(0)20 7407 1478

855 625 2753 US

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Just another reason to visit the Galapagos right now

If you haven’t already heard, a volcanic eruption is happening right now on Isabela, a large westerly island in the archipelago.

Wolf Volcano has been showing some seismic activity in recent months, and now after 33 years of inactivity it finally started erupting on the morning of the 25 May. Magma flow can now been seen running slowly down southeast. It hasn’t reached the coast yet and the activity now seems to be decreasing in intensity.

This may sound scary to some, but the new eruption poses no danger to Puerto Villamil, the nearest human settlement, and scientists from the Charles Darwin Research Station say the impact to the environment will be minimal. The small population of rare and endemic pink iguanas are also not at risk.

Guests visiting that region of the Galapagos at the moment will be lucky enough to see some spectacular views, particularly at night.

38 Outrageously Luxurious Hotels In Brazil

Brazil has some of the finest hotels in the world. Here’s a rundown of the 38 most luxurious properties from all corners of the country in no particular order.

Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro

Capacabana Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Superbly positioned overlooking the sea, adjacent to Copacabana beach, this glamorous Belmond (formerly Orient-Express) landmark in Rio has been welcoming the rich and famous since its Art Deco doors swung open in 1923. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced here and the Rolling Stones tuned up in its grand salon before their concert on the beach.

Each room is individually designed with fine period furniture and original works of art, giving an elegant yet relaxed ambiance. Views are either of the world-famous Copacabana beach, or towards the city behind. The magnificent pool and adjacent super-cool Bar do Copa are the perfect place to try one of Brazil’s famous caipirinhas whilst soaking up the sun and mingling with Rio’s style-setters.

Fasano, Rio de Janeiro

Fasona Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Designed by French designer Philippe Starck and inspired by the Rio de Janiero of the 50’s and 60’s, this luxurious hotel sits on its own private stretch of fashionable Ipanema beach.

All the rooms and suites have a slick design with gorgeous hard wood floors and Dali-inspired mirrors. A large infinity pool on the roof boasts spectacular views across the ocean. The hotel has excellent food at the Al Maro restaurant, serving Italian and locally inspired cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Hotel Santa Teresa is considered one of the most beautiful hotels in South America. A historical coffee plantation mansion in the trendy area of the same name and now the cultural and historical heart of Rio de Janeiro.

This boutique hotel was restored with charm and sophistication. It’s surrounded by tropical gardens and includes panoramic pools, a natural spa, a lounge bar classified as the most romantic in Rio de Janeiro and Térèze Restaurant with Franco-Brazilian gastronomy by Chef Damien Montecer. Jaw-dropping views of the city, the harbour and the bay can be seen from all the rooms and garden.

Fasano, São Paulo

Fasano Sao Paulo, Brazil

Found in the heart of the exclusive Jardins neighbourhood, São Paulo’s most elegant hotel offers personal service, luxurious rooms and what is regarded as South America’s finest Italian cuisine. The hotel recreates classically detailed 1930´s style with contemporary aesthetics and conveniences. The spa and rooftop swimming pool are an oasis from the busy city.

Emilianao, São Paulo

Emiliano Hotel Sao Paulo, Brazil

Located on Oscar Freire Street in the heart of the exclusive Jardin neighbourhood, the Emiliano is a modern and luxurious. The design of the hotel has been carefully thought about and has won awards for its architecture.

All the rooms are modern and spacious and the service is excellent. The spa located on the 22nd floor has panoramic views over the city and beyond and offers a range of treatments to help you unwind after a day of exploration.

Hotel Unique, São Paulo

Hotel Unique

This striking building designed by Ruy Ohtake is certainly unique. From the outside it looks like a giant boat, and on the inside some rooms have curved walls. The vast atrium is the ultimate in minimalistic modernity, though furnished with brightly coloured seating and an enigmatic statue of St. George.

