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One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Iguassu Falls are one of the most powerful displays of nature on the planet. The sight and sound of 275 waterfalls thundering together is unforgettable at any time. To be seeing it alone is something else entirely.
As the only hotel in Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has exclusive access to the falls before 9am and after 5pm every day. In summer that means six hours of daylight where guests can experience the famous falls without the crowds of tourists. Early risers can snack on a light breakfast before walking along a trail that’s alive with the flutter of colourful butterflies, listening to the sounds of toucans and the roar of the water ahead. When the park opens to thousands of tourists this trail can feel like a long queue. When it’s closed to all but Belmond Hotel das Cataratas guests it’s a piece of paradise.
The Iguassu Falls stretch for almost three kilometres on the border of Brazil and Argentina. All but three of the falls are on the Argentinian side which means the best viewing is from the Brazilian national park. Every step reveals a new angle of the falls, and when guests reach the Devil’s Throat, the steepest and most dramatic of the waterfalls, the sound is deafening and the mist from the crashing water creates rainbows as it envelops them. After savouring their private moments with mother nature guests can return to the hotel as the park opens its gates, and sit down to a full breakfast to refuel for the day ahead.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has gloried in its enviable location for more than 50 years, but it was after Orient-Express Hotels (later Belmond) acquired it in 2007 and spent close to $42 million on refurbishments that it reached true luxury status. The pale pink colonial hacienda in the midst of an emerald forest was restored to its original 1950s charm with all 193 rooms, restaurants and public areas completely refurbished. Elegant colonial furniture, dark wooden floors and colourful curtains with motifs of local flora greet guests in the bedrooms while white marble and Portuguese tiles await in bathrooms which offer both bathtubs to soak in and showers to freshen up.
Furniture is made from environmentally friendly certified softwood, beds are box sprung with 300 or 600 thread count Egyptian cotton linen by Trussardi, and amenities are by Granado, the oldest apothecary in Brazil which became the official pharmacy of the Brazilian Royal Family soon after it opened in 1870. The rooms offer views of either the waterfalls, gardens, pool or forest and come in seven categories: Superior, Deluxe, Waterfall Deluxe, Junior Suite, Noble Suite, Tower Suite and the three Master Suites with Juliet balconies to soak up the views—two of the gardens and one of the thundering falls.
The hotel has two pools: the larger at 3337m2 has an infinity border, while the smaller is for children. Both are heated and open year round for swimming or simply lazing under palm trees. Rare orchids and bromeliads grow in the hotel’s tropical gardens, and those who like to get their blood pumping can head to the tennis court or a gym with cardio equipment and free weights. Both are free of charge for guests.
Those who love to be pampered can choose between 20 treatments at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas spa. With a relaxation area that overlooks the lush gardens, the spa is made up of six treatment rooms, including one for couples, with a bath, and two steam rooms, one for men and one for women. Spa treatments use 100% natural products including passion fruit, green clay and organic sugar, and guests can choose to play their own music through a docking station or listen to the sounds chosen by the spa technicians.
When guests want to combine business with pleasure the hotel also has conference rooms which can cater for 150 people.
Brazilians take their food seriously and when it’s time to dine Belmond Hotel das Cataratas takes good care of both taste buds and appetites. There are two restaurants: Ipe Grill which combines an air conditioned room with a large terrace near the pool, and Itaipu on the ground floor of the building where diners can enjoy meals on a verandah with waterfall views. Guests can also have snacks with their cocktails as they listen to the piano player in Bar Taroba. Food is international with a Brazilian twist with à la carte, buffet and BBQ options, while guests who love their fruit will be spoilt for choice. Colourful and exotic, the large fruit platters combine a mixture of familiar and lesser known options from lychees and mangoes to acerola, jabuticaba, mangostin and orange kinkan, all full of the most extraordinary flavours.
While there is much to do within the hotel, it’s what takes place on its doorstep that attracts people from around the world. With so many possible activities guests are often spoilt for choice. Tours include boat rides that come exhilaratingly close to the falls and helicopter flights that provide a bird’s eye view of the cascading water. There are forest hikes, visits to an exotic bird sanctuary and the special lunar rainbow walks to see colours cast by moonlight through the waterfalls.
To help guests select the best possible itinerary the hotel has created its own travel agency, Iguassu Experiences. This dedicated concierge team contacts guests at the time of booking to help them choose between the various options so they can make the most of their time. They can also help guests avoid making the same mistake as so many who have gone before them. Many guests regretfully tell staff as they check out that they only wish they’d spent more time at their beautiful hotel and one of the natural wonders of the world.
Built in 1939 in the Portuguese Colonial style architecture is the only hotel in Iguassu National Park. First Eco Resort in South America to obtain ISO 14001 certification, a sign of our commitment to maintaining the environment. The unique location allows guests exclusive access to falls before park opens & after it closesDownload Factsheet