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Just a five minute walk from the centre of coastal Búzios, and overlooking the town’s bay dotted with colourful fishing boats, Casas Brancas has the best of both worlds.
Owner Amalia de La Maria has perfected the art of chic simplicity, which is inherent throughout the hotel. There are 32 rooms scattered around the pousada reached by small plant adorned courtyards. All are spacious and airy and paintings of boats, white walls and billowing white drapes nod to the relaxed style of the Mediterranean. Many of the rooms look out over the ocean, and for a terrace with hammock opt for a deluxe room or large suite.
The alfresco restaurant Café Atlantic has stunning views out onto the ocean and serves delicious food, both international and from Brazil. Its seafood is particularly worth a try. The other restaurant, Deck, is on the seafront and is the place to go in the evenings - caipirinhas at sunset followed by some local Brazilian cuisine is a fantastic way to start the evening. If neither of the hotel's restaurants whet your appetite, or you just fancy a change, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants in nearby Búzios.
There is a small swimming pool and a spa offering a range of treatments - a body wrap with cucumber and lavender sounds particularly appealing. The hotel can also arrange a wide range of activities in and around Búzios, from fishing, sailing, snorkelling, riding, scuba diving, tennis and golf.
Búzios itself is a cove-scattered peninsula with 26 beaches to choose from. Once a small fishing village, it is now the bolthole of wealthy weekenders, and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Rio.
Why we love it
It's not all carnival and caiproscas - although there is definitely a party side - the town still retains its old age charm with cobbled streets and fishing boats a plenty.