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Guayaquil used to get bad press as a place to avoid. These days we highly recommend it as a place to stop after a Galapagos cruise. The city has undergone a renaissance and the riverside walkway makes a pleasant afternoon stroll. One attraction is the city’s most luxurious boutique hotel, set amid Parque Historico, set in the botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary. The 19th-century property is reminiscent of a Republican era mansion with spacious rooms and delightful patios. Hotel del Parque is in a tropical oasis that was once a mangrove swamp. Today the hotel is a haven of tranquility from the bustle of the city, amid the peaceful surrounding park.

Guests can walk the park’s nature trails and access its wildlife sanctuary or go bird-watching along the river. However, it lies just 10-minutes from the sophisticated Samborondón neighbourhood, with shopping centres, restaurants and the airport is a 15-minute drive away. The 19th-century building has been transposed piece by piece from the centre of the city. Though retaining its history there are all the modern luxuries you’d expect. The common areas are graceful, with a mixture of traditional and modern art. Two open-air patios are the main attraction, one with a restaurant, the other, a tranquil space, is full of colourful tropical plants. The staff are all friendly and helpful. The front desk concierge speak English and will help booking restaurants or taxis. I particularly enjoyed the reading room with armchairs and complimentary drinks and snacks where one can play games, watch television, or work on computers. Most surprisingly the chapel’s gothic style bell tower holds a fitness centre and massage room. There are 44 rooms over four categories, from Deluxe to the luxurious Park Suite. Deluxe rooms are beautifully designed and spacious: large beds, televisions, sitting areas with armchairs, desks, minibars, and coffee/tea stations. Every detail is tasteful; marble bathrooms with huge showers, cosy bathrobes and slippers, and fragrant cosmetics, complimentary kits and toothbrushes.

As well as a high-tea English style, enjoy cultural encounters such as chocolate tasting, coffee roasting and wildlife walks in the tropical grounds. A massive breakfast buffet offers the usual items such as bread, cereal and fruit alongside some more unusual options like seafood ceviche. Nearby there is a gourmet restaurant, Casa Julian. This is one of Guayaquil’s veritable dining experiences, a tasting menu of Ecuadorian food with international influences such as steamed shrimp buns with curry and a wide-ranging cocktail menu.

All images copyright David Horwell 2019

Related: 9 Insanely Luxurious Hotels Around Latin America



The nation’s capital is big enough to have plenty to see, but small enough to get around easily. Much of the city is along the seafront, where locals jog and families play ball games. The city is ranked as having the highest quality of life in Latin America and considering many offices don’t start until 10am it has a very relaxed ambience. I visited earlier this year and found the people friendly and happy. The Spanish historic centre is like walking back in time, and for those who like meat stop at the Mercado del Puerto for an asado, a mixed charcoal grill. For shopping an old prison at Punta Carretas is now a fashionable mall. Tango is also as popular here as in Buenos Aires. If you want some real peace and quiet go to La Baguela, a country hotel just 30 minutes away with its own deserted beach.


The department of Rocha in the East has some of the finest beaches and lagoons in the country. The sand dunes are sparsely inhabited, and you can even stay in a yurt or beach cabin at La Pedrera. This quiet area is great for bird-watching, horse-riding or as I chose, biking. There are amazing walks over the dunes to the old hippie colony of Cabo Polonia. Take plenty of water with you on any of these trips, as there are no refreshments on sale anywhere. You may stumble upon tiny fisherman’s villages, but the only living thing I came across was a donkey.


José Ignacio is a coastal point that attracts the wealthy jet-set. You can find ultra-modern architects dream hotels like the three glamourous Vik properties (Estancia, Bahia and Playa) each decorated with unique works of art or the Fasano hotel in nearby Punta del Este. The Awa boutique hotel also is in Punta del Este. The lagoon at Jose Ignacio is a fave spot for kite-boarders.


