5 Blowout Brazilian Beach Houses
Anyone who has visited Brazil since the strengthening of the Brazilian Real a few years ago, and certainly anyone who has looked into hotel accommodations for upcoming mega world events like the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, are surely intimately familiar with the Portuguese term, “Custo Brasil,” or “Brazilian Cost,” a phrase used to (explain? justify?) the rising costs of doing business in this South American giant and, as a result, prices that leave visitors often sticker shell-shocked. There’s no sugarcoating it: Brazil is an expensive country to visit.
But there are ways to cut costs. One excellent idea is to steer away your dream of sleeps on the sands from often high-priced hotels and pousadas to pooling your money, resources and groups of friends into renting an entire piece of paradise all for yourselves. That’s where the Brazilian Beach House Company comes in. Started by English expat Steven Chew in 2005, the company specializes in finding fully-staffed beach homes for all budgets on the most pristine patches of sand the country has to offer. Often times, if a group of friends or couples split costs, you can rest your weary heads in paradise for a fraction of the cost of an overpriced pousada – and turn an entire luxury home into your own private Eden (with a private chef to boot).
We asked Steven to highlight a few of his favorite homes in Brazil, from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro (*and we threw in our personal favorite in as well). It’s a tall order as luxury beach homes are something Brazil does very well indeed. “Here are my list of five favorites,” he says. “Or at least some of the them as the list could have run and run …”
Without further adieu …
CASA LOLA (Trancoso, Bahia)
“A beautifully-styled three-suite house just off Trancoso’s famous Quadrado. The house was built by the same architect and team responsible for the much-hyped UXUA hotel, but the space, privacy and good living the house affords is in a league of its own. The housekeeper, Aurinha, sings beautifully.” (From $775 per night)
CASA BEIJA FLOR (Canavieras, Bahia)
“A fabulous five-suite house set right on the beach in Canavieras, Southern Bahia. Luxury at a fraction of the price of a similar house in the now oh-so-hip Trancoso, the benefit of a stay at Beija Flor is that guests have the feeling of pioneering and of having found somewhere wonderful before it is to be shared with other tourists. The colorful old port is straight out of the pages of a Jorge Amado novel.” (US$1000 per night)
CASA PARATY (Paraty, Rio de Janeiro)
“A restored merchant’s mansion set right in the heart of the pedestrianised old town of Paraty and a stone’s throw from the pier where boats depart to explore the bay by day. The old town of Paraty has a wonderfully romantic atmosphere of Brazil as it must have been and Casa Paraty, with a facade that belies the luxury within, encapsulates that – not least with its beautiful courtyard garden, the scene of many long lunches and candlelit dinners.” (From US$1250 per night)
VILLA ITACARÉ (Itacaré, Bahia)
“I love this place, not just for the striking design (a jungle-house with no walls) and the gorgeous natural materials the owners used to build, but the fact that it was designed and built for the use of just one couple. There is one double suite complete with muslin-drapped bed, a fabulous open kitchen and dinning room and a living area with a screen projector. It’s a cool as a Meatpacking District loft, but the vibe is more deluxe treehouse. A pool completes the house and it’s so private the clothes are purely optional.” (From $1550 per week)
VILLA REGINA (Rio de Janeiro city)
“This house is incredible; old school Rio de Janeiro glamour at its best. Located in a small enclosure just ten minutes along Av Niemeyer from Leblon, Villa Regina offers both relaxed villa living (with views to die for), with peace and quiet, space and cradle of nature all around, with the best of modern Rio. Hard to beat when coupled with luxurious bedrooms, a house that has been meticulously restored, and roof top pool and BBQ area that has one of the best views in the Zona Sul.” (US$1450 per night)
CASA CAIRUÇU (Paraty, Rio de Janeiro)
“Your Brazil Insider’s personal favorite, this lovely four-bedroom home, reachable by boat only, sits isolated on a small patch of tropical utopia inside the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of Cairuçu just off beautiful Paraty bay. The stunning location is unrivaled; a minimalist modern getaway overseen by an Anglo-Brazilian couple perched on a misty, tropical dream of verdant-green rainforest overlooking one of Brazil’s most spectacular bays, undisturbed by any noise pollution whatsoever (O.K., a small boat might occasional pass). When combined with the colonial cobblestoned gem of old town Paraty, a 20-minute boat ride away, it’s Paradise Found.” (From $550 per night)
LAN Airlines and its affiliates operate nearly 50 flights per week between Miami, New York and Orlando to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. From there, domestic flights are available throughout the country.