Andrew Saffir Reveals Why He Headed to Uruguay — Not St. Barts — for the First Time in 30 Years

Andrew Saffir Uruguay - P 2015
Courtesy of Andrew Saffir

Andrew Saffir Uruguay - P 2015

The Cinema Society head has a new go-to spot south of the equator: "It feels as though we've discovered a secret"

This story first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Listen up, Hollywood insiders! I have a find for you. Most people I know are aware of my 30-year love affair with St. Barts, but this year my better half, Daniel Benedict, and I set off Magellan-style for South America. Touching down in Buenos Aires, we dined with our friends, world famous polo player (and Ralph Lauren face) Nacho, his wife, Delfina Figueras, and Jason Wu (designer of choice for Diane Kruger, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon and more). The next morning, we flew to Punta del Este in Uruguay and drove to the village of Jose Ignacio.

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While Punta is high rises and a Croisette-ish strip, the drive to Jose Ignacio is more rugged, with a haphazard mix of fishermen's cottages and sleek Richard Meier-esque glass beach houses. It's magic: The crowd looks as if Pedro Almodovar cast a seaside film of sunned, stunning women and ruggedly handsome men. There is nary a high heel or Birkin in sight, and everyone oozes effortless beach style. Delectable Uruguayan lunches are at the beachfront La Huella (like Club 55, but better) or private club La Caracola. Dinners start at an hour after sunset at 10 p.m. at one of a handful of pitch-black, candlelight-only restaurants on the sand. Asados, or BBQs, are held at stunning oceanfront homes. The flavor reminds me of St. Barts 20-plus years ago, almost every magazine cover-worthy face speaks in a foreign tongue (Spanish predominantly, with whiffs of French and Italian), and English is a rarity. A few New Yorkers and Los Angelenos have caught on: producer Dede Gardner and playboy Giuseppe Cipriani, Discovery Channel's Rich Ross, Disney's Adam Sanderson, director-producer Matt Tyrnauer and others. The places to stay are the glamorous Vik hotels, the Casa Suaya and a few other beachy posadas. There are no fancy cars or designer shops, the power went out one night, and the Internet is spotty. But Jose Ignacio is heaven, and it feels as though we've discovered a secret. Now you have, too.