For our luxury hotel of the month for April we chose the Comuna do Ibitipoca in the rolling hills of Minas Gerais State. Combining an ambitious environmental conservation project with one of Brazil’s finest small hotels, Ibitipoca is a unique taste of the hidden face of Brazil.
The Comuna do Ibitipoca is a unique proposition: the activities of the charming hotel and private villas available on the reserve support the ongoing conservation of this vast area of wild forest, mountain and grasslands, as well as the fauna that live upon it. The 5000-hectare reserve aims to restore and protect important wildlife corridors for threatened species and encourage the return of native flora species that have been affected by the growth of human activity in the region over the decades.
Offering a homely farm-to-table restaurant, Spa, sauna and hydro-massage pool, the hotel has everything necessary for a memorable countryside stay. The Comuna’s on-site stables have Mangalarga horses for guests to use to explore the extraordinary natural surroundings here.
How to Get There
Ibitipoca is located 3.5 hours north-west of Rio in Minas Gerais, in a region which is also 2.5 hours from the colonial towns of Petropolis and São João del Rei, some 4 hours from the state capital, Belo Horizonte. Passengers arriving into Belo Horizonte or Rio de Janeiro airports can transfer to the property by private vehicle. For those enjoying a road-trip tour of the Minas historic towns, Ibitipoca makes a wonderful final stop after São João.
The centrepiece of the Comuna’s accommodation options is Fazenda do Engenho, a traditional farm building that houses a quaint boutique hotel. Dating from 1715, the original farmhouse was rebuilt in 2006 and has eight sumptuous guest rooms that ooze a homely, rustic charm. Situated 100 metres above the main house is Casa de Carlinhos, a private house with three cosy suites – perfect for families or small groups of friends travelling together.
Ibitipoca: Remote is a portfolio of rustic country houses within the reserve, each transformed into comfortable, charming and utterly individual basecamps allowing exploration of the reserve’s wider reaches. In the village of Mogol, treat yourself to a stay in the quirky Humboldt Loft, or to an above-the-clouds mountain-top experience at the Eagle’s Nest. On the far side of the reserve from Engenho – there is the bewitching Areião House and Areião Loft. Explore pristine hidden waterfalls at every turn or opt for riding, mountain biking or walking amongst contrasting landscapes of mountains, wet sand dunes and tropical forest between the main house and these isolated lodges.
Food & Drink
The meals provided as the reserve are sophisticated yet simple, introducing guests to the big flavours and generous portions of the Brazilian countryside. Expect hearty stews, excellently well-cooked meats and organic vegetables with full-bodied sauces made from exotic fruits. Breakfast is a particular highlight at Ibitipoca with a variety of homemade breads, cakes, jams and dairy products being served, all produced on the property.
Comuna do Ibitipoca is completely unique. Most first-time travellers to Brazil envision the sandy beaches of Rio, the colours of Carnival or the lush rainforests of the Amazon when someone mentions this gargantuan country. In reality, the vast majority of southern Brazil is made up of rolling green hills, forests and pasturelands populated by small-scale farming and traditional rural communities. This is the ‘real’ and utterly charming Brazil that very few people get to experience. Ibitipoca’s ‘outstanding feature’? It is just that there is nothing else out there quite like it.
The Comuna suits anyone who loves the countryside. The reserve is a setting of breath-taking natural beauty and lovers of the great outdoors can enjoy blissful walks to enchanting waterfalls, across lush pastures and up dizzying mountain paths during their stay at the hotel.
Fine art aficionados will enjoy Ibitipoca’s unique commitment to displaying large works of contemporary art around the reserve and those seeking a Brazilian holiday off-the-beaten track will be equally inspired by the unusual experience of Brazil a stay at Ibitipoca offers compared to the well-publicised stops on the regular tourist track.
Must Do Activity
Ibitipoca’s free art circuit walking tour, conducted by a local guide, is something uber-unique to this property. The incredible open-air works of art are spread across the reserve but are all within walking distance of the main fazenda. The tour takes approximately 2 hours and the walking is of medium difficulty. The art tour can also be taken by jeep or on horseback for an extra charge. With the combination of striking avant garde art pieces with the dramatic green scenery of the hills, this is a memorable way to spend an afternoon.
Are you planning a trip to Brazil? Learn more about Minas Gerais by clicking here and visit our Comuna do Ibitipoca page for more information on the hotel. Contact us today to begin designing your bespoke holiday with our dedicated travel specialists.