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The Reserva do Ibitipoca consists of 7,500 acres of hills, forests, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, just 3.5 hours from Rio.
The main Fazendo do Engenho lodge was originally built in the 18th century and completely renovated in 2006. There are just eight spacious rooms overlooking a lake, and all individually decorated with local handicrafts and have ipod docks, kingsize beds, balconies and delicious underfloor heating.
Minas Gerais state, where the hotel is located, is famed for its cuisine, and the restaurant at Ibitipoca serves meals using fresh local ingredients. Guests can choose to eat at several locations around the hotel, including under the branches of a magnificent jabuticabeira tree.
There are sofas and hammocks dotted around the property - perfect for relaxing with a good book and caipirinha, and for the indolent at heart there is also a wooden sauna, a small hydro-massage pool and a 'relaxation barn' where a number of treatments and massages are available, alongside yoga classes.
For anyone looking to be a little more active (and we really mean only a little) one of the main highlights of Ibitipoca is Engenho Waterall, 15 minutes walk away, with white sands around natural pools where guests can relax on sunloungers and order appetizers from the bar after the terribly strenuous walk.
Another highlight is to explore the reserve on foot or horseback, and the hotel has its own stable of Mangalarga and Anglo-Arabian horses. All the tours are taken by local guides and include excursions through the State Park, visits to traditional villages in the area, and more swims in nearby waterfalls and natural pools.
The use of local guides is all part of the reserve's sustainability programme, and the management are committed to reforestation, and the reintroduction of indigenous flora and fauna.
Why we love it
All the rooms come complete with havaiana flip flops.