Sunday, 12 January 2014

Luxury hotels in Brazil are on their way, but where are the bridge brands?

The Selaron Steps in Santa Teresa
It doesn't matter if you're planning to go to the World Cup or watch the matches from your living room; travel websites and sections of magazines and newspapers in the UK are full of tips on where to go and what to do in Brazil. 
I read an interesting piece in Wallpaper magazine's recent Brazil special on the lack of boutique hotels in the country. The article promises us that there are plenty of new developments in the pipeline, in a country where such offerings are lacking. 
It's true; for such a sexy place (in the eyes of tourists, at least) and one that has been under the spotlight for several years now, Brazil has very few boutique hotels.
But I'm not so reassured by Wallpaper's optimism. As the article points out, this limited offer won't be a problem in 18 months' time, but their high prices likely will.
In Rio, for example, you could easily splash out about £500 on the stylish Fasano (this is the entry price for a double room) and about the same on the classic Copacabana Palace, or £260 at the lovely Hotel Santa Teresa, but where can you stay for between £150 and £200 a night that is worth that price tag? If anyone knows, do tell. Because even this isn't cheap yet you can easily find hundreds of beautiful boutique hotels across Europe for around that price, certainly out of season.
Not in Brazil, though. I'm hoping that some clever person will soon see the potential for a more bridge brand type of hotel that can cater for a less affluent tourist. In the meantime, I'd suggest sticking to "pousadas", although it's rare to find these in the centre of the major cities. The Guardian had some good options in its travel section a couple of weeks ago.
If you have stayed in a lovely, affordable hotel or guest house, do let me know.

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