OUT & ABOUT BRAZIL
By Corinne Marian
Following the international trend, Brazil tourism trade is now focusing big on the luxury market. New exclusive, small boutiques hotels and pousadas are flocking all over the country, for those who are looking for a one of a kind experience when travelling on vacation. From romantic getaways and secluded spas to glamorous pousadas out of the beaten track and wildlife adventures with all the opulence and comfort imaginable – all this is now a reality in a country made of contrasts.
Imagine waking up in a yacht to the sound of birds chirping right in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest – or relaxing on an original, fully restored lakefront plantation manor (http://www.reservadoibitipoca.com.br/en/),with rooms featuring heated bathroom floors, Egyptian cotton bed sheets, marble bathtubs and L’Occitane amenities.
At the Solar do Imperio (http://www.solardoimperio.com.br/solar-do-imp-a-rio/o-hotel.htm) located in the hill town of Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro State, it is possible to enjoy an authentic, lavish full course “historic” menu, inspired on the favorite dishes served to the Portuguese Imperial family when they ruled and resided in Brazil. The restaurant decor has its walls hand painted by the artist Dominique Jardy, and attraction by itself.
Ponta dos Ganchos Resort (http://www.pontadosganchos.com.br/ ), in Santa Catarina state, offers unforgettable candlelight, six course sample dinner menus for couples, on a private island across from of the hotel. Each course is served with pairing wine, carefully chosen by an experienced sommelier, and a very discreet waiting service.
For the health conscious, the Pousada Tankamana (http://www.pousadatankamana.com.br/), located on a secluded valley surrounded by hills and trees, offers wooden chalets, daily visits to an organic farm nearby and of course, organic menus, amid a stunning landscape.
Even if you are not Brazilian, chances are you’ve already heard of the island of Fernando de Noronha, in the Northeast of Brazil – a true paradise for divers. The relaxed elegance of Pousada Maravilha (http://www.pousadamaravilha.com.br/en-us/a-pousada-1/a-pousada-1.htm), with an average of 5 employees per room, features an infinity pool, bungalows with hot tubs and spectacular views of the Sueste Bay. The hotel focuses on sustainability to help preserve the island’s ecosystem – it uses raw materials, recycled rain water and it runs mostly on solar energy.
Golf, a sport which was never very popular in Brazil, is now a regular activity for the rich and famous. Located on a farm in Sao Paulo state, the hotel Fasano Boa Vista (http://www.fasano.com.br/hotelaria/hotel/4) features an 18-hole, 6,800-yard golf course, designed by the renowned architect Randall Thompson. After a round, sit back on the spacious decks of the Golf Club House and enjoy the sweeping views of the complex, while sipping delicious cocktails and aperitifs. Its exclusive spa offers 8 private massage rooms, each with a terrace and sun lounges overlooking the countryside.
Some of these pousadas offer combination packages as well (mostly through big operators, like us), so you can experience two or three of them during one single vacation. For example, the Solar do Imperio in conjunction with Pousada Literaria in Paraty (http://www.pousadaliteraria.com.br/) – another gem located in Rio state- offers a 5 days’ vacation (two and three days in each) including some meals and activities like bird watching, , catered picnics and of course, a complete romantic spa package for two.
If you are worried about the price tag for all this, don’t be. The rates for luxury pousadas can be very reasonable compared to hotels. As a plus, being smaller and with fewer rooms, they offer a more personal, cozy and attentive service than you might expect. Brazil is big, beautiful and diverse – combine this with top of the line service, refined food and one of a kind accommodation and you will get the perfect recipe for the ideal vacation.