Sometimes we discover a property that is the perfect definition of an upscale hideaway. The two Awasi lodges in Chile — in southern Patagonia and the Atacama Desert — have long numbered among our favorite South American resorts, so the debut of a new Awasi on the Argentine side of the Iguazú Falls demanded prompt investigation.
A two-hour flight from Buenos Aires was followed by a short drive that brought us to the edge of a patch of rainforest where Awasi Iguazú occupies a secluded 25-acre plot. The resort comprises just 14 accommodations, set on a steep hillside, with 75 employees, catering to a maximum of 28 guests. Although our expectations had been stratospheric, we were not disappointed. Our 1,075-square-foot air-conditioned villa was a masterpiece of understated design, with a huge bath, a private deck and a plunge pool, while the public areas were spacious, tranquil and stylishly decorated. Throughout our stay the food was imaginative and presented with flair.
The Iguazú Falls are the largest series of waterfalls in the world, and two surrounding national parks in Argentina and Brazil form a protected area of nearly 1,000 square miles.
The Iguazú Falls are the largest series of waterfalls in the world, and two surrounding national parks in Argentina and Brazil form a protected area of nearly 1,000 square miles. Guests at Awasi Iguazú are allocated a dedicated guide and vehicle, so all excursions are personalized. Best of all, the resort has negotiated privileged early-morning access to the Argentine national park so that it is possible to view the falls for at least an hour before the arrival of the crowds. Occasionally, a hotel opens that transforms the experience of a famous destination. Awasi Iguazú is just such a property.
Our travels also took us to Brazil’s business and financial capital, São Paulo. Rather than staying in the huge city itself, we spent a relaxing interlude at Fasano Boa Vista, a resort of 39 lavish accommodations, surrounded by a 2,000-acre estate, located two hours from downtown. Aside from opportunities for golf and horseback riding, the property is an ideal place in which to relax at the beginning or the end of a South American itinerary.
From São Paulo, we flew northeast for two hours to Porto Seguro on the tropical coast of Bahia, proceeding from there to the languid beach town of Trancoso. UXUA Casa Hotel is a complex of 11 traditional houses, about half of which are said to date to the foundation of the original village 500 years ago. These have been restored by the resort’s co-owner, Wilbert Das (the former creative director of the Italian fashion brand Diesel), in collaboration with local artisans. Trancoso itself is completely unspoiled, and UXUA provides a blissful refuge from the world and its cares.
This issue also includes a review of GoldenEye, a 49-room resort on the north coast of Jamaica, owned by legendary record producer Chris Blackwell and set around the former home of author Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. And we give an account of our stay at Ponte Vedra Lodge & Club, a gracious 66-room resort on Florida’s Historic Coast, 24 miles southeast of Jacksonville, which provided a nostalgic journey back to the era of classic American seaside hotels.