Uruguay has some great wines, with a heritage going back to Italian, Spanish and French immigrants. The grape that has been adopted here is Tannat, which produces a heady, strong and full-bodied wine suited to the harsh dry environment. It is only recently been discovered by importers and well worth trying with a good steak. Some of the bodegas or wineries are open to visitors and do tastings, (make sure that you are not the designated driver). A few of the estancias take in guests, I particularly liked Narbona, which was further to the west near Carmelo. We also stopped at the charming Aguaverde Wine Lodge near Punta del Este for lunch. The welcoming lodge has rooms and cottages for guests, a stunning infinity pool and a vineyard beyond the gardens.


Take a day trip to Colonia, a charming town steeped in Spanish and Portuguese historical monuments. Popular with trippers from Argentina too, as a 45-minute ferry connects with Buenos Aires. The town is dominated by the lighthouse and fortified walls, but there are many interesting museums, churches and art galleries. One of the main attractions for me are the old classic cars that can be seen dotted around the centre, some of which are no longer driven but make unique bar-rooms for a romantic drink. There are some nice boutique hotels such as El Charco, if you have time enough to linger a day or two.


Southern Right Whales head along the coastlines of South America. They mate and raise their calves before migrating towards Antarctica, where their main feeding grounds are. Uruguay has some prime spots for whale watching. The season stretches from June to December, depending on the weather. The best time to observe these graceful giants and their offspring is between August and October. The Atlantic coast has good vantage points at Rocha and Punta del Este. Boat tours should be approved by the Organization for the Conservation of Whales (OCC-Uruguay) to make sure that the whales are not disturbed. It is even possible to observe them from the beach, with a binoculars. Watch out for water sprays, churning water and flocks of sea gulls – these are sure indicators that whales are near. Chances are even better in the early morning or late afternoon. For more details about visiting Uruguay do contact us.
All pictures except whale are copyright David Horwell.

RELATED: 6 Things to do in Uruguay

The most luxurious things to do in Latin America

Those lucky few with deep pockets can experience Latin America in extraordinary ways. And why not? There’s been plenty of studies that show that experiences making you happier than things. So, if you are a big spender, why not book up one of these unique things to do.

Grab a drink at the Copacabana Palace

Copacabana Palace in Rio has seen many of the world’s rich and famous walk through its Art Deco doors. The hotel opened in the early ‘20s. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced here and the Rolling Stones band had a drink at the Grand Salon before their concert on the beach. Magnificent guestrooms overlook the famous strip of golden sand. They drip with antique furnishings and original artwork. Be sure to swing by the uber-cool Bar do Copa where the city’s trend-setters come for sun-downers.

Take a tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats in a private air stream

While the crowds head out onto the Uyuni Salt Flats on 4x4s, why not book a tour of the iconic natural wonder on the only vintage Airstream in Bolivia. This shiny, metal campervan includes a bedroom area, living space and bathroom with hot shower. You’ll attended by a personal chef, a support vehicle and guide who’ll help you make the most of your time there. The best part is enjoying dinner below the starry night sky.

Cruise the Galapagos on board the Grace

If you want to see the Galapagos in style, there’s no better way than on board the Grace. Named after its former owner Grace Kelly,  the motor yacht has everything you’d expect that’s fit for a princess. Available for private bookings for up to 18 passengers and attended by 2 naturalist guides and 10 crew. On board, you’ll find a spacious sundeck, a Jacuzzi and buffet-style dining. The vessel has seen a long list of famous passengers including Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis and Sir George Tilley.

Swim with whale sharks off Holbox Island

To enjoy the ultimate underwater experience, head to the tiny island of Holbox just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Here, you can book a private tour between May and September to snorkel with whale sharks. These gentle behemoths of the sea can reach up to 15 metres in length and more than 15 tons making them the biggest fish in the seas. There are few things that match up to the once-and-a-lifetime experience of swimming with these harmless beasts of the sea.