Within the rooms window shutters, lamps and a folding glass wall dividing the bedroom from bathroom are controlled by electric gizmos. You can even watch the TV from the bathtub. Other facilities include a lobby bar complete with wall of wine bottles, the rooftop Skye Bar (popular with locals), and most unusual of all, an adjacent red swimming pool.

L’Hotel Porto Bay, São Paulo

L'Hotel Porto Bay Sao Paulo, Brazil

L’Hotel is a boutique hotel with a more classic than contemporary feel; think marble floors and a wrought-iron banister staircase in the lobby. Rococo styled furniture and huge flower displays complete the ambiance.

There are only 73 rooms on 15 floors so it is smaller than most hotels in the centre of São Paulo. The fine cotton Spanish bed linen and marble bathrooms give it a luxurious feel.  The staff are very attentive and the hotel well located just off the Avenue Paulista. You would be hard pushed to find a better option in the city.

Fasano Boa Vista, São Paulo state

Fasano Boa Vista Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fasano Boa Vista is this small luxury chains’ first country retreat. Located in São Paulo state, the hotel was designed by renowned Brazilian architect, Isay Weinfeld. It’s designed in a way that integrates into the spectacular surroundings.

The hotel has 27 deluxe rooms, 11 suites and 1 two-bedroom suite all of which have modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, 46” HD televisions, Ipod docks, Egyptian-cotton sheets, goose feather pillows and balconies. It also features three restaurants, a bar, tennis courts, a soccer field, a steam room, sauna, spa, four heated pools and a fully equipped fitness centre. If you’re looking for serious luxury in beautiful surroundings, this is the place for you.

Ponta dos Ganchos, Florianopolis

Ponta dos Ganchos, Florianopolis, Brazil

Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort is located on a privately-owned peninsula, surrounded by the Emerald Coast. The luxurious villas and bungalows set within this privileged location guarantees guests total privacy.

The hotel offers a state-of-the-art fitness centre, bar, lounge, games room, heated swimming pool, massage gazebos, spa and nature trails. The restaurant offers fine cuisine with locally sourced food some from within the hotels own organic garden. Additional boat trips can be arranged to Baía dos Golfinhos (Bay of Dolphins) and Arvoredo Island, the best site for scuba diving in South Brazil.

Convento do Carmo, Salvador

Pousada Convento do Carmo, grupo Pestana, Salvador, Bahia.

In the heart of Pelourinho a former Carmelite convent dating back to 1586 now hosts a gorgeous luxury hotel. Respecting every inch of its rich and spiritual past, the building was transformed to offer a charming boutique hotel with rooms arranged around cloisters and courtyards. A relaxing L’Occitane spa awaits after a day of exploring Salvador. Fine cuisine completes this multiple award-winning hotel.

UXUA, Bahia

UXUA Trancoso Brazil

UXUA Casa Hotel includes ten unique casas which blend seamlessly into the historic centre of Trancoso, a small fishing village on Brazil’s idyllic southern Bahian coast.

Four casas are restored fishermen’s homes on the 16th century town green called the Quadrado, while six others sit in a lush garden. The casas were created by designer Wilbert Das in collaboration with local artisans using traditional building methods, reclaimed materials, and Brazilian antiques and art. The design blends rustic elements with contemporary comfort and roominess, and fuses in an innovative way indoor and outdoor living spaces to take advantage of a year-round, tropical climate.

Service is provided in friendly, Bahian style, including two restaurants specializing in traditional local cuisine, a spa, a unique swimming pool of healing aventurine crystals, and a spectacular beach lounge created from old fishing boats.

Txai Resort, Bahia

txai resort brazil

This rustic-chic hotel is sat on a beautiful stretch of Bahia’s Cacoa coast. Simple but stylish guest rooms as well as individual bungalows on stilts with palm thatch roofs, some with Jacuzzis and private plunge pools are all just moments away from the turquoise blue waters of the sea.

