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World's Most Expensive
Botanique Hotel & Spa, Exclusive New Hotel Opening in Brazil
August 26, 2012
It is the first hotel of its kind, showcasing the best of local Brazilian design, furnishings, culture, cuisine, and experience, and the only one to embrace an authentic Brazilian approach in a region populated entirely by European-style hotels.
Conceptualized by some of the most brilliant minds in business – David Cole, founder of AOL; Gordon Roddick, founder of the Body Shop; and Ricardo Semler, owner of Botanique, prolific entrepreneur and published author – Botanique is the epitome of what they call “post luxury.”
According to Ricardo Semler, Botanique is “introducing a new concept of contemporary Brazilian hospitality, rescuing the authenticity of old Campos do Jordão, which was an anchor for spiritual retreats, and blending that with a top-of-the-line-luxury feel.”
The goal was to create a new sort of guest experience that combines the high standards of service expected of a five-star establishment with the intimate, personal qualities of staying at a bed and breakfast.
Serene Surroundings, Inside and Out
Located two hours north of São Paulo and overlooking one of the stunning river valleys of the chic countryside escape that is the Campos do Jordão area, Botanique is surrounded by 700 acres of lush mid-Atlantic forests and botanical gardens. The property's architecture is contemporary yet reflective of the natural beauty of its surroundings. In fact, nature appears to have been virtually invited indoors via the triple-story glass walls of the main building, locally sourced chocolate slate and stone, and massive 120-year-old timber beams. Bounded by an expansive kitchen garden of 400 raised beds, accommodations include six suites in the main building and 11 stand-alone villas.
The restaurant, Mina, is overseen by executive chef Gabriel Brodie, one of Brazil's rising culinary stars, and serves farm-to-fork contemporary Brazilian cuisine with an exclusive Brazilian wine menu to match. Good food and good drink are not all that is on offer at the restaurant; in addition to enjoying sweeping 180° views of the mountains and river valley, yet another special menu is available to guests featuring pre-Castro 1957 Dunhills and a selection of Brazilian cult Terroir cigars. Botanique also grows and roasts their own coffee and presses their own olive oil.
Relax and Renew
Cut into the hillside, the 10,000-square-foot Spa at Botanique offers eight treatment rooms that include wet rooms, dry rooms, and couples treatment rooms as well as a swimming pool, a wet sauna, and a dry sauna that feature glass walls and breathtaking vistas. The menu of services consists of Afro-Brazilian and native Indian treatments as well as local healing and relaxing rituals.
Get Out and About or Just Stay In
With year-round spring-like temperatures, the region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The hotel grounds feature an extensive circuit of well-marked hiking and mountain biking trails, an outdoor swimming pool and swimmable lake, plus clay tennis courts, a private equestrian center with Brazilian and world champion horses, and some serious bird watching (over 165 local bird species can be seen). Those wishing to spend some quality time indoors will appreciate Botanique's cutting-edge listening room, private cinema, and library of hundreds of hand-selected books by Brazilian novelists.
The true passion point for the team behind Botanique is quality of service and guest experience, going a step beyond the ‘personal butler' concept and doing away with the dogmatic departmental approach to running a hotel. The property is overseen day-to-day by husband and wife team Nicole and Jonathan Wise, who are Managing Partners in Botanique, but it does not have a front desk, a concierge service, or a housekeeping department. Calling on decades of experience running some of the world's top hotels, they are pioneering a new approach and have developed a series of highly trained teams, each led by an “anchor” staff member. Guests will be assigned a dedicated team, the members of which will be those they encounter making up their rooms, playing the piano in the restaurant, arranging their next spa treatment, or improving their game on the tennis courts – yes, tennis pros are among the multi-talented team members. The hotel will even handle the unpacking and pressing of clothing upon arrival as well as folding and packing prior to departure.
Rates start at $2500BR per night (approximately $1,200 USD) and include all meals, nightly wine tastings, gratuities, and laundry service – aside from the nightly rate and spa services, there are no extra charges.
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