In its perfectly pink glory and decadent Portuguese colonial-style façade, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is a true oasis—and a luxurious one at that.
My stay at the 1958-built hotel was a hesitant one—was it really worth the staggering nightly rate? A few nights at the resort was equivalent to my accommodation budget for my entire solo trip to Brazil.
Yet unable to resist the appeal of exclusive access to Brazil’s Iguazu Falls National Park after-hours and the opportunity to stay in a real-life pink palace (my friends were calling me Barbie long before the blockbuster movie was conceptualized), I found myself closing my eyes and pressing “book” as I waited to board my flight from New York to Brazil.
Thank goodness I did. My entire stay at Hotel das Cataratas was one of the three clearly defined moments of bliss I experienced during my time in Brazil—a rarity if not a one-time feat for a type-A, anxious workaholic like myself. I can’t even remember the last time I experienced true relaxation before my time in Brazil and certainly haven’t experienced it since.
Stepping onto the property, I was greeted with a level of service many only dream of, lush gardens filled with orchids and tropical fruit trees, tapirs and exotic birds roaming the courtyards, and a hotel like no other I’d ever laid eyes on.
A stay at the Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, Iguassu Falls, isn’t for everyone (ahem, budget travelers), but for those curious about the opulent yet understated world of Belmond hotels and resorts, Brazil’s most coveted hotel is a destination in and of itself.
This Belmond Hotel das Cataratas review will cover the good, bad, and kind of just okay aspects of this legacy property.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Location
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel located in Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls National Park) in Brazil.
Within the park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is positioned across from the trail entrance that leads to the Devil’s Throat observation bridge. A shuttle bus stop is also located here, where tourists spill out daily to catch a glimpse of the massive waterfalls.
The hotel’s unique location grants guests the exclusive opportunity to visit Iguazu Falls outside of park visitor hours (9 am to 5 pm) for the chance to have the site all to yourself. I visited at sunrise and sunset well before and after the park closed its doors to outside guests—standing on the Devil’s Throat catwalk and experiencing the scale and roar of the falls without anyone else around was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How to Get to Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, Iguassu Falls
Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) is the closest airport to Belmond Hotel das Cataratas. Direct flights to the airport are available from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Maceió, and Recife in Brazil, as well as from Santiago, Chile.
The ordinary airport taxi isn’t allowed to drive through the Iguazu Falls national park—cars aren’t allowed on the property in an effort to protect the land.
If you book your own transportation to the park, you’ll be dropped off at the park’s gate and then picked up by a shuttle to take you the rest of the way.
Of course, Hotel das Cataratas understands that the hassle of switching vehicles isn’t appealing to everyone. Alternatively, the Hotel das Cataratas can arrange a private transfer to take you the whole way from the airport to the hotel—the only vehicles allowed to do so.
Private transfers from IGU to Hotel das Cataratas are R$190 ($38 USD) each way.
Old fashioned isn’t an insult. It’s a way of life at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas and a welcome one at that.
Hotel das Cataratas’ 193 rooms are clad in dark, softwood colonial furniture accented by curtains of textiles covered in local flora that would look dated elsewhere (though they could be refreshed). Here, they fit in, carrying an air of glamour akin to Palm Beach in the 1950s.
Rooms are snug—too small for a hotel of this price—but what they lack in size, they make up for in comfort. Sinking into the ultra-plush mattress and plump pillows, I slept like a baby, surrounded by 600-thread count Egyptian cotton linens by Trussardi—I hadn’t slept so well during my entire time in Brazil.
A tray of carefully considered wellness amenities sits on the room’s small table honoring local ingredients through bath salts, soap, natural loofahs, Yerba Mate tea, and the like.
Portuguese tile lines the bathroom, stocked with toiletries from Granado, the oldest apothecary in Brazil. Hanging are fluffy, thick towels that I’m still trying to track down for my apartment. Outside of the bathroom is a complementary pair of Havaianas (Brazil’s unofficial national footwear)—yours to use around the pool and to take when you leave.
Rooms and suites at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas are available with views of the waterfalls, the jungle, the garden, or the pool. Natural sunlight streamed into my garden room during the day, a welcome change from my dark, cavelike apartment in New York. The odd maintenance staff member walking past my room outside occasionally did spoil my seclusion, but this is the plight of a ground room floor.
Despite the hotel’s traditional approach, entertainment in the room is a moment of welcome modern luxury. Smart TVs allow international guests to view shows and movies from their favorite streaming services or watch content on YouTube. In-room safes are big enough to squeeze a 16” Macbook Pro inside of them.
