Two hours by car from from São Paulo lies a hotel blending local culture, contemporary art, luxury and respect for nature.
Two rivers, 32 sources and several lakes on 450 hectares bordering a UNESCO nature reserve – welcome to Fazenda Catuçaba, a coffee farm established in 1850 and turned into a hotel in 2008. As well as its wonderful setting, this place sets new standards in contemporary luxury. Forget gilded opulence. Forget tablet and smartphone. Here the key concepts are simplicity, disconnection (no television, telephone or Internet access), appreciation of local culture and communion with Mother Nature. The traditional cottages can be rented with or without electricity and have all been renovated using recycled wood. The farm is run traditionally using no chemicals and its animals eat locally produced feed. The vegetable gardens are irrigated by mineral water from the sources. Need we point out that the restaurant is 100% locavore, and that guests can lend a hand on the farm? An enticing programme!
Art and nature together
Nature's genius exerts its rights here but so too does human's, for Emmanuel Rengade, the Fazenda's French founder and owner, has deliberately blurred the borders between art, artisanry, photography, local culture and contemporary art by making creativity one of the fundamental aspects of his project. Artists' residencies, landscape art, a "bamboo cathedral" built in the middle of nowhere by the Campana brothers, a wooden leopard purchased directly from the Amazonian Mehinacu tribe, furnishings by grand masters of Brazilian design – everything in this enchanting hideaway testifies to a desire to celebrate the identity and heritage of a magnificent country.