Belmond Hotel Las Cataratas
Rodovia Br 469, Km 32,
Iguassu National Park,
Foz do Iguassu 85855-750, Brazil
Tel: +55 45 2102 7000 or +55 45 3521 6050
My Rating: 88%
Price Rating: $$$$$
Summary of Stay: At the time that I stayed at the hotel, it was the most expensive hotel that I had ever spent the night. So I think I came into the hotel with rather high expectations. The reason I initially stayed at the hotel was because of the location. It is the only hotel in Iguassu National Park in Brazil and guests have access to the falls before the crowds arrive. I had very limited time at Iguassu Falls, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, and wanted to stay at the hotel so I could enjoy the Falls as long as I could. Belmond, formerly Orient-Express, did a $20 million US dollar renovation on the property in 2010. The Portuguese-colonial styled hotel brings an authentic Brazilian feel and old world charm to it’s luxury.
Dining at the hotel was a delight. I had dinner at the Itaipu Restaurant - relaxing atmosphere, amazing food, and afterwards was invited to have drinks with one of the celebrity judges of Brazil’s version of ‘The Voice.’ The service was above par and I recommend a table overlooking the pool. Breakfast the next morning was equally good.
The rooms, while perhaps a bit on the small side, had a beautiful colonial finish with every modern convenience available. The bathrooms had beautiful rich tile work and I fell in love with their toiletries. The hand cream was made in Brazil and I tried (unsuccessfully) to track it down while in Brazil. Another nice touch in the room was your complimentary pair of Havaiana sandals - a staple requirement in Brazilian culture. I requested a larger size from room service and they gladly switched mine out for me.
This leads to the pool. After a beautiful dinner and a few drinks at the restaurant, I went back to my room and replied to emails and did some banking. But I found I still wasn’t tired. It was almost midnight and I went and slipped into my swimsuit and walked down to the pool. Knowing full well that the pool closed at 11pm, I was waiting for a staff member to ask me to vacate the pool area. But they did not - and instead I had the pool to myself and in the deep darkness of the rainforest, I floated in the pool illuminated by the stars above. It was magical. But if you try this on your own and the staff remind you that the pool closes at 11pm, don’t blame me. I took another quick dip in the morning before flying out to Rio. Very spacious pool with fountains and full gym.
Highlight of the Hotel: Location, location, location. In the morning I was able to have an early breakfast and get out on the trails of the Iguassa National Park as the sun was rising. I was literally the only person out there. I was able to walk along the pathways on the water all the way up to the base of the ‘Devil’s Throat’ falls. I was able to take incredible photos and have an almost spiritual experience. On my way back I passed 2 other couples that clearly had the same idea and we took a few photos for each other. It really is magical and only accessible before the park opens if you are staying at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas.
Highlight of the Stay: I really did have limited time at the this hotel - however, it was incredible to have such relaxed luxury at such an amazing and remote location. From the moment you arrive to the moment you check out, the staff are professional, friendly and sometimes almost invisible. Glasses are refilled without you noticing. Your luggage arrives in your room before you do. Your checkout process will take only a moment and your driver will be waiting for you. The valet will hand you a bottle of branded water and wish you to visit the hotel again. Their overall service is casual, polished and utterly first class.
Drawbacks: I had a superior room at the hotel, and while very comfortable, it seemed a bit tight. Not enough closet space, no view worth mentioning, and a tad on the dark side. While I realize this is an older hotel and smaller rooms are common, I would likely pay to upgrade into something more spacious.