What’s your dream vacation? This commonplace question always elicits varying and diverse replies from its respondents. Though many of us know where we are most yearning to go, the biggest obstacle whilst planning a trip lies in determining how you are going to experience that place when you get there. When the ALIGN team sat down to discuss our next trip, we knew we wanted to travel to South America. This time around, however, we didn’t want to handle the logistical details, so we had our friends at Gray & Co. curate the perfect Uruguayan getaway for our team.
Gray & Co. is an industry leader in active luxury trips to all corners of the world. With more than two decades of experience, this tour operator curates custom itineraries for their clients down to the smallest detail. From biking through the vineyards of Tuscany, to exploring the surrounding areas of Lake Powell, each trip is thought out and flexible— crafted specifically around the preferences of the client. We were impressed by how hands-off we truly were throughout the planning process, and how seemingly effortless our dream trip to Uruguay came to life.
Pre-trip coordination was seamless. The Gray & Co. team has clients fill out information forms, which helps to dial in personal preferences to ensure the perfect trip is accommodating for everyone involved. Detailed itineraries are sent out months in advance, allowing participants to familiarize (and daydream!) about their adventure-packed days and their luxe evenings to come.
Many Gray & Co. itineraries are rooted in outdoor activities like hiking or biking. We spent three days road biking with our lovely guide, Annie. She assisted in fitting us for our top-tier carbon-fiber bikes, and in instructed us expertly through our gears. Much like Annie, your trusted guide will start with outlining the day’s ride in great detail to properly set expectations with the group. All of the routes we took were carefully chosen, and we had the opportunity to explore the area around Jose Ignacio, riding through the rolling countryside and cruising along the coastline.
On our second day of road biking, we stopped midday riding amongst various vineyards and wineries in the Uruguayan countryside, and made our way to the stylish Hotel Fasano for lunch. It was delightful to take in all of the views from the lovely property as we enjoyed a well deserved lunch overlooking the Maldonado River. The most memorable dining experience for all of us, however, was experiencing a traditional parrilla dinner at Estancia Vik. The servers brought out course after course of different meats and vegetables straight off of the asado.
Activities outside of road biking were seamlessly woven into our itinerary as well. On one of our visits to the rustic-chic Estancia Vik, we ventured out alongside their onsite gauchos for a sunset horseback ride. This was a fantastic way to experience their sprawling property, and learn more about the history of the hotel.
Gray & Co. handled our accommodation vetting, setting us up in the stylish fishing village of Jose Ignacio in a lovely three-bedroom casa at Playa Vik. We were not disappointed! Playa Vik was characterized by incredible contemporary design, incorporating unique architecture and art forms throughout. Visitors can spend the day strolling the expansive beachfront that sits just in front, or they can opt for soaking up the Uruguayan sun (or caipirinhas) in the hotel’s beautifully constructed cantilevered swimming pool. We were also treated to property tours of Vik’s sister properties, Bahia Vik and Estancia Vik, which are also plugged into Gray & Co. itineraries.
Lunch and dinner reservations are another thing that comes included in every Gray & Co. trip, really allowing travelers alike to focus on enjoying themselves rather than worry about the fuss of planning these details that can too easily become tedious. We kicked off our first dinner of the trip at Parador La Huella, a chic beachside restaurant that served up amazing seafood.
Our last morning in Uruguay was spent at the charming, The Shack Yoga, where we reflected on our trip during a lengthy Vinyasa style class. Overall, the blend of guided/planned activity was a great balance with the time we had to relax in the spa, peruse through the cute shops of Jose Ignacio, and break for cocktails.
Overall, our experience with Gray & Co. in Uruguay was incredible, a trip filled with unique experiences and the most memorable of moments. Gray & Co.’s experience in the luxe travel sphere is unparalleled. Our experience was a perfect balance of activity, leisure time and relaxation. We would be delighted to connect you with our friends at Gray & Co. to assist you with all the details for your bucket list trip in 2018.