Latin America

The Romantic Road to Rio

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2009

Buzios offers her guests a wide choice of fine little hotels. Every article written about Buzios purrs over the award-winning, 32-room Casas Brancas—and with good reason. Well located within easy walking distance of the resort’s quaint town center, this 32-room pousada is beautifully designed with whitewashed walls and rooms adorned with mosaic floors and wonderful regional arts. The best rooms gravitate around the heart of the inn, where the pool and terrace area offer spectacular views of the beach and sea. Seafront Cafe Atlantico serves up distinguished international and Brazilian specialties. Priced from $109 to $215 pp dbl with breakfast.

Another dazzling accommodation option is the new Insolito Boutique Hotel, built hillside above Ferradura Beach. All the bells and whistles are for a top honeymoon stay—here, private pools, sunken jacuzzis, and major terraces providing privacy and magnificent views welcome couples into its fold. The rooms are elegant, with sea views, Trussardi sheets and robes, and double showers. Recommend the only suite with a huge wrap-around verandah and its own whirlpool tub. Owner-decorator Emanuelle Meeus de Clermont-Tonnerre applied her considerable talents to creating rooms focused on various aspects of Brazilian culture filling them with original art. The restaurant offers an inviting French-Brazilian menu, with meals prepared under the culinary baton of Chef Rocha, and there is a fresh- and saltwater pool. During a stay, couples may have a treatment at the spa; enjoy a round of golf; go waterskiing, windsurfing or diving; hike along a nature trail or have a romantic beach picnic. One has the feeling here that no guest request is too grand. Superior rooms from $335 per night; jr. suite from $610.

Another magical combo with Rio would be a stay in Parati (pronounced par-a-CHEE and often spelled Paraty), founded in 1650 and both a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site. With historic houses in a rainbow of tropical colors, little baroque churches, cobblestone streets (closed to traffic in the historic center) with dozens of fun boutiques, good little restaurants (make a note of Margarida Cafe with live music, attentive service, good food and fun), and several fine ice cream parlors, Parati is a lovely, interesting, safe and friendly place to cuddle up together. Some of the many activities here include bathing at one of the many waterfalls, walking on Jabaquara Beach, and taking a boat ride—whaler, fishing boat or motor boat—out to sea for scuba diving or surfing.

All kinds of activities and special arrangements (including transfers from Rio) can be arranged by Casa Turquesa, the newest of many fine pousadas that typify the accommodation offerings of Parati, and certainly now the town’s most elegant, although laid-back property. The pousada encompasses three historic houses tucked behind a restored 18th century facade. Inside are nine comfortable, airy and colorful rooms with en-suite baths, air conditioning and mini-bar, among other offerings. Each room has a different, color-coded decorative theme, as well as picture-postcard views over the red-tiled roofs to the dome of Santa Rita Church, to Parati Bay, and to the mountains beyond. The top floor room (color-coded white) has the only terrace, as well as a king-size bed and bathtub with whirlpool. The public areas are stunning—one thinks of Morocco on entering, from a reading room with fireplace for cooler days to an interior patio with swimming pool and whirlpool, a bar, wine cellar, gazebo and garden.

Casa Turquesa has a 3-night honeymoon package that includes breakfast room service, candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine in the room or in the lounge, and some extra surprises. The cost is the price of the room selected, with an upgrade. Low-season rates per room start at $400 per night; the white master suite starts at $575 with breakfast. There is a minimum 2-night stay.

getting there New York City is TAM Airlines’ newest gateway for nonstop flights to Rio. The Brazilian carrier recently inaugurated nonstop flights from New York (JFK) to Rio, departing at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; the northbound service, departing from Rio at 11 p.m., operates Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sun. From its Miami gateway, the Brazilian carrier operates extensive services to Brazil, including nonstop flights to Rio.