The Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas is the place to stay whilst on holiday at Iguassu Falls. The only hotel located inside the Brazilian national park it offers unrivalled services, views and accommodation on the Brazilian side of the falls.
On arrival at Foz do Iguacu airport, it’s a short 5 minute drive to the entrance to the national park where the Hotel Das Cataratas has an exclusive entrance. Once through the entrance it is a further 15 minute drive, slowly through the jungle to the hotel. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as quatis (coatis), monkeys, deers and for the very lucky perhaps a sighting of an ocelot, a puma or a jaguar.
Shortly the Hotel Das Cataratas reveals itself. A beautiful pink colonial building surrounded by trees and which are teeming with birds.
The attentive bellboys collect our luggage on arrival and after checking in we are taken to our rooms. Colonial decoration with paintings of birds and flowers adorn the hallways along with an incredibly soft carpet.
The hotel has a variety of room types beginning with the superior rooms. These are delightfully decorated with big king-size beds, dark wooden floors and marble bathrooms. The Superior rooms tend to face the courtyards or the sides of the building. The next category of room is the deluxe room, which is styled in the same fashion as the superior rooms but with a slightly larger floor space. We are lucky enough to have been given an upgrade to be staying in room 3301 which has some of the best views in the hotel. It’s the next category up and a Deluxe Falls view room. The Cataratas (Waterfalls in Portuguese) can be seen directly from our room and as we open the window all you can hear is crashing water and the sound of thousands of birds which occupy the trees outside.
If you are looking for more space or travelling with a family then there are 3 types of suite available at the Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas including the Cataratas Suite with views of the falls and a huge amount of space. Lady Diana once stayed here as well as a variety of celebrities from Sean Connery to Paul McCartney.
For recreation the hotel has a luxurious spa as well as a large outdoor heated pool, complemented by a pool bar which serves drinks and snacks for those looking for something lighter to eat. For those with more of an appetite the Ipe restaurant which is located next to the pool offers lunch and dinner in a buffet style with a barbecue and an a la carte option for the evenings. Breakfast is also served in the Ipe restaurant from 6-10 am with a selection of fruits, meats, hot and cold choices and of course Pao de Queijo (cheesy balls) which are a must whilst at breakfast in Brazil. Why not wash breakfast down with a glass of Brazilian bubbles.
The restaurant Itaipu offers a more sophisticated setting for dinner where a smarter attire is required and a la carte dishes are the order of the day. As the concierge to make a reservation for you.
The tower in the hotel offers excellent views of the falls from up high and is a wonderful setting for a celebratory glass of champagne whilst on honeymoon even for a proposal which occurred whilst we stayed there,
The main reason to stay at Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas, despite of the luxury surroundings, is the access to waterfalls. As you exit the hotel, there they are right in front of you. Take the 50 metre walk across from the hotel and you are looking out towards the Argentine border and the San Martin falls in the distance and the 3 musketeers falls to your left. The national park is open from 9am – 5pm each day but outside of these times as a hotel guest you can still visit. We awoke early one morning and followed the wooden walkways to the falls and upon reaching the final jetty which sticks out into the river were the only two people there. It was an amazing experience being all alone with no-one to spoil any photographs or to have to fight for space to get a picture. This is a huge advantage in the high season, the South American summer, when visitor numbers are very high and at times overwhelming.
The main competitor of the hotel is the Hotel Sheraton Iguazu, also a 5 star hotel, located inside the national park on the Argentine side of the falls which is an equally excellent hotel albeit with an ugly 1970’s façade. What the Sheraton lacks in looks it makes up for in views as the vista from the hotel directly toward the Devil’s Throat in the distance is much better than any view offered by the Hotel Das Cataratas. Like the Hotel Das Cataratas, the Hotel Sheraton Iguazu offers direct access to the waterfalls however this is limited to when the national park is open and this is when the Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas comes up trumps.
The exclusivity to the falls day or night when no other tourists are present, coupled with the colonial style and sophistication of the hotel is the reason why you should stay at the Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas whilst on holiday in Brazil.