Try visiting the fantastic hilltop spa offering a variety of treatments, a pool with stunning ocean views and sauna. Many local activities including water sports and horse riding can be arranged nearby.

Fazenda da Lagoa, Bahia

Fazenda de lagoa, Brazil

Stunning tranquil and remote eco-resort with fourteen colourful cabanas, on a pristine white-sand beach backed by rainforest. To reach the farm, where artist Mucki Skowronski and her husband have established this stylish resort within their 300-hectare property, you are ferried across a private lagoon through mangroves and monkeys. With a maximum of just twenty eight guests and no neighbouring properties you will feel as if you are in your own private slice of paradise.

Canto das Aguas, Lençóis

Canto das Aguas, Brazil

Built on the curve of the Rio Lencois, and designed by an architect using local stone and wood, in every room of this environmentally friendly hotel you can hear the sound of the nearby flowing river.

A place for meditation and relaxation with a hillside massage tent, sauna, an impressive pool and gardens full of native plant species. Solar energy provides hot water and social initiatives are supported by the hotel.

Estrela D’Agua, Trancoso

Estrela D’Agua, Brazil

Overlooking Nativos Beach, this laid back, hip hotel prides itself on its exceptional interior design inspired by the natural beauty of the area. Each of the seafront bungalows and suites are spacious, light and airy with elegant decor where rustic and luxury find harmony.

The hotel’s restaurant serves local dishes by candlelight in the evening. Relax and unwind on beach or in the hotel pool or explore the local area including the local fishing village of Trancoso with its boutique shops, restaurants and nightlife. Hiking, horse riding, diving, and boat trips can all be arranged nearby.

Villa Serano, Lençóis

Villa Serrano hotel

Designed by the owners to be environmentally sustainable, the pousada was recently built in 19th century Portuguese colonial style. All thirteen rooms have been individually decorated to create a peaceful and harmonious environment. The interior and furniture of the rooms were handcrafted by local artists. The guestrooms all have an attached veranda with hammock. Relax in the shade of the garden’s trees, have a massage or simply relax in the whirlpool of the open air mini spa.

Tivoli Eco-Resort, Praia do Forte

Tivoli Eco Resort, Brazil

A luxurious five-star hotel. The deluxe suites and selection of rooms with sea facing balconies offer a comfortable home-from-home in this haven of warm waters and white sands.

Try delicious delicacies direct from the sea or enjoy a cocktail from any of the three restaurants and two bars at your disposal. If you have a little extra energy to expend the hotel has a wide range of sports facilities, if you don’t relax within the well-appointed spa.

Toca da Coruja, Pipa

Toca da Coruja, Brazil

Lush tropical gardens surround the enchanting Toca da Coruja. Built in traditional colonial style this hotel consists of a series of wooden bungalows set within a jungle oasis within minutes of the stunning beach.

The bungalows, connected by wooden walkways, range in size, are decorated in bright Caribbean colours and are furnished with both contemporary and antique pieces. The award winning restaurant offers wonderfully crafted Brazilian food.

Nannai Resort & Spa, Porto de Galinhas

Nannai Resort, Brazil

The Nannai Resort & Spa is located around nine kilometres from Porto de Galinhas on a vast stretch of Muro Alto Beach. It’s a large hotel with plenty of rooms, each well designed with private balconies.

The resort recently won the Conde Nast Johansens ‘Best Spa Award 2014’. The Nannai Spa by L’Occitane offers everything you would imagine from a world class spa – Jacuzzis, saunas, hydrotherapy, gym and a wealth of treatments. The resort also features over six thousand square metres of pool which surround the hotel and feature swimming lanes, Jacuzzis and even a water volleyball area.

There are plenty of other activities on offer from the use of laser boats, kayaks, snorkelling, stand up paddles, tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, pitch and putt golf and a games room.

