Photo Credit: Carrie CoolidgeThere is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. Campos do Jordao, located in the state of Sao Paulo, is known as the Brazilian Switzerland for good reason. A recent visit there revealed a unique Swiss alpine-type experience albeit with a Latin twist.
Only two and a half hours (105 miles) from the city of Sao Paulo, Campos do Jordao has much to offer. Most Brazilians choose to spend time in Campos do Jordao during the winter months of June, July and August. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, tennis, horseback riding, and lazy days are spent enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views. While the peak season to visit for the bulk of its visitors is during Brazil’s winter months, a recent visit there during springtime was ideal with warm sunny days and crisp, cool nights.
Campos do Jordao’s Vila Capivari district is reminiscent of a quiet Swiss or German hamlet with its timber frame buildings and cobblestone streets. The district offers great shopping, sidewalk cafes complete with umbrella-covered tables, and an abundance of gourmet boutiques that feature homemade chocolates. Be sure to stop by the Baden Baden microbrewery for lunch or dinner and one of its delicious handcrafted beers.
There are several five-star level luxury resorts to choose from in the area. Each offers lavish accommodations, gourmet cuisine and an abundance of activities. The Blue Mountain Resort, a beautiful mountain lodge designed by local architect Jose Roberto Damas Cintra, opened in 2010. Its impressive facilities could easily be compared to a Four Seasons hotel and include an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool, whirlpools, steam room, sauna, tennis court, soccer field, game room, children's play room and full-service spa.
The resort offers two dining experiences including a glass enclosed three-story-high dining room, as well as a fondue restaurant in a charming space called “Cave” alongside the hotel’s wine cellar. The resort is a lovely place to unwind and relax as it offers large terraces with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and nearby villages. Blue Mountain’s Shishedo Spa features a full menu of treatments, many of which feature products made in the Amazon region. The spa's treatment rooms are state-of-the-art and complete with private whirlpools for guests to enjoy after an expertly-applied massage.
The resort’s 94 rooms and suites are well-appointed and feature flat screen televisions and high speed wireless Internet service. Many feature whirlpool bath tubs and terraces, as well. Most importantly, perhaps, is the extremely friendly and professional staff that is found at the resort. They will bend over backwards to make sure their guests are happy and have everything they need.
The 60-year old Vila Inglesa Hotel is reminiscent of a stately country manor house with its grand, well-appointed rooms, glass enclosed swimming pool, and tennis court, and equestrian facility. Guests relish lazy days, enjoying striking views while lounging in hammocks that dot the property. With a maximum capacity of 80 guests, the property is intimate and elegant.
The hotel’s common rooms have a homey feeling, although on a grand scale. The hotel welcomes children and offers an impressive outdoor playground on its grounds. Open since 1943, the Hotel Toriba has magnificent views, luxurious accommodations and beautifully landscaped grounds. One highlight of the hotel is its full-service spa which features L'Occitane products, luxurious treatment rooms and a well-trained, friendly staff. The hotel also has a heated outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center. The family-owned hotel offers a level of tranquility not often found.
Guest accommodations include 28 rooms in the main building and five modern chalets that provide the utmost in privacy. The villas are beautifully appointed with luxurious furnishings and fireplaces, with some offering whirlpool baths. The hotel offers three different restaurants which feature international cuisine with one specializing in fondue. Families with young children are especially welcome as the hotel offers a cinema, game room and outdoor playground.
Located in a mansion that belonged to one of Brazil’s wealthiest families during the early part of the 20th century, the Villa Casato is an extremely private boutique hotel with only six opulent guest suites. Guests feel like they are staying in a private home as the hotel is located in a wealthy residential enclave. Breakfast and lunch are served in a stunning glass-enclosed gazebo and high tea is served every afternoon. Dinner is offered in the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, which is open to the public. Villa Casato has a lovely indoor swimming pool complete with sauna and spa facilities. The hotel welcomes children who are age 16 and older. For more information about Campos do Jordao, visit BrazilTour.com.
Swimming Pool at Hotel Toriba
Villa Casato Dining Room