs. The sandy beach is littered with yellow leaves from the marshland trees, and the occasional plastic bottle.
The only sounds I hear are the variety of bird songs and the lapping water of the Rio de la Plata on the sand. Serenity and quiet, well-being and relaxation, these are the offerings of the Sheraton Colonia in the off-season.
Colonia, Uruguay is an easy one hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina on the Buquebus. There is a world of difference between the two locations. In Buenos Aires I walked the broken stone sidewalks while choked by auto and bus exhaust coming from the crowded streets. My senses were abused by mechanical noise and noxious fumes.
I feel totally wrapped in silence after more than a week of planes, trains, busses, and subways. Having no loud sounds bombarding my ears is a soothing respite from travel. This is rural Uruguay. This is vacation land and just the remedy I needed to recuperate from all the urban hustle of this past week.
The palm fronds blow in the breeze awash in subtle orange light. A gentle beat of a ship’s motor echoes off the water. The open patio door hasn’t cooled the room as much as I hoped. This is one of the darkest hotel locations I have ever seen. There are so few lights outside beyond the orange glow of palms at the resort. The stars must be incredible to view here, however, the sky has been cloudy and the air thick with fog for most of the past two weeks. The airport in Buenos Aires has been closed for days at a time.
I turn on the TV to check the airport situation and see more bad news of the Iraq war. I turn off the TV after 15 minutes to turn the serenity back on here in Colonia by the Rio de la Plata. The patio tile is cold on my feet as I open the sliding door wide to let more cool 11 degree Celsius air into the room. I slip on sandals and stand outside listening to the river.
Not since being in Bali in 2003 at the Nusa Dua Resort the year after the Kuta bombing have I been in such a beautiful resort to find the hotel staff outnumbering the hotel guests. I have 1,200 square feet in a two-room, two full bath suite – both with spa tubs, an office decorated in gorgeous stone walls, a closet large enough to sleep in, two wall mounted TVs, a kitchenette, seating for 12 persons, and two patio balconies.
This is a lovely resort even in the winter off-season. The estuarial environment may lose more of its beauty and solitude as a large housing development is scheduled to be built and encompass the existing Sheraton Golf and Spa resort.
The indoor/outdoor pool is heavenly. Three or four people were working out in the adjacent fitness room and a trainer was working with a couple. I swam for an hour with nobody else using the pool.
The indoor pool has a narrow channel extension to the outdoors. The warm water surrounded my body while the cool breeze blew across my head. Birds singing songs in the shrubs and bushes outside the hotel created a living musical soundtrack to soak by.
Twice I was the solo diner at the hotel restaurant. The table by the window was decorated with fresh flowers. My noontime meal had three kinds of bell peppers, eggplant, carrots and three pieces of a sole-like fish. There was also some crispy leaf vegetable unfamiliar to me. The plate was streaked with a chocolate sauce.
A staff of women watched my every move. It was necessary to maintain my gaze at the plates of food or out the window since anytime I glanced toward the group of women it triggered a service request for anything I might need. My table was loaded with beer, water, three kinds of bread, a cheese plate, and the fish entrée. What more could I need?
Note to self: Remember in future to sit facing away from the kitchen and staff to avoid being watched stuffing my face.
UB 40 played over the restaurant speakers. Rock & Roll is the global constant. In contrast, the spa ambience kept soundscapes music softly playing.
Here is a 4-minute video slideshowI made from Sheraton Colonia photos during my stay. This video has several more pictures of the hotel and my hotel suite.
Starwood Hotels Sheraton Colonia Golf & Spa Resort was a category 3 hotel when I was a guest in June 2007. My room cost $45 and 2,800 starpoints for a Cash & Points stay. The lowest available published rate at the time was $160 per night.
Sheraton Colonia is now a Starwood category 4 hotel and available for $60 + 4,000 starpoints as a Cash & Points award or 10,000 points per night as an all points award. Published room rates are between $160 and $300 per night.
August 2009 BuquebusBuenos Aires-Colonia ferry rates: $138ARS (Argentina pesos) or about US$36 one way for tourist class and $188ARS, about $50 one –way in First Class.