If you want to stay in the Iguassu Falls National Park straddling the countries of Brasil and Argentina, you only have two choices in terms of hotels. There is the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas on the Brasil side or the Sheraton Iguazu Resort on the Argentinian side.
I chose the Hotel das Cataratas because I was on the Brasil side anyway. It is also looked much prettier than its counterpart.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
The Hotel das Cataratas is a pinky frothy confection set against the piercing South American blue sky. Every time I saw the front of the building, I was reminded of a Sweet Sixteen birthday cake. The hotel is u-shaped with a courtyard in the back which leads to the breakfast room and the swimming pool.
Spread out over two wings, the hotel did not feel massive because the interiors were furnished as if it were a grand home. The interior decor is plush – lots of dark Brasilian wood, oil paintings and Portuguese tiles. Think Portuguese colonial meets junior South American dictator.
Adding to the look were the maids in their black French maid uniforms with the ruffled aprons worn somewhat short and sassy. NO ONE is going to make a Brasilian lady look frumpy.
The guest rooms are compact but nicely furnished with hardwood floors, more Portuguese tiles and comfortable beds. You get complimentary Havaianas which I found amusing considering how much the rooms cost.
The tower at the Hotel is the highest point in the Iguassu Falls park. It has great views especially at sunset.
The location of the Hotel das Cataratas can not be beat. You step out the front door and are greeted by the thunder of Iguassu Falls in front of you. In the evenings, the front portico is the place to have drinks if you want to see the sun set over the falls. I don’t think many of the 190+ rooms have a view though.
Staying at the hotel, you can wander the park grounds before and after the official visiting hours. I really enjoyed my morning walk with the guide from Iguassu Experiences (the official concierge service of the hotel).
Setting out at 8:30 AM, our small group of 5 people had the entire trail to ourselves until the tourists started trickling into the park an hour later. Having gone to the Argentinian side of Iguassu Falls during regular park hours and experienced the tourist hordes, I was really appreciative of the peace and solitude while viewing the Brasilian side.
I availed myself of the Hotel das Cataratas spa which is in the basement of the building. In fact, it was so nice I went twice! The body wrap and massage were excellent – among the best I’ve ever had. (I’ve had a fair few spa treatments in hotel spas in case you are wondering). The pool was nice and never particularly crowded.
The breakfast buffet every morning is held at the pool restaurant. Breakfast is included in the room rate. It’s a fairly grand affair with champagne, hot and cold buffet and an omelette station.
There are various dining options – handy because you are really are stuck without any other options once you are at the hotel. Reservations are needed at the main posh restaurant. The lobby bar and the pool restaurant also serve dinner. I thought the food was excellent as were the caipirinhas.
The Hotel is rated five stars and I did not find anything to fault. If I were to nitpick, I would suggest that they allow families of four (2 adults, 2 children) to stay in one room instead of adjoining rooms. The maximum occupancy per room is 3 people. If the twins were younger, there is no way they would stay in their own room even if it was a connecting room.
The Sheraton Iguazu Resort
Although I didn’t stay at the Sheraton Iguazu Resort on the Argentinean side of Iguassu Falls, I had lunch at the hotel on the day I visited the Argentinean portion of the falls. My lunch was excellent (an eggplant parmigiana cooked to perfection). The front desk and the dining area have floor to ceiling glass windows which make the most of the view.
The Sheraton is definitely a 1970’s relic from the outside. The interior decor does not seem to have changed much either. Unlike the Hotel das Cataratas, it seemed many more of the Sheraton rooms had balconies overlooking Iguassu Falls.
The Belmond Hotel das Cataratas or the Sheraton Iguazu?
Frankly, you can’t go wrong with either hotel. The Sheraton is perfectly nice, especially if you are a Starwood Group member. I loved the charm and service of Hotel das Cataratas though. Even with the loss of Starwood points, I am glad I choose Hotel das Cataratas.
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