Insolito

Buzios, Rio de Janeiro Environs, Brazil Book from Book from £259 per night

A slick boutique hotel that's close to buzzy Búzios and its 26 beaches, yet blissfully serene
If the Búzios crowd is Brazil's most hip, the Insolito Hotel is their perfect foil. Beautiful and chic in equal measures, it's as inviting as the town itself, with Mediterranean gardens, 2 swimming pools and sweeping vistas over the peninsula and emerald sea. Once a private villa, it's staggered down a cliff edge, with rooms, suites and shared areas spread over different levels. A roof-level restaurant perches on top, a turquoise pool wraps around the bottom. Snow-white parasols offer respite from the sun and four-poster daybeds line the decking, each romantically draped in gauze.

Inside, the décor is clean-cut and sleek - imagine white walls, parquet flooring and angular white leather chairs. Yet it's by no means stark: navy or lime print cushions and crimson lampshades echo the colourful Brazilian beach vibe, adding a cool edge to what could otherwise feel a tad formulaic. The service is slick but friendly, and to top it all off, Búzios' 20-something beaches and excellent restaurants are within easy reach.

Highs

  • The attractive rooms with top-notch furnishings and private balconies; suites have outdoor Jacuzzis, too
  • A great deal of space and privacy for a small hotel
  • The wonderfully romantic atmosphere in the restaurant at night - and its delicious fusion food
  • Indian massages and tropical fruit treatments in the spa
  • Beautifully tended gardens and exotic fresh flowers collected from Rio's giant flower market overnight
  • Sunset views from almost every part of the hotel

Lows

  • It's surrounded by other holiday homes, and faces west over the horseshoe of busy Ferradura bay, which is packed in high season
  • It's pricey, and there's a 2- to 5-night minimum stay during special events and holidays
  • Although you could walk into town, it's a 1km stroll (not ideal in heels!) so you'll probably rely on the hotel shuttle/taxis at night
  • The restaurant interior is erring on canteen and lacks the superior design of the rest of the hotel - sit outside if you can

Best time to go

We'd recommend low season (March-December) to avoid the crowds and the heat, though not in September when it's extremely windy. The hottest time is from December to February, when temperatures often reach the high 80sF and it can be humid with frequent short bursts of rain. This is also the busiest time of year (New Year is one big party) and the hectic pace of the surrounding beach and party life will either add to or detract from your experience. It can be quite cool from July to August (usually in the 70sF).

Our top tips

There's a 2- to 3-night minimum stay during special events and holidays and this would fit in perfectly as part of a longer trip to Brazil, with a few days spent in Rio too.

We'd recommend taking a boat trip along the Buziana coast, stopping off en route to swim. Boats leave from Praia da Armação and Ossos and take about 3 hours, finally delivering guests at Buziana restaurant for a seafood lunch.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Children of all ages are welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are six categories of rooms: Superior, Luxo, Junior Suite (which we're yet to see), Master Suite, Insolito Suite and Honeymoon Suite (also not seen personally by us). Kingsize beds are made up with top-quality white sheets and duvets, and the overall theme is calm: a wash of white, with splashes of bright colour or a pleasing pattern that tap into the Brazilian beach vibe... a striped rug here, a floral cushion there.

In keeping with the luxury brief, everything is top-of-the-range. Mattresses are by Sealy; robes by Trussardie; towels are Karsten Zero Twist Towels. You also get a plasma TV, DVD player and free WiFi. The interior designer's eye for detail, down to the delectable toiletries on the stunning glass-tiled sink panels (a different colour in every room) adds to the feeling of privilege. Bathrooms are equally stylish, with rainhead showers.

