On the day when we were flying from Rio, LVMH announced details of its US$3.2 Billion acquisition of Belmond. An auspicious night for this Brand Ambassador to be staying at a Belmond in such a jaw-dropping location, surround by 700,000 acres of National Park & in a prime location next to the Iguazu Falls. We were able to watch Iguazu Falls while toasting this with Veuve Clicquot.
Eduardo Bressane, the GM, had given me a special rate and Fabio (Front Office Manager) and his team could not have looked after us better. The thoughtful welcome amenities left for Issy & me (eg a capoeira outfit for Issy edged with jaguar print to mark the birth of jaguar cubs in rainforest; Veuve Clicquot on ice for me etc) put Four Seasons Hotel Sao Paulo at Nacoes Unidas to shame. It was a memorable stay in what is clearly a quality hotel, which will only get better under LVMH's ownership.
A Perfect Belmond Brazil Welcome
As soon as I saw Clayton with the welcome message for the three of us I knew this was going to be a very special stay.
He entertained us on the drive to the hotel explaining a dry period meant there was 30% less water but the Falls were still more than impressive; one of the local jaguars had had cubs; and hotel guests had the National Park & Falls to ourselves outside the 9am to 5pm times when the public are allowed.
At the hotel Fabio & his team were there to welcome us with cold towels, the rainforest does make it steamy.
A Room with a View to Die For
I had requested a suite with a view of the Iguazu Falls and our view must have been one of the best in the hotel. Only 19 of their 203 rooms have Falls views.
Blown Away by the Veuve Clicquot & Thoughtful Welcome Gifts Left for Issy & Me
There were almost too many gifts left for Issy & me. There were two capoeira outfits for Issy. This is the Afro-Brazilian martial art and one of the outfits was edged with jaguar print to mark the birth of the jaguar cubs. I was almost brought near tears with a card to Issy from all the staff & all the relevant softs toys in Christmas hats.
We were told the contents of the mini bar were free for our use.
The Iguazu Falls a Minute Away
We left admiring the classy bathroom etc until later and rushed out to see the Iguazu Falls.
I was left in awe of the 100s of independent falls and it is unbelievable you have the world's biggest 'water feature' so close to the hotel.
The Pool: Awesome Pool Staff
After a few hours exploring the Falls we headed to the hotel's large pool for a swim, some cocktails and lunch.
Fabio walked us to the pool and it turned out he helped to open the Fasano hotel in Rio. We discussed my sunset pool photo of that hotel in the #travelblog www.sifrew.com logo.
At the pool the staff could not have been more helpful & I got talking to a sweet couple from Taipei!
How a Caesar Salad Should Be Made
I started with a perfect caipirinha and loved the exotic parrot cocktail stirrer.
I had a Caesar salad for lunch to extinguish the memories of the poor salad at Four Seasons Sao Paulo.
I was not keen that it was a wedge but the taste of the creamy anchovy dressing, combined with the crispy lettuce and flavoursome chicken was bliss.
My only suggestion to improve things would be raised trays to eat off at your sunbed as Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok provide and mobile 'phone recharge packs, as Four Seasons, Buenos Aires offer.
After lunch I was brought more cocktail stirrers, the sign of a true quality hotel when the pool staff can read your mind! Just like at the Four Seasons George V in Paris.
I ended the afternoon with a spicy 'Devil's Throat' cocktail, which got lots of attention from the numerous children in the pool.
Sunset Toasting LVMH & Belmond with Veuve Clicquot
At sunset we toasted LVMH & Belmond while watching the view of the Iguazu Falls, after the public had left. There are few moments as special as this.
Live Brazilian Music & a Perfect Very Dry Grey Goose Martini in Bar Taroba
We then headed down to Bar Taroba where I had to speak to the Manager to explain how I wanted my martini prepared but it was then perfect & served with what seemed like Frazzles bacon sacks from my childhood and familiar Brazilian tunes for my Uruguayan friend.
A Disappointing Buffet/BBQ Dinner in IPe Grill/Restaurant
The hotel had booked us into the more formal Itaipu Restaurant but we switched this as my friend felt a Brazilian BBQ would be more fun.
Ipe is too brightly lit in the evening and the cold buffet was uninspiring for this ex pat used to lavish buffets including shrimp, smoked salmon, sushi etc. However, the BBQ meats were well cooked, even if the sausage was dry.
After dinner we admired the hotel's Christmas decorations and had another perfect martini.
Back at the Room
I was impressed by the bed turndown service, definitely a quality hotel, but less impressed the a/c would not go below 20.
Excited About a Morning at the Pool & Visiting Paraguay
The a/c issue meant it was not a perfect night's sleep but I woke excited about my day.
What a Contrast Breakfast Was
Breakfast in Ipe was a contrast with dinner the night before. I would have liked more choice of egg preparation but everything else was perfect.
I ate this 'breakfast feast' by the pool reading the Weekend Financial Times on a hotel iPad. Yasmin came to get me to try sugar cane juice with lemon juice. Still not sure about that.
Writing Hotel Postcards About My 50th Birthday Parties Next Year
I then spent a few hours writing postcards about my 50th birthday parties in Shrewsbury & London next year. Only being interrupted by a lizard!
GM Eduardo emailed me from his vacation in Peru to say we could have as late a check-out as we wanted but 'Duty Free' shopping in Paraguay meant this was not necessary.
How Check-Out Should be Done
Fabio was there to say goodbye and there was a gift of a small bottle of Iguazu Falls water as a souvenir. Fabio was telling me about Belmond in London, the Cadogan Hotel.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(6 out of 5 'teddies') - clearly a very high quality hotel. Eduardo & Fabio; the excellent staff; the Veuve Clicquot & view of Iguazu Falls; and all the welcome gifts would have meant '7 teddies' but the dinner, too many kids in the pool & a/c issues lost a 'teddy'. My Tip:- try to get a room with a Falls view & talk to Fabio.