By Teresa Barnett
As we pull into the driveway I fall in love with Casas Brancas simple beauty and its wonderful setting. The journey from Rio to Buzios took 2.5 hours and was worth every one of those 150 minutes of my life. Trees carpet the hills surrounding the roads we drove across like a crushed green velvet blanket.
Buzios for the uninitiated is a sun worshippers paradise. It has grown from being a fishing village with 6,000 inhabitants to a popular holiday destination courtesy of Brigette Bardot's visit in 1964; the result? Some 30,000 inhabitants; a number that soars five times during the summer season. With over 23 beaches, 150 restaurants and a Pete Dye designed golf course this little taste of paradise has put itself firmly on the map. 70% of the hotels in Buzios are in Joao Fernandes beach and 80% of the tourists are from Argentina. My eyes feast on the golden bodies, 1 km of coarse golden sand and three tier shades of sparkling blue sea.
Casas Brancas Boutique Hotel and Spa with its Mediterranean inspired white washed walls, panoramic ocean views and Zen like ambience is the hotel I know will re-centre me after a stressful few weeks. Although the hotel was booked to capacity, due to its multi level design I was unaware of this and the hotel maintained the serenity I felt as I crossed the threshold. For those still connected to reality there is wifi throughout and the rooms have an LCD TV and DVD player. Casas Brancas is enviably located near everything, a short walk downtown and there is an array of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The brother and sister team who run the hotel continue the legacy left by their parents faithfully updating and improving. They offer free yoga classes thus improving the sleep and relaxation of their guests.
Time to explore
I decide to explore my surroundings; the scent of Amendoa fruit fills the air on the short walk from road to beach. There are various ways to explore Buzios and a boat tour whispered my name on the wind. The walk along the hot cobbled stones to the dock delivers the smell of freshly steamed mussels. We boarded the large open deck of our boat the Aloha Buzios to the pulsating beat of Rihanna's 'We got right now'.
Sailing past Pria dos Ossos which translates as “Bone Beach” the first stop was at Azeda beach which led on to Azedina beach. It was time for a pit stop and I dive straight into the azure sea. I'm not the strongest swimmer and was soon calling out for a tubular shaped float, embarrassed much? A few stops later and I'm back on dry land.
Exploring Buzios by sea was not enough and a land tour beckoned. Buzios Trolley departs from Pria de Armacao – this is not a beach as such despite its name. As the trolley bus gathered momentum, Monica our tour guide does well to conduct the tour in English and Portuguese.
She points out the bronze statue of Brigitte Bardot made by Christina Motta who was also commissioned to produce the three fishermen statue. Monica further points out the statue of the former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek who would bring his various lovers to Buzios and dine at the Solitaire restaurant. Although now dead he remains a permanent fixture outside his favourite eatery.
So what do you do when you're a golf widow with time on your hands? Casa Brancas with their most ethereal spa has the answers. Sofia speaks English which is helpful, the spa is not the largest on this trip but what it may lack in size is certainly made up by the panoramic views of the sea from the jacuzzi in the relaxation room. With two single treatment rooms, two bathrooms and one dual treatment room this luxurious sanctuary has a range of wellness rituals to restore the work frazzled and time poor. Choose from the five packages, Wellness, Relaxation and Luxurious together with a half or all day spa. All packages come with a gift of Ipanema flip-flops and a swimsuit. Having changed into the bikini provided and wrapped myself in a robe I meet with Ale my masseuse and choose the 50 minute Bamboo Massage which Ale executes perfectly, and I slowly drift off to sleep.
The spa uses the latest techniques to get your body and skin in shape and in addition to the packages they offer nine different types of massage, facial treatments and body treatment. I cannot envisage anyone coming to this hotel and not wanting to relax. I would recommend making a day of the spa with the Luxurious package, before winding up your day drinking herbal tea in the jacuzzi overlooking the sea, and that my readers is the epitome bliss.
R. Morro do Humaitá
Triangulo de Buzios
Búzios RJ, 28950-000
T: +55 22 2623 1458