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Esplendor Hotel Montevideo 3.0

Montevideo, Montevideo Department, Uruguay

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Review Summary

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  • Historic hotel with period details and art installations
  • Excellent location, four blocks from Rio de la Plata and close to dining
  • Free breakfast buffet served on a sunny terrace
  • Spa on-site with sauna and oversized pool
  • Twenty-four-hour fitness center with up-to-date machines
  • Spacious, modern rooms with high ceilings and wood floors
  • Rooms are air-conditioned and have minibars
  • Business center with modern PCs and printing services available
  • Bike rentals available (at a fee)
  • Meeting spaces available for rental
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • Wear and tear in guest rooms; moldy grout in bathrooms
  • Design issues in bathrooms
  • Fitness center is tiny
  • No room service or on-site restaurant

Bottom Line

The 84-room Esplendor Montevideo Hotel is a decent mid-range option in the middle of the city, though it has some problems. This historic property’s rotating art exhibit is impressive, and the hotel’s proximity to the waterfront and Ciudad Vieja is prime. The on-site spa and pool are also a nice plus in downtown Montevideo. Unfortunately, the hotel’s striking period architecture and lovely interior design don’t compensate for some crucial drawbacks -- modern, but austere rooms show significant wear and tear, had weak Wi-Fi, and leaky showers. At the price, though, Esplendor’s offerings still outdo nearby competition, like Orpheo Express, which has an on-site cafe but not much else in the way of amenities. 

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Historic hotel with an artsy side

First appearances are important, and at the outset the Esplendor makes a fine one, even living up to its own upscale claims. The sleek and contemporary lobby welcomes visitors with a tasteful art display in a restored building on a quiet Montevideo back street. Guests can perch on trendy lounge chairs and peruse the multitude of art books that are stacked carefully on the surrounding tables and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The hotel’s rotating Obras en Esplendor art show is a curated exhibition of local and international artists on each floor -- a clever use of the restored historic building that houses the property, one that showcases the beauty of the period architecture and distinguishes the hotel from similarly priced competition. The vibe throughout the common areas is sophisticated and serene, attracting a wide range of travelers that includes older Brazilian and European tourists plus many couples and families. 


Reasonable walks to Ciudad Vieja and the waterfront

Esplendor Hotel stands on an unassuming back street in the center of Montevideo. The immediate neighborhood is safer than many of the other central districts, which can be an issue in the Centro. Ciudad Vieja, the city's historic district -- home to a number of restaurants, gorgeous colonial architecture, museums, and the seaport -- takes just over 10 minutes to reach on foot. Plaza Independencia and Teatro Solis are both about a five-minute walk from the hotel, with the city's business district -- the Centro -- just beyond that. The waterfront is an eight-minute walk from the hotel, while the Rambla, or promenade, takes about 10 minutes to reach via taxi. The restaurants on 21 de Setiembre and the trendy Punta Carretas neighborhood, which is home to trendy dining and nightlife, take less than 10 minutes to reach by taxi as well. Expect a 35-minute drive to the international airport. 


Modern, spacious, and simple rooms with some flaws

The spacious rooms at Esplendor are initially aesthetically pleasing. There are shades of cream and beige mixed with trendy charcoal grays and sage, all offset by sharp spruce wood floors, high ceilings, and soft lighting. The features are modern as well, with all rooms including flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and minibars, as well as space to get comfortable, with plenty of tables and roomy desks. However, decor is spartan and, in many cases, beginning to look worn. Fabric headboards are sagging and stained, scuff marks ring the lower portions of some walls, and exposed cords are tangled haphazardly around table legs. Bathrooms also appear classy at first, with contemporary fixtures and hardware, plus bright tan tiling as well as shower/tub combos. However, we saw an abundance of moldy grout, and the lack of towel racks and shower design that floods the bathroom don't make the best impression. It's not worth bothering with an upgrade to a suite, the extra space just feels cavernous and they otherwise have minimal additional luxuries.


Free breakfast buffet plus on-site spa, pool, and fitness room

Breakfast here is abundant, and replenished often -- oatmeal, eggs and bacon, a range of pastries, juices, coffee, and fresh fruit are all served in a pleasantly large and sunny room. Guests can also choose to take their meal outside on the deck. There’s no on-site restaurant for lunch or dinner, and room service isn't offered, so travelers looking for a late-night meal will need to venture outside the hotel.

The dark spa has a wide, long pool as its centerpiece, lit from underneath and pleasantly heated. The sauna is small but works well, though the shower next door seems to be perpetually out of service, meaning guests have to walk the distance to use the lobby bathroom (in nothing but a towel this might feel a bit awkward). The 24-hour fitness center is really just a small side room with a few cardio machines -- they are all modern and there’s a TV.

A banquet room has ample space for large parties, as well as a stunningly elaborate gold-leaf ceiling. There are also a couple of small meeting rooms that the hotel makes available for rental, otherwise the business center consists of several computers next to the lobby. While it’s free, the Wi-Fi sometimes has a weak signal in the rooms.  

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