It's the dead of winter in South America, but it's not too soon to start thinking about summer -- beginning in December -- at Casa Suaya near José Ignacio, a hush-hush hot spot on the Atlantic Coast of Uruguay. Some say José Ignacio, favored by such celebs as novelist Martin Amis and supermodel Naomi Campbell, looks like the Hamptons of 20 years ago.
Adolfo Suaya, the Brazilian-born restaurant whiz who gave L.A. such A-list eateries as the Lodge in Beverly Hills and Geisha House in Hollywood, built an estancia on four acres of Uruguayan pampas, where horse pastures and pine trees yield to the sea, then added two swimming pools and six guest suites, with 12 more to come (priced at $600 a night, including breakfast). The décor is a modern-antique mix, and each villa has a kitchen, fireplace and ocean view. Suaya plans to add a dining room with a palapa roof, but meanwhile guests can sup and -- very discreetly -- watch for stars at restaurants, including Marismo and La Huella.
The drill in José Ignacio is to sleep late, have a seemingly endless lunch, nap and then at 7 p.m. hit the beach, where, Suaya says, you will see some of the world's most beautiful people. Info and reservations: www.casasuaya.com.