Kenoa Resort & Spa, Barra de São Miguel

Kenoa Resort & Spa, Brazil

The Kenoa enjoys a spectacular location on Barra de São Miguel beach and next to a nature reserve. There are just twenty three suites and villas, each of which is tastefully decorated and extremely comfortable.

The resort also features a spa, fitness centre, pool, driving range, business and conference centre, lounge, wine bar and a restaurant where you can dine on excellent cuisine.

Anavilhanas Lodge, near Manaus

Anavilhanas, Amazon, Brazil

This charming lodge cleverly combines comfort with the surrounding nature. Located on the Rio Negro River which opens up to reveal over 400 islands, each adorned with thick virgin rainforest and seasonal river beaches. This really is a nature lover’s paradise with countless birds, tree-dwelling animals and aquatic life, including the pink river dolphin.

Each of the sixteen cabins are decorated with local arts and crafts, each with a private veranda and hammock and are surprisingly luxurious even having air conditioning. The lodge has a pool and decked area with stunning views over the surrounding area. During your stay you can take part in many of the activities including jungle hikes, sunrise and nocturnal canoe tours.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge, near Alta Floresta

Cristalino Amazon Brazil

The Cristalino is located in a private natural heritage reserve adjacent to the 456,800 acre Cristalino State Park and is easily the most luxurious of jungle lodges in Latin America. Pioneering in their approach to sustainable conservation, much of the profits are reinvested back into projects in the Alta Floresta Region.

The surrounding area is rich in over 580 species of bird, many butterfly species, capybaras, anteaters, river otters and many varieties of monkeys. During your stay you can enjoy many of the activities on offer including hikes, canoe rides and trips to the excellent fifty metre high observation platform.

Hotel Das Cataratas, Iguaçu Falls

Das Cataratas, Iguaçu Brazil

The only hotel located within the Iguassu National Park, Hotel das Cataratas enjoys an unrivalled location just a short stroll from the sensational waterfalls. Guests enjoy exclusive access to this magnificent sight in the evening and at dawn, when the park is closed to other visitors.

A Portuguese-colonial residence, this classic Belmond (formerly Orient-Express) hotel is redolent with the atmosphere of lazy days lounging on a veranda or beneath sub-tropical palms. All rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated, some with views overlooking the falls.

Araras Lodge, Pantanal

Araras Lodge, Pantanal, Brazil

Along the Transpantaneira park road, 132 kms from Cuibá, this lodge offers rustic homely charm and a relaxing environment from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pantanal. The nineteen rooms are comfortable and decorated using local materials.

Known for its hyacinth macaw and being particular good for birding during the dry season with many species crowding around the watering holes. Activities include horse riding, nocturnal tours, hiking and canoe rides, all with expert local guides.

Solar do Rosario, Ouro Preto

Solar do Rosario, Brazil

Located just a short walk from the centre, this elegant hotel is a converted 19th century building opposite the Rosario Church. The hotels’ rooms are comfortable, spacious and packed with bags of character. It boasts two pools, one which is heated and another set within a gorgeous outdoor terraced area.

Solar do Ponte, Tiradentes

Solar do Ponte, Brazil

Voted one of the ‘101 best hotels in the world’ by Tatler magazine, this hotel is welcoming and friendly, making you feel more like you’re at home. Located in the historic centre of Tiradentes, it’s a great base to use for exploring the area.

All the rooms are beautifully decorated, combining modern comfort with traditional style. The public spaces, gardens and verandas, pool and sauna, create a relaxed atmosphere among flowers and birds.

Ibitipoca, Minas Gerais

Ibitipoca, Brazil

This large three thousand hectare reserve is made up of over one hundred properties. It is also part of the greater State Park in Minas Gerais offering more protection to the natural environment and wildlife that inhabits it.

There are a number of different options for accommodation here. The farmhouse was established in the 70’s was completely rebuilt in 2006 in a traditional way. There are just right suites, all of which have been tastefully decorated and none offering televisions. The reserve says this is ‘in an attempt to forget about the external world and live each moment at the Reserva do Ibitipoca intensely and slowly’. During your stay you can also enjoy the spa, sauna and hydro.