Ride the Andean Explorer sleeper train

The Belmond Andean Explorer is the first luxury sleeper train in South America. It provides a unique way to get up close to the mountainous scenery in absolute comfort. The train plies the tracks between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca on a 2 or 3-day overnight adventure. You’ll find deluxe double cabins with panoramic windows, an en suite bathroom and living area. You can mingle with your fellow guests in the Piano Bar lounge car. Sip cocktails and enjoy live music to go with the Andean views. Taste seasonal Peruvian flavours in the luxury dining car or enjoy a treatment and massage in the on-board spa.

Fly over Rio de Janeiro

Avoid the throngs of tourists on the beach or around Christ the Redeemer, see it all from above from one of the private helicopter flights over the city. After boarding, you’ll be flown over the beaches, circle the iconic statue and enjoy views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Tijuca Forest from high up. A guide accompanies you to help spot the city’s landmarks and the flight lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. An incredible way to see the city from a unique perspective.

Catch a glimpse of Machu Picchu after the crowds have disappeared

In Peru it’s unthinkable not to visit the ancient Inka ruins of Machu Picchu that lies perched on the top of a mountain near Cuzco. That said, there are more than 5,000 people that mill around the site every day. If you want to splurge, book a night at the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge next to the citadel. From your private guestroom terrace, you’ll be able to look over the ruins, when the crowds have all disappeared.

Cruise along the Amazon on the luxury Aria

Want to experience the Amazon without sticky, humid nights in basic lodging? Try one of the 3, 4 or 7-night cruises on board the state-of-the-art Aria. The 45-metre long boat, designed by celebrated Peruvian architect Jordi Puig, includes 16 glass-fronted suites. Enjoy gourmet Peruvian cuisine in the dining room.  Spot Amazonian wildlife from the observation deck. At night the myriad stars. Dedicated naturalist guides, private chefs and crew will ensure a comfortable adventure.

Ready to start your luxury getaway to South America? Call one of our travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email here to start planning.

RELATED: Our picks for the 2018 hotspots in Latin America

9 insanely luxurious hotels around Latin America

Alvear Palace, Argentina


The elegant Alvear Palace, located in the upmarket Recoleta district in Buenos Aires, was built in the early 20th century and combines European style along with modern technology. No other hotel in Buenos Aires exudes luxury like the Alvear Palace. Each suite is tastefully decorated with art by well-known Argentine artists adorning the walls. Just outside the doors lies an amazing city to explore, but the luxury spa, indoor pool and French restaurant La Borgogne may keep you from exploring it, as will afternoon patisseries and tea at Jardin d’Hiver.

See our suggested tours of Argentina.

Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize


Owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola, this beautiful lodge located on the banks of the Priassion River consists of nineteen luxury villas are built from hardwoods and woven thatches. Private villas overlook the surrounding jungle from their stilted location. Soak in the large Jacuzzi at the riverside spa or indulge in a traditional massage.

See our suggested tours of Belize.

Hotel Das Cataratas, Brazil


One of Latin America’s most iconic hotels, the Das Cataratas is the only hotel located inside Iguazu Falls National Park. When all the tourists have left, guests have exclusive access to the falls all to themselves. Part of the Belmond hotel group (formerly Orient Express), this Portuguese-colonial manor house harks back to a bygone era of travel. After exploration of the falls, return for a lazy afternoon under the palsm on the veranda or refreshing swim in the outdoor pool.

See our suggested tours of Brazil.

Lastarria, Chile


Built in the early 20th century, this stunning residence located in Santiago’s most bohemian district, is one the city’s most elegant hotels. The Lastarria is situated near the museums, galleries, shops and restaurants in the heart of the city. Each suite is beautifully decorated and spacious, while the restaurant offers cuisine cooked from locally sourced ingredients in an elegant lounge.

See our suggested tours of Chile.

La Passion, Colombia


While Cartagena is packed with boutique hotels, the 19th century restored house La Passion stands out. The charming hotel has plenty of original features including high ceilings, chequered marble floors, mural paintings and wooden doors as well as an impressive array of colonial, republican and modern furniture. Located in the heart of historic Cartagena other features as this luxury boutique include a lovely terrace and bar, Jacuzzi and a rooftop outdoor pool.

