Friday, 24 December 2010

Brazil's best places to stay: Pousada da Vigia, Florianopolis

We were the last to get off the bus at Praia da Lagoinha in the north of Florianopolis. The stop was on a sharp bend in the road and there was very little around. Reluctantly, we started walking up a gravel pathway behind some buildings. It had been four hours from when we’d arrived at the coach station in Floripa (what the locals call Florianopolis); had we hired a car, the journey would have been at least twice as quick. If you can drive, do it. But the journey was worth it when we found Pousada da Vigia (it was along the gravel pathway). Roughly translated as The Watcher’s Inn, the pousada sits on the rocks overlooking the lovely, long stretch of beach with calm waters (Floripa is a surfer’s paradise so bathing isn’t always possible/recommended on some stretches of beaches). Every morning, we would run along the beach – and sometimes swim back – before jumping into the outdoor, covered pool to do a few laps. Then we’d have the lovely breakfast. The pousada itself only has about nine rooms so it feels really spacious – it has a terrace and living area, as well as the pool and exercise room. The bedrooms vary in size and price quite considerably; from 275 Brazilian Reais (£105) per night for a room overlooking the garden in low season to 590 (£225) for a suite. We opted for a standard room with a sea view, but the suites are amazing. There are two and they are set on two floors, with their own Jacuzzi, sauna and barbecue. The staff at the pousada were absolutely lovely and helpful, and the breakfast delicious. I was a bit disappointed with dinner – the menu was unnecessarily fancy – but I’ve had some recent feedback from a couple who visited the pousada in October and apparently the food was delicious. If you've had enough of the snow here, have your own barbecue instead at Pousada da Vigia - it should be hot and sunny there right now.

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