I have to start off this review doing something I've always meant to do but never did before--thanking my fellow reviewers. Had it not been for the detailed and overwhelmingly positive reviews for the Pousada Guarana I might have been inclined to overlook this mid-range pousada tucked away in a quiet residential part of town. Having just spent 5 nights there (again, influenced by the fine reviews not only of the pousada but of Paraty itself) I would now consider that a great loss if my wife and I would have missed out on this unobstentatious gem.
First, the pousada itself. Run by American ex-pat David and his lovely wife Jimena, the architecture was designed by Jimena's father and incorporates a lot of simple, rustic elements like wood beams and high ceilings. The ten guest rooms are spacious and airy, each with a private garden and hammock, lots of room for bags and such, and the superior rooms boast air-con, which if you visit in Brazil's summer is a must. The bedding is soft and the room was always immaculate.
At the end of the hallway there is a common area of some couches and tables featuring an eclectic decor with a strong Asian influence. Nearby is the pool area with comfortable seating (especially the ornately carved couch with piles of cushions that I commandeered every evening to write my refelections), as well as the open-air seating where breakfast is served each morning. Breakfast was consistently a collection of tasty fruits, cakes, pastry and eggs along with various fruit juices and addictingly delicious Brazilian coffee. In fact both coffee and water were available 24 hours a day complimentary for guests.
There is an enclosed parking area that also houses the complimentary bicycles available for guests to use, which was a very appealing alternative to walking everywhere. There was also a yoga/massage room that I took advantage of for the latter, enjoying a wonderful massage from a local therapist the pousada uses for about $60 US.
Now, for the best part. Not only is breakfast available every morning, but David and Jimena make themselves available as well, dispensing advice as to what to see or do, which boats or tour operators to use or even just to engage in pleasant conversation. They will also gladly make arrangements for you, leaving you time to relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. My favorite moments of our stay were our breakfasts chatting with David, learning about the area and culture, and knowing that whether it be which schooner to book a tour on or which restaurant to visit or where to get a horseback ride, you could have complete confidence that it was going to be great--and it always was. In fact, the hospitality was so complete that on the last day David even personally drove my wife and I to the bus station so we wouldn't have to take a taxi. Try to get that in a chain hotel.
There are only two caveats I feel compelled to mention and for me neither was a negative--in fact I regarded them as positive. First, David and Jimena very admirably rescue animals with the result that there are a number of resident dogs and cats that roam the grounds. We found them to be both well-behaved and endearing, not to mention affectionate. Of course, it helps that we're both animal lovers, but if we weren't--or were severely allergic, it might have been an issue.
Second, is the location. There's no doubt the main draw of Paraty is the historic center and surrounding bay, and if you're someone that absolutely MUST be in the middle of it all, you might find Pousada Guarana's location at the very edge of town inconvenient. Apparently the walk between the center and pousada takes most people 20 minutes. Those people must be of brisker pace or longer stride than I, as it consistently took me 30 minutes. But if you're in Paraty then you're probably looking to relax and take your time, so instead of looking at the location as an inconvenience we took our time and enjoyed the stroll along the riverside and the quiet at night.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and recommend it wholeheartedly. If it were possible to give it 5+ stars I would. Kudos to David & Jimena for the job they're doing and I hope this review will convince others to visit Paraty and the Pousada Guarana, as others' reviews convinced me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pousada Guarana a place of quiet and beauty For the past ten years we have tried to create a place for traveler's to get away from the hustle of daily life, or a place to relax and recharge after traveling through the big cities of Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Our hotel caters perfectly for small groups of friends, honeymooners, or couple's getaway. Here you will find quiet corners to chat or relax surrounded by lush gardens and hummingbirds sipping flower to flower. There will likely be a furry friend to keep you company as well should you desire. We want our guests to have the best experience possible. From beaches to waterfalls, fine dining to outdoor adventure, we can help you to the best our lovely town has to offer. Your hosts, David & Jimena ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pousada Guarana Paraty
- Pousada Guarana Hotel Paraty
- Hotel Pousada Guarana Paraty, Brazil