Belmond das Cataratas: the best hotel in Iguazu

Iguazu is one of those places where it’s easy to choose your accommodation. Not too many options, and one that’s stands out from the rest: the Belmond das Cataratas. Located on the Brazilian side and within the national park, you get privileged access to the falls before the park opens to the public. Keeping in mind how crowded the falls can get during the day, that’s a very big plus. Don’t bother booking a guided tour of the falls though, it’s unnecessary. Unlike the Argentinian side where you have to choose from many different paths, on the Brazilian side there is only one easy and clearly marked path that starts right in front of the hotel. In my next article I will debate the pros and cons of each side of the falls. But for now let’s focus on the hotel itself.

What I liked:

  • the location right in front of the falls and within the national park
  • the amazing pool (especially at night)
  • the hotel’s very nice tropical garden and its beautiful birds
  • the great breakfast on the poolside (and caipirinhas a bit later)
  • that feeling of serenity and loneliness right next to a highly touristic attraction

What I disliked:

  • the somehow old-fashioned and not so over-the-top rooms (nice bathrooms though)
  • a strange moldy smell in the rooms…!
  • the lack of signalization in the corridors (that place is huge and you get easily lost)
Deckchairs on the poolside, Belmond das Cataratas
Deckchairs on the poolside

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Duque Hotel: a gem in Buenos Aires

Duque hotel in Buenos Aires may be the accommodation with best value for money I’ve ever been to. Located in the neighbourhood of Palermo, it’s a charmingly small and cozy boutique hotel. City center is easily reached with a metro ride.

What I liked

  • the intimate atmosphere
  • the lovely garden and sitting area around the pool
  • the beautiful entrance
  • the location in trendy and quiet Palermo
  • the friendly and smiling staff

What I didn’t like

  • for 130 USD per night, there really isn’t anything to complain about…!
Poolside, Duque hotel
Poolside

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Kapama Karula: a sleek safari experience

Like for Sabi Sabi, I recommend to spend at least 2 nights at Kapama Karula for a better overall experience (no rush) and to grow your chances to see as many different animals as possible. Sabi Sands game reserve has a common open border with the gigantic Kruger national park (meaning animals can migrate freely), whereas Kapama is a fenced game reserve. I know, at first it doesn’t sound appealing (I mean, I am totally against zoos)… But when you enter the reserve and drive many miles on dirt roads without seeing a single fence, you realize how huge this reserve really is. You will note the same during your safari drives: many hours of driving, no fences in view.

Where Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is intimate and authentic, Kapama Karula is sleek and modern. I would recommend to try both, but if I had to choose I would probably pick Kapama Karula. Why? For a similar safari experience, it comes with a lighter price tag (Sabi Sabi may be a bit overpriced because of its reputation). Plus the villas with big private pools and terraces are to die for…! The safari experience itself depends a lot on your ranger and how full the lodge is during your stay. I had the chance to have the whole open-air safari jeep for myself and my spouse, and an experienced ranger totally passionate about his job (Chris). During 3 different game drives (2 mornings and 1 evening) we went from bush walk among mud-bathing rhinos, sundowners in front of gracefully moving giraffes backed by one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, to catching a python bare hand in the night and gazing at a starlit sky with zero light pollution. Unforgettable. Despite all Chris’ efforts, we didn’t manage to see a leopard (the most difficult Big 5 animal to spot) and he was even more disappointed by that than we were.

What I preferred at Kapama Karula:

  • the size of the private villa and its pool
  • the modern design of the property in general
  • the curio shop on-site
  • the passionate and experienced ranger Chris
Private plunge pool and afternoon drinks (air temperature +40C), Kapama Karula
Private plunge pool and afternoon drinks overlooking the bush (air temperature +40C)

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Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp: safari with style

I recommend to spend at least 2 nights at the lodge to fully enjoy your safari experience and get better chances to spot all the Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino). Prepare for some pampering, as everything is included and taken care of from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave: meals, drinks, accommodation, morning and evening safaris in open-air jeeps, guided walking tours in the bush… Make sure to also visit the state-of-the-art Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, the staff will gladly take you there for a quick tour of this amazing place. Nothing to dislike at Sabi Sabi, so I will just list the things I preferred. In the coming days I am going to post an article about another lodge in the area and, of course, an article about the Kruger area with great wildlife pictures I had the chance to take. Stay tuned!

What I liked most at Sabi Sabi:

  • candle-lit dinner under the stars
  • breakfasts with amazing fruit juices
  • all alcoholic drinks included (at the bar, in the room and with meals)
  • cosy and beautiful main lounge
  • intimacy of the whole lodge, with a private and secluded feeling
  • professional and very handsome ranger Matthew
  • visit of the incredible Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp

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Hotel Moresco in Venice

Cosy. Intimate. Perfectly located. Hotel Moresco is a great choice for a stay in Venice. The room rates are not cheap, but come with nice perks (welcome drink, happy hour with free buffet in the early evening, complimentary bottle of prosecco upon arrival, great breakfast…). And…it’s Venice! Piazzale Roma (car and train terminus) couldn’t be closer though you are located along a quiet canal, and it’s easy to walk everywhere from here (or take a vaporetto). Hotel Moresco’s style is very Venetian, old-fashioned in a certain way but not tacky. What I particularly liked is the comfy lobby and the spacious en-suite bathroom with nice lighting (I stayed in the Blacksmith room). In the coming days, stay tuned for an article about incredible Venice and other wonderful places I visited in Northern Italy!

Entrance, hotel Moresco
Entrance

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