Where do Cariocans go when they tire of Rio? Insolito Boutique Hotel on the beach-blessed peninsula of Bùzios, Brazil’s answer to St Tropez – just as Brigitte Bardot did.
Say what? Or, more to the point, why? As unlikely as it sounds, sometimes, Ipanema gets old. And when it does, Rio’s residents head 100 miles north to their (so much hotter; so much shinier) version of Brighton.
What’s so great about it? The bohemian fishing village of Bùzios in Brazil – with its culturally kaleidoscopic history as a pirate port and slave-smuggling centre, populated variously by Tupnambás Indians, the English, French, Portuguese and, more recently, 1960s film starlets – has more than 20 incredible beaches, even more glamorous shops and enough trendy bars and clubs to make EC1 look positively pedestrian. It’s also home to Insolito Boutique Hotel, an artsy retreat created by French businesswoman and Brazilian arts parton Emanuelle Meeus de Clermont-Tonnerre – which just happens to rock some pretty incredible views of Bùzios from its pool.
Overnight digs Insolito’s unique boutique bedrooms, each featuring a mix of local artworks, contemporary furniture and 1950s pieces, are where Emanuelle shares her passion for Brazilian arts; and interiors are perfectly complemented by landscape architect Anouck Bacat’s deft handling of the outside spaces. Many of the works on display are changed seasonally; the hotel hosts an artist in residence, and there are art lessons for guests keen to work on their creativity as much as their tan. The organic, cloud-like lighting is especially eye-catching.
To-do list Stylish Brazilians spend their days bronzing on the beaches; hit the Praça Santos Dumont square at dusk for the craft fair; start (and sometimes finish) their evenings strolling up and down the boutique-lined Rua das Pedras, ice-creams in hand, and ambling down the Orla Bardot boardwalk. If the glitz gets too much, head 15 minutes out of town to the quieter Porto da Barra, and end your night at chic retreat Insolito – where there’s also a crowd-pleasing, caipirinha-serving bar, and a romantic rooftop fusion restaurant with candlelit tables set among the bougainvillea… Weekending doesn’t get much better.
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