Five Brazilian beach and nature hotels

A Paraty pousada for scholars

The swimming pool of the Pousada Literaria

In my experience, most countries have a place of payment; one that, for you the traveler, encapsulates everything about its appeal – landscape, built environment, cuisine, people, culture – and that you know you can come back to for a 360 degree fix. For me, in Brazil, that place is Paraty. Its dense cobbled streets are home to not only the country’s most alluring aesthetic attributes, but also one of its finest vibes. I’ve walked here alone at night for hours, stopping for a drink in this cafe or admiring microscopic bikinis in the window of this boutique, and I’ve never felt anything other than enveloped in her welcome. The city is not lacking in charming accommodation, but I fell for the Pousada Literária the day of my visit.

The dining room of one of the suites at Pousada Literária
The dining room of one of the suites at Pousada Literária

This is a more or less perfect Paraty house, part colonial, part new construction, transformed into a smart, slightly quirky (but never totally elegant), more or less perfect guest House. Some rooms are nestled under 17th-century wood-beamed ceilings with tiled floors and attractive sash windows. others spread out in a more hacienda style around a large swimming pool. Communal lounging and dining spaces abound. Some pieces of furniture, whether mid-20th century or antique, are so beautiful that I wanted to store them in my home. The location is central, and the city’s best bookstore is adjacent (the Pousada has been the official hotel for Paraty’s annual literary festival for a decade). From BRL1,416 (around £260)


From the sea to the savannah in style

Beach views from Pousada Tutabel
Beach views from Pousada Tutabel

The owners of Pousada Literária own two other properties: one north of Trancoso and the other inland, in Brazil’s vast Cerrado region. Tutabel’s 18 suites and small villas all face a particularly quiet stretch of Trancoso’s famous sandy beach (but it’s also a short walk from the town’s rainbow-hued Quadrado) . Sisal and rattan, wood and lots of white cotton set the tone of the design. At Pousada Trijunção, the mission is to raise awareness of Brazil’s wildlife-rich savannah. Night safaris and daytime tracking – of birds, ocelots, anteaters, the famous maned wolf, maybe even a jaguar – are on the program of activities, and as in Tutabel, part of the profits from your stay is donated to local conservation organizations.

Interior styling at Pousada Trijunção

Interior styling at Pousada Trijunção

The gorgeous lodge itself (consider splurging on the master suite, with its private living room and two balconies) is built partly of reclaimed demolition wood, and naturally cooling “water mirrors” sometimes override the temperature air conditioning allows it. Tutabel, from around £305; Pousada Trijunção, from around £430


Under-the-radar beach bliss in Itacaré

The hotel swimming pool

I recently met the owners of The Barracuda, a rather magical destination in Itacaré that now sits near the top of my 2023 list – and which, I admit, I was surprised I had never heard of. Halfway between Trancoso and Salvador, in the groovy southern state of Bahía, The Barracuda consists of two small hotels, Barracuda Boutique and The Barracuda Hotel & Villas (the latter being the more elegant and exclusive, and opened in 2020) as well as a handful of private villas ranging from four to eight bedrooms. Everything is warm, natural surfaces and open-plan common areas, everywhere a low sofa or a sofa or ipe wooden chair that begs to be laid down.

Beach views from a villa at Barracuda

Beach views from a villa at Barracuda

Cocktails in one of the hotel bars

Cocktails in one of the hotel bars

The corner suite at Barracuda Hotel & Villas

The corner suite at Barracuda Hotel & Villas

The villas, surrounded by lush tropical forest, are all privately owned (one or two of them belong to Swedes from a very famous group, is the whisper of Itacaré Street), but most are available for private hire throughout the year. They come with pre-equipped kitchens, a cook and housekeeper, and the option of bespoke local experiences. The whole benefits from a privileged location on a small peninsula between the warm, swimmable sea and the village itself. Boutique suites from around £90, Barracuda suites from around €430


The Fasano touch arrives at Angra dos Reis

The Marea club at the Fasano Angra dos Reis hotel

If there is one Brazilian you can count on to set the bar very high in terms of freshness (and very good Italian cuisine), it is Rogério Fasano. While his empire of hotels and gastronomy now stretching from Punta del Este to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, Brazil still seems to be where Fasano does Fasano best. Take Angra dos Reis: near Paraty, it’s a seaside community and island archipelago between São Paulo and Rio that’s a popular destination for second homes with the beautiful world of the two cities.

A room in Fasano Angra dos Reis

A room in Fasano Angra dos Reis

Fasano Angra dos Reis, which opened in 2017, is big and bold: 60 suites, apartments and residences, multiple sun terraces overlooking a huge pool, full spa and fitness center. Polished tropical woods, loose slipcovers, spinning fans, and windows predominate here, with lots of aqua and turquoise thrown in to reflect the marina and sea beyond. From around £380

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