See our suggested tours of Colombia.

Finca Rosa Blanca, Costa Rica


While San Jose may not be known for its abundance of luxury hotels, the Central Valley located a half hour away has plenty of boutiques. One of the best is the Finca Rosa Blanca, a small luxury hotel nestled amidst lush gardens and the rolling countryside of orchids and coffee plantations. All of the rooms are beautifully constructed offering a choice of veranda or private terrace overlooking the serene landscapes of valleys and mountains. After a day of hiking or horse riding, guests return for delicious homemade cuisine in the restaurant made from organic produce from the hotel’s gardens.

See our suggested tours of Costa Rica.

Plaza Grande, Ecuador


The Plaza Grande was one of the first hotels built in Quito, and what a hotel. Extensively renovated and remodeled, this fine hotel located on the central square, the Plaza del la Independencia, it’s within walking distance to Quito’s highlights. Fine suites, excellent service and a serious level of comfort define this luxurious boutique property.

See our suggested tours of Ecuador.

El Convento, Guatemala


The colonial town Antigua has arguably one of the highest concentration of luxury hotels in Latin America. Our favourite, El Convento, is housed within an 18th century Capuchin convent. Stepping into the property from the famed cobblestone streets of Antigua, a beautifully constructed hotel awaits – artisanal brick vaulted ceilings, exposed stone walls and hand-crafted doors with the simple elegance of contemporary design. Chef Arelene served up excellent cuisine at the hotel’s Siltz restaurant, one of the best eateries in the city.

See our suggested tours of Guatemala.

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, Mexico


This ocean front property located on the Baja California peninsula in northwest Mexico, the name literally translates to “the windows to paradise”. Part of the Rosewood Resorts, this is one of the best hotels in the world. The property boosts a selection of luxurious suites and villas, all of which overlook the ocean. Personal telescopes are provided from whale and dolphin spotting during the day and star gazing at night. There is an excellent indoor and outdoor spa offering plenty of treatments and a world-class restaurant to while away the evenings.

See our suggested tours of Mexico.

To start planning your luxury holiday to Latin America, get in touch today.

RELATED: 10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru

The 7 best train rides in Latin America

Compared to most continents, railways in Latin America are few and far between. Most have been left to fall into disrepair or abandoned completely. There is however a resurgence in train travel, particularly in Ecuador where old lines are being repaired and services resumed. Here’s a list of the best train trips you can take in Latin America.

Andean Explorer – Peru

Operated by Belmond (originally the Orient Express), the beautiful Andean Explorer runs between Cuzco and Puno (Lake Titicaca) in Peru three times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is arguably the most luxurious train ride in South America – think three course meals and classic 1920s style Pullman carriages. The journey through spectacular scenery best seen from the picture windows in the viewing carriage, takes around ten hours.

Jose Cuevo Express – Mexico


One of the newest editions to the train travel in Latin America. Owned by the tequila giant Jose Cuevo, this short journey through the UNESCO World Heritage agave fields from Guadalajara to the Tequila Pueblo Magico in Mexico. Each carriage has a bar where you can taste a variety of premium tequilas. The train departs each Saturday throughout the year.

Old Patagonian Express – Argentina

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

Flickr: Jorge Gobbi

Known as La Trochita in Spanish, this impressive journey through the rugged scenery of Patagonia is a must. Although this is now used just by tourists, the steam train which still have locomotives from the 1920s gives you an idea of what the longer journeys would have been like all those years ago. The train departs at ten and takes around three hours to complete the round trip from Esquel to Nahuel Pan.

Train Crucero – Ecuador

The Tren Crucero is a magnificent trip beginning in the capital Quito and passing through the Andean highlands to the coastal plains of Guayaquil. In 2013 it one a number of awards including being recognized as the best train trip in the world by Lonely Planet. The full trip takes four days including daily excursions to view Ecuador’s snow-capped mountains, villages and interesting sights such as the Devil’s Nose switchback through the Andes.