There are three more properties on the reserve. Viradouro’s House has just three rooms and is powered primarily through renewable energy. It has a stunning location, near to the river where one can swim in the natural rock pools. If you feel adventurous, they why not try out one of the reserve’s two mountain houses. Offering much more privacy in the wild setting, perfect for those who like the great outdoors.

Casa Cairuçu, Paraty

Casa Cairuçu, Brazil

This isolated beach villa takes its name from the location, on the shores of the calm Paraty Bay, within the Cairuçu environmental protection area.

The villa is surrounded by pristine beaches, sea views and swathes of rainforest. There are no roads to disturb you, only the sounds of the sea. This is not a hotel it is a home away from home, yours to do as you please but with wonderful staff who come and look after all your needs as and when you want. Arrival is exclusively by boat.

Pousada Picinguaba, Paraty

Pousada Picinguaba, Brazil

A charming pousada in a natural forest setting just a few metres from a delightfully unspoilt beach. Here you can interact with nature and the local life, such as the fishermen repairing their nets on the beach.

The few rooms makes Picinguaba a very special hideaway with privileged service, and the possibility to book the whole hotel for special occasions for families or groups of friends. At Picinguaba, luxury means tranquillity, nature and authenticity. Trips can be taken by boat to uninhabited islands and bays, to waterfalls and forest trails.

Pousada do Sandi, Paraty

Pousada do Sandi, Paraty, Brazil

A charming and colourful 18th century pousada located in the historical centre of Paraty. This UNESCO site is one of the most important examples of colonial architecture. There are great activities in the area include hiking, snorkelling, boat trips or just relaxing on one of the gorgeous beaches nearby.

The service at the hotel is welcoming and friendly and the atmosphere informal.  All rooms are decorated in a traditional style and are comfortable and spacious. The pool, sauna or steam room are the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the surrounding area whilst the restaurant serves excellent local food.

Casa Turquesa, Paraty

Casa Turquesa, Paraty, Brazil

Located by the pier in the historic centre of Paraty, this cosy pousada oozes charm, whilst having modern facilities. Each of the nine rooms have been carefully designed with attention to detail and all with postcard views of the bay, the mountains and the dome of Santa Rita Church. The hotel has many social areas where a glass of red from the wine cellar can be enjoyed. All in all a perfect blend of historical beauty and contemporary comforts.

Insolito, Búzios

Insolito, Brazil

Set next to Ferradura beach on the Búzios Peninsula, this boutique hotel offers guests a sophisticated and sleek option in this fashionable resort. Away from the crowds, but close enough to get to the vibrant restaurants and nightlife and 20 something beaches in the nearby area, this is the perfect base from which to explore.

The hotel has a wellness centre offering a number of treatments to help recharge your batteries and a rooftop restaurant where you can dine on fresh Brazilian-French cuisine while admiring the gorgeous sea views and sunset.

Villa Rasa Marina, Búzios

Villa Rasa Marina

Opening its doors in 2008, the hotel provides a relaxing atmosphere away from the tourist areas of the Búzios Peninsula. Located on the peaceful Praia Rasa beach but within easy reach of the twenty something beaches on the peninsula, this is the perfect place from which to explore the surrounding area. Rustic rooms are mixed with luxurious facilities including a spa offering a number of treatments, and a restaurant offering delicious meals.

Casas Brancas, Búzios

Casas Brancas

This elegant boutique hotel and spa is nestled in the hills overlooking the stunning bay of Búzios. With thirty-two individually decorated rooms, the hotel boasts Mediterranean architecture, accommodating multilingual staff, and a refined, laid-back atmosphere.

Within the premises are an ocean view spa, two restaurants, a trendy beach lounge, an aerobic gym and many chic and pristine open spaces. Bask in the warm glow of unforgettable sunsets, stretch, and unwind. You’ve found paradise.