My room was kept immaculately throughout my stay—shoes returned to the closet, charging cables wrapped and tied with pink ribbons, and stray clothing folded and set aside.
Housekeeping at Hotel das Cataratas walks the line between standard hotel turnover and uncomfortably invasive in a way that respects guests’ need for discretion while upholding the resort’s commitment to luxury service
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Amenities
Hotel das Cataratas is a hotel with resort-level amenities. It includes all the trappings of any good luxury hotel—laundry service, 24-hour room service, and a spa, among others—and a few more interesting (and lesser-mentioned) benefits, like exotic bird watching. Free WiFi, available across the resort, is reliable and strong.
Those interested in a guided exploration of the region can book boat tours, helicopter rides, adventure sports, and walking tours through the resort’s concierge, whose offering is mindful of the exclusive access guests receive for the park—some of the tours aren’t available to those not staying at the property.
From 9 am to 7 pm, a large heated swimming pool, complete with a pool bar, invites guests for a plunge even in cooler winter months. Younger guests aren’t left out—a shallow children’s pool rests next to it.
The moment I approached the pool’s tan chaise lounges, an attendant was already on his way with a towel, offering to adjust the chair and bring anything else I could need for an hour of sun.
The hotel’s fitness center overlooks the pool. Open 24 hours a day, fruit, water, and docking stations are available for guests using the cardio equipment, free weights, and machines in the gym. It’s small and simple but includes all the basics for a good workout.
If the monotony of the gym sounds like a bore on vacation, reserve space at Hotel das Cataratas’ tennis court, set within the property’s gardens. Staff can provide equipment for use if you’re not traveling with your racket.
Join a friend for a game of giant chess located steps away from Ipê, the hotel’s poolside restaurant, or get up close with local wildlife in the late afternoon as exotic birds fly around the property. Inside the lodge, fireplaces warm up common spaces in the winter, where pool tables and board games bring together friends and families.
A handful of shops lining the hotel’s courtyard sell souvenirs, including many of the in-room toiletries and locally designed goods.
Bars and Restaurants at Hotel das Cataratas
Wanting to make the most of my stay at Hotel das Cataratas, I tried each dining option on the property.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has one full bar, two restaurants, and a pool bar for guests to enjoy. Each of the property’s dining experiences leverages local ingredients and spirits.
Bar Tarobá, open daily from 11 am to 11 pm, was a welcome introduction to Hotel das Cataratas’ dining scene after a stressful travel day.
Covered in dark wood with dim lighting, live music, and cushy seating, the cocktail bar emulates a salon in a fabulous mansion.
Bar Tarobá offers an extensive beverage program of signature cocktails, champagne cocktails, Brazilian drinks, classic cocktails, gin cocktails, and cocktails inspired by local birds, created by bar manager Nacir Zandoná. Mocktails are available for those who are alcohol-free.
I couldn’t resist trying the Guacho (Açaí liquor, lime juice, ginger syrup and foam) and Tucano (Brazilian gin, green apple syrup, orange juice, ginger foam, and pitanga syrup) during my stay, but it was the potent, fruity Caipirnha Onçe Pintada (Cachaça, tangerina, maracujá e açúcar Cachaça, tangerine, passion fruit and sugar) that I loved most. 10% of proceeds from the cocktail supports the Onças do Iguaçu project, which works to conserve local wildlife.
Don’t skip Bar Tarobá’s premium cachaça selection or its food. Bartenders are happy to help you select a cachaça from the robust list, even if you’re not going for a formal tasting.
I preferred Bar Tarobá’s tapas-style bar bites to Hotel das Cataratas’ fine dining restaurant, Itaipu. Crispy fried cheese was brightened by guava jam as curly plantain chips adorned a vegan ceviche that I called dinner.
Bar staff is chatty and friendly, making a monumental effort to practice their English in light of my embarrassing Portuguese. They provided tips for navigating the hotel and called out under-the-radar activities worth going to, sending me on my way with wooden stir sticks topped with hand-carved birds replicating those that can be found flying around the property.
The only restaurant with views of Iguazu Falls, Itaipu Restaurant explores local culture and region history through Brazilian-international fine dining.
Reservations are strongly encouraged by hotel staff, which can be made for the indoor dining room or, in warmer months, for the shaded veranda outdoors that overlooks Iguazu Falls.