We liked the Luxo rooms, which have a private slice of garden, but our rooms of choice would be the Insolito Suites (if your budget will stretch to it). These have an outdoor Jacuzzi on the wraparound deck so you get a panoramic sea view as you soak. Inside you'll find a spacious living area, with a cocoon-shaped white leather sofa, a pre-loaded iPod and a smattering of cool art.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • DVD player
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

The food is delicious fusion - European with a Brazilian twist. The Galeria restaurant offers rooftop and indoor seating. For lunch and dinner, think catch of the day with sweet banana, lobster with quinoa risotto or rump of young bull with truffles and mashed olives. Follow this with a trio of chocolate mousses, vanilla crème brûlée or cupuaçu (a creamy Brazilian 'chocolate').

Lunch and snacks are available all day from the bar menu. Try a range of mouthwatering ice creams such as banana with yoghurt and caramel or a pineapple sorbet. The Eden Beach Lounge is a laid back alternative and serves a snacky menu from 11am until late.

Breakfast is a buffet of meats, cheese, homemade bread, croissants and fresh fruits followed by eggs or pancakes cooked to order - the chefs are incredibly friendly. Tea, coffee and four types of fresh juice are available to wash it down.

There’s a wealth of excellent eateries in town, one of our favourites is Bar do Ze, overlooking the Bardot beachfront serving imaginative risottos. We find that ‘Centro Gastronimico’ Porta da Barra, a 15-minute taxi drive away, offers less discovered bars and restaurants.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Amazingly, there are 26 beaches to explore around the peninsula- last time we visited there were 23, but hey, that’s inflation! Head to remote coves such as Forno or Azedinha to find your own slice of paradise (the hotel can prepare picnic lunches). The west coast beaches are calmest and the eastern beaches are best for watersports. Lagoa Azul is great for a sunset beer and a basic but tasty dish of seafood and rice (10 minutes' drive from Insolito)

  • Go diving at Ilha da Ancora or snorkelling at beaches João Fernandes and João Fernandinho, Lagoinha, Forno, Azeda and Azedinha to see turtles, barracuda and jewel-bright corals.

  • Explore Búzios town. By day, max out your Amex in the trendy boutiques on Rua das Pedras, stopping for a chocolate crêpe at the open-air Chez Michou en route. Then, as the sun goes down, have a caipirinha at Ponto or Anexo's, head for dinner at Bar do Ze then hit the clubs. Zapata is packed at the weekends, while Privilege is an all-night-long venue

  • Hire a mountain bike, go walking in the surrounding countryside, or play golf at the town’s 18-hole course

  • Back at the hotel, swim in one of the deep infinity pools (one freshwaster, one saltwater), have a private yoga class, experience the heavenly treatments of the hotel spa including Ayurvedic, hot stone and Shiatsu massages and tropical fruit facial.

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Nightlife
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Windsurfing
    • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome but there are no special amenities or extra beds. Over 14s are charged as adults.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

Location

Insolito is set 1km outside the fashionable coastal town of Armação de Búzios (usually known as just Búzios), 2.5 hours' drive from Rio de Janeiro along a good paved highway.

By Air:
Rio's Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (180km away) is served by many international airlines. Click on the links below for more information. Búzios Airport (15km away) is only served by private aircraft; the hotel can arrange charter flights from Rio or any other Brazilian city in a private Pilatus PC12 plane on request (enquire when booking).

From the Airport
It's a straightforward drive from Rio, but if you'd prefer the hotel can arrange a (pricey) transfer - see Rates. To be honest though, we found the journey by bus very easy (see below).

By Bus:
Local bus companies travel between Novo Rio Rodoviaria (the main bus station in Rio) and Búzios every 2 hours, and services are cheap and comfortable. From Búzios, you can take a local taxi to the hotel.

By Car:
If you want to hire a car please see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Brazil and getting around

Airports:

  • Rio de Janeiro Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International 180.0 km GIG
  • Búzios 15.0 km BZC

Other:

  • Beach 0.2 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

2/10
Room
10/10
Food
8/10
Service
6/10
Value
7/10
Overall

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Insolito

Check Availability