Porto Bay Glenzhaus, Búzios

Porto Bay Glenzhaus

Born as a small fishing village, today Búzios is a paradise for those who love gastronomy, art and ecology while at the same time boasting amazing night life. Porto Bay Glenzhaus is a boutique lodge in the city centre of Búzios. Seventeen suites in a sumptuous tropical setting are a certain recipe for peace and quiet.

This boutique lodge is near the beaches that surround the peninsula and a few steps from the famous Rua das Pedras. Here you will find a huge variety of traditional stores, different art galleries, traditional handcraft and some amazing restaurants where you can appreciate the simple pleasures of great food.

Abracadabra, Búzios

Abracadabra

With just sixteen rooms, this charming pousada is perfect for your intimate escape in Búzios. Set just off Rua das Pedras, in the middle of Búzios but not far from the twenty something beaches on the peninsula, this hotel has shops, restaurants and nightlife right on its doorstep. With comfortable and spacious rooms and views over the ocean and harbour from the pool deck you can sit back and relax in this wonderful corner of Brazil.

Vila D’Este, Búzios

Villa D’Este

Set in an excellent location with fabulous views over the sea and the town and with plentiful beaches within walking distance this is a great option for your stay. All fifteen rooms are individually decorated in a light, modern style and the restaurant offers a mix of Mediterranean and Brazilian cuisine. Relax in the hotel steam room, sauna or enjoy the panoramic views over the bay from the pool deck. Art galleries, restaurants and nightlife are only a short distance away.

Villa Chiara, Búzios

Villa Chiara

The Villa Chiara is a grand mansion located on a hill overlooking Búzios peninsula with fantastic views of Geriba Beach and Búzios town. Surrounded by palms the peaceful gardens provide a private and relaxing environment. The artistic decor and interesting architecture show a variety of cultural influences.

With space for only sixteen guests in seven suites, the hotel provides luxurious space and intimacy at the same time. Four-poster beds and private terraces add to the romance. Villa Chiara Hotel contains a tasteful balance of antique and contemporary furnishings. Its garden and swimming pool are surrounded by exotic fruit trees. Bliss.

Are there any you feel we’ve missed? Have you stayed in any of these hotels? Let us know below.

8 Best Beaches In Latin America

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ipanema
Flickr/Daniel Amariles

Best city beach.

Sancho Beach, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha
Flickr/Jorge Pindorama

Best for diving.

Gardner Bay, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Gardner Bay
Flickr/putneymark

Best for wildlife.

Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile

Anakena
Flickr/travelwayoflife

Best for history.

Tulum Beach, Yucatan, Mexico

Tulum
Flickr/Lars Plougmann

Best for archeology.

Punta Norte, Valdes Peninsula, Argentina

Valdes Peninsula
Flickr/doriana del sarto

Best for marine wildlife.

Jericoacoara, Brazil
Jericoacoara
Flickr/G B

Best for walking.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Tayrona
Flickr/Eli Duke

Best for nature.

Choripan with Chimichurri Recipe

CoripanFlickr/Jess J

This is one of the most delicious things you can eat in Argentina. A simple concoction of spicy sausage (similar to a Spanish chorizo), crusty bread and chimichurri sauce. If you want to try making it at home this is an excellent recipe.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
4 raw chorizo sausages
4 crusty bread rolls
1 large handful of parsley
5 garlic cloves
1 small handful of fresh oregano
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
200 ml of good quality virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Plenty of black pepper

Method
Place on the sausages under the grill (or better still on the bbq) turning often to make sure they don’t burn. Chop up the parsley, garlic and oregano as fine as you can and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the red pepper flakes, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil and mix well. Add more oil to loosen the mixture if necessary.  To assemble, cut the rolls in half, added the grilled chorizo and add lashings of the chimichurri mixture. Enjoy.

make-an-enquiry

create-your-journey