Itaipu Restaurant is open for dinner daily from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. During my 7:45 pm reservation, only one other party arrived to dine—I nearly had the restaurant to myself.
I ordered Pupunha palm heart spaghetti with eggplant ragout, a plant-based approach to traditional spaghetti and one of the restaurant’s only vegetarian options at the time (toasted cauliflower with tahini sauce, onion pickles and pistachio and artichoke ravioli al limone sauce are now also available as vegetarian entrées).
My meal ended with a small, sweet confection provided by the restaurant.
Waitstaff at Itaipu Restaurant is attentive and friendly—I was never left to do the dance of trying to wave down a waiter who hardly existed.
Almost every guest at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas will dine at Ipê, the property’s Brazilian-Italian restaurant. The bright restaurant is soaked in sun during the day when complimentary breakfast and an à la carte lunch are served to guests.
I still dream about Hotel das Cataratas’ breakfast—one of the best complimentary breakfasts of any hotel I’ve visited worldwide, and the only one with free-flowing champagne and five different fresh-pressed juice options for mimosa-making.
Traditional Brazilian tapioca is served at breakfast, along with a pancake bar, egg station, wide selection of pastries, and toast station featuring the usual suspects like avocado and caprese.
On Saturdays, Ipê’s classic Brazilian feijoada on Saturdays is a guest favorite, served alongside an international buffet. A roast is served on Sundays in its place.
Main dishes offered throughout the week are a selection of familiar favorites like hamburgers and pizza, to more sophisticated plates including vegan churrasco, grilled salmon, spaghetti nero, and ribeye steak.
Sit on Ipê’s patio overlooking the pool to dine with the property’s birds and tapirs, or stay inside the main dining room’s paneled panoramic windows.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Room Service
24-hour room service is available at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas with separate menus for breakfast and all-day dining.
Pricing is in line with that at Ipê, and though some plates are room service-exclusive, the in-room menu is similar to that of the Brazilian-Italian fusion restaurant, spanning a selection of sandwiches, pasta, fish, and steak.
I ordered room service on the last night of my stay, opting for a side of fries and a cocktail (no matter where I am in the world, my love of potatoes prevails). I wasn’t expecting the heaping bowl of fries that arrived
Special and Private Dining Experiences
Hotel das Cataratas’ picturesque colonial property sets the stage for ample elevated dining experiences. Though pricey—whether they’re worth it is up for debate—these experiences are certainly scenic and special.
Have a drink at sunset with a picnic on the hotel’s lawn, or sneak away to the recently repainted iconic tower for a private sunset dinner overlooking Iguazu Falls from the highest point in the national park.
Gastronomy enthusiasts can enjoy a five-course meal in the gazebo, while wine aficionados can cozy up by the fire with a blanket and bottle of Terrazas wine during winter months.
Pricing for premium dining experiences at Hotel das Cataratas is as follows:
- Sunset cocktails on the lawn: R$1040 ($210 USD) for two people with a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne and canapes, R$460 ($93 USD) for two people with a bottle of house sparkling wine and canapes
- Cocktail hour in the tower: $1460 ($295 USD) for two people with a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne and canapes
- Family picnic: R$450 ($91 USD) per person over 12 years old, R$225 ($45 USD) per child aged seven to 12. Children six years old and under are free
- Picnic at sunset: R$970 ($196 USD) per person with Moët & Chandon champagne, R$520 ($105 USD) per person with house sparkling wine. Minimum of two people required
- Afternoon tea: R$265 ($54 USD) per person over 12 years old, R$95 ($19 USD) per child aged seven to 12 years old. Children six years old and under are free. Minimum two people required
- Cachaça experience: R$195 to R$550 ($39 to $111 USD) per person, depending on the program
- Paraná wine tasting: R$350 ($71 USD) per person. Minimum of two people
- Terrazas experience: R$560 ($113 USD) for two people with a choice of Terrazas Chardonnay Reserva or Terrazas Malbec Reserva wine. R$860 ($174 USD) for two people with a choice of Terrazas Chardonnay Grand Reserva or Terrazas Malbec Grand Reserva wine
- The gazebo: R$620 ($125 USD) per person for dinner only, R$820 ($166 USD) per person with wine pairing. A minimum of two people is required. Children not permitted
Staff and Service
I can—and will—sing exhaustive praises about the staff in this Belmond Hotel das Cataratas review. It’s the staff’s carefully choreographed service that made my stay at Hotel das Cataratas so obscenely luxurious, with a