Copper Canyon Railway – Mexico

Flickr: Adam Singer

Flickr: Adam Singer

This 400 mile train trip from Chihuahua to Los Mochis runs daily and takes around fifteen hours. Pass through rugged scenery as well as 20 twenty canyons in the Mexican wild west. It is recommended that you split the journey with stops and meet the Tarahumara community that inhabit this northern region of Mexico.

Hiram Bingham – Peru

Perhaps the most famous of train journeys in Latin America, this luxury service runs from just outside Cuzco to Aguas Calientes, the town a few minutes away from the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. It runs every day other than Sundays and takes around three hours leaving you plenty of time in the afternoon to explore Machu Picchu. Named after the American explorer who supposedly discovered the ruins, this vintage style train feels like a mode of transport used from that era. Take some time to enjoy a pisco sour from the bar as you slowly pass the lush Andean scenery.

Panama Canal Railway – Panama

Flickr: Roger W

Flickr: Roger W

Take this historical route from Panama City to Colón, a journey which takes around an hour. Pass through the jungle and along the edge of the famous Panama Canal. The course was finished in 1855 and acquired by the French Panama Canala Company in 1880. In the early 20th century is was purchased along with the canal and continued operating until 1979. It wasn’t until 1998 when Panama privatized the railway that it opened as a tourist attraction in 2001.

To begin planning your train trip through Latin America get in touch today.

RELATED: The 7 best train rides in Latin America

8 Amazing Journeys You Should Take In Chile

Chile is spectacular although often overlooked as a Latin American destination. It is however rising in popularity so we thought it was time to but a handy guide together for 8 incredible mini-journeys you can take in the country from the dry northern desert of Atacama to the snow-capped mountains and peaks of Torres del Paine and the mysterious Polynesian island Easter Island. Many of these can be combined to make much larger itineraries.

1. Arica to Lauca

Out of all of Chile’s destinations, this is perhaps the most overlooked. However, this isolated region of Northern Chile located near the borders of Peru and Bolivia have much to offer. Begin in the coastal town of Arica, easily reachable from a direct flight from Santiago. This small city has a wonderfully warm climate all year round. As well as good quality beaches, it also has some of the best surf available in the country. From here you can visit the Azapa Valley from which you can see some ancient mummies. Just a couple of hours by road inland lies the Lauca National Park located in the Central Andean dry puna ecoregion. Between 3,300 and 6,300 metres above sea level it won’t just be the scenery that leaves you feeling breathless. Hiking is the best way to see this national park. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to see llamas, guanacos, vicuñas and maybe even cougars. There are plenty of bird species including Andean goose, Chilean flamingos and Andean condors to name just a few.

2. Atacama to Altiplano

What the Northern desert of Atacama lacks in flora (although there are some regions towards the coast that have colourful wild desert flowers) it certainly makes up for in landscapes. Most base themselves at in the small town of San Pedro de Atacama. There are plenty of places to stay from budget to seriously luxurious. From here take day trips out into the wilderness. Must see places include Moon and Death Valley whose landscapes have been compared to Mars (in fact is has been used for as a location for many films) and is best seen during the evening when you watch the famous sunset. The geyser field of El Tatio does require an early start but doesn’t disappoint. Over 80 geysers shooting steam up to 6 metres high make this the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere. Although the Atacama salt flats are not as large as the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, they are no less impressive. Lastly a visit to Miscanti and Miñique lagoons in the high Altiplano in Los Flamencos National Reserve reveal some fantastic wildlife including Chilean flamingos (hence the name).

3. Santiago to Valparaiso

The capital of Santiago is the entrance point to Chile for most and is well worth a few days. The district of Recoleta has a large variety of luxury and boutique hotels from which to base yourself. A guided tour from a local is one of the best ways to see the city and usually include visits to the Recoleta cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, Santa Lucia Hill, the Cathedral and Plaza de Armas. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and the nightlife is as good as Buenos Aires’. After you’ve had your fill of Santiago head East to the port city of Valpairaiso a journey of around two hours. This colourful, gritty port city has had a resurgence in recent years, many spending more time here than the capital. The UNESCO World Heritage historic quarter is a fine example of 9th century of urban development in Latin America.

4. Wine tasting in Rosario

From Santiago head to the Rosario Valley region located between Casablanca and San Antonio, one of the world’s best wine growing regions. This 9,000 hectare enclosed valley has the ideal climate and topographic conditions for red and white wines. This spring-like climate makes it an ideal place to stay, even in the height of summer. Spend four nights at the seriously comfortable Matetic vineyards. Spend each day hiking, horse riding or biking through the beautiful countryside whilst enjoying superb cuisine, of coursed paired with excellent wines. As well as activities and wine there is also much flora and wildlife to be seen in the area. The dry coastal zone makes it perfect for wild flowers like the red Chilean bellflowers and there are plenty of mammals such as foxes and birdlife including thrushes, birds of prey and parrots.

Flickr: sharloch

Flickr: sharloch

5. Lake District, Pucon to Puerto Varas

The Lake District is located about half way from Santiago to the very south, between Temuco and Puerto Montt. This area is rich in forests, volcanos and of course, lakes. Popular with German, Swiss and Austrian immigrants in the 19th century was probably due to its similarity to the Alpine region of Europe. After flying to Temuco from Santiago transfer to Pucon. The town sits right on the edge of Villarrica Lake and Villarrica Volcano. It’s one of the hot spots of adventure sports in the country, so as well as hiking, there is plenty of kayaking, rafting, horse riding, canyoning and climbing. In the winter it’s also an excellent place for skiing and snowboarding. Head further south to Puerto Varas, another adventure sport playground, but somewhat quieter than Pucon. Towering over the town are Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Here you can fish, hiking, ski and climb. We recommend taking a guided tour of Osorno and visiting some of the local hot springs.

Flickr: Bitterroot

Flickr: Bitterroot

6. Lake Crossing to Argentina

The lake crossing between Chile and Argentina is certainly a more scenic way to cross the border. Beginning in Puerto Varas you will be transferred to Petrohue bordering Lake Llanquihue. Along the way take in the impressive sights of Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. Visit the impressive Petrohue Falls in Vicentre Perez National Park. Set sail to Peulla crossing over Todos los Santos Lake. Once you arrive take some time to relax and enjoy lunch before boarding a bus to Puerto Frias passing through the border. Arrive and take your second board across Lake Frias before boarding bus to Puerto Blest. Here you will take your last boat navigation across Puerto Nahuel Huapi Lake arrive in Puerto Pañuelo where you will continue by bus to Bariloche.

Torres del Paine

7. Torres del Paine

After flying into Punta Arenas and travelling through the town of Puerto Natales, you’ll reach the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. Located in the far south in the heart of Patagonia between the Magellanic subpolar forests and the Patagonia Steppes, this is truly one of our favourite places in Latin America (if not the world). There are just a handful of places to stay within the national park. For luxurious glamping try the EcoCamp that is not only located in a fantastic location but provides easy access to some of the best trails and makes for a very comfortable base. Although horse riding and biking can be arranged, the best way to see the park is by foot, either with days trips, or on the five day W Trek staying in refuges or camping. Taking a boat trip to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers will not leave you disappointed and is included on most trips to the region.

Easter Island

8. Easter Island

One of the most remote islands in the world. The six hour flight from Santiago puts many of visiting this Polynesian Island, but those who make the long journey are treated to interesting scenery, a culture very different from that of mainland Chile and some of the most mysterious histories on earth. It’s most famous for the 887 Moai statues created by the early Rapa Nui people who to begin with thrived on the island, but overpopulation, the introduction of rats and extensive deforestation severely reduced the Rapa Nui’s community. Excellent local guides will help you discover about the fascinating history of the Rapa Nui as well as offering excellent hiking and horse riding. There are also plenty of tropical white sandy beaches to relax on.

To start arranging your bespoke tour of Chile do get in touch with us or take a look at some of our example tours.

RELATED: 5 Natural Wonders You Can See In Chile’s Atacama Desert

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


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.

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