Similar to what attracted us to its sister hotel, Pousada Picinguaba, we were looking forward to being outdoors in nature, experiencing some of the natural beauty that Brazil has to offer. While we did have a chance to do some hiking and horseback riding, it was only after we made clear that we wanted to be active. While the place sells itself on activities, the reality is that they aren't really set up for it. Most people who come - based on what we were told - are from São Paulo, where they want to get away from the hectic city life and do nothing but eat and read books. Again, fine if that is what you want, but perhaps it's not for international travelers who seek to experience more of the local life and environment.
On the positive side, we found the food to be very tasty and the service was excellent. Each morning we had tasty fruits and breads. And in the evening, they served various dishes, mostly meat-based given the local environs. For lunch, they served multiple courses, and while we knew this was for an additional fee, we didn't realize until the end that it was a steep R$120 per person. Apparently, there is a la carte as well, but we weren't aware of this until after the fact. While the food is good, transparency would be even better. In general, expect food and drinks to add 100–200 reis/day per person to the [half-board] base rate.
This fazenda has a strong 'at home' sensibility to it, which is lovely. But in our case, we felt like we were in someone else's home because the owner of the place was there with his family and extended family. Normally, I'm sure this would have been fine. But because we were the only paying guests, this also became a bit awkward, especially because the staff clearly want to impress him and thus we oftentimes felt like second-class citizens. It's a bit strange to me that the owner of a guest house expects to be treated more like a guest rather than a host, but unfortunately, this is the case. It was the final unfortunate disappointment for us.
All in all, this is a lovely retreat if you want to escape and have nothing to do. But in my opinion, it is not worth the money. This was a big splurge for my family. We've spent half the price in other places and had better value. If you're a big spender and want to get away, it's a good place. If you seek more, then look elsewhere.
- Also Known As:
- Fazenda Catucaba Sao Luiz Do Paraitinga, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of Brazil’s nature and culture, Fazenda Catucaba is a peaceful 450-hectare old coffee farm in the mountains, close to the sea, bordering a Unesco natural reserve. More than a luxury hotel it is a family home, genuine, simple, elegant and exclusive with great tasty healthy food from our organic farm! Around the traditional 1850’s main house, 5 villas can be privatized or split into large double rooms and suites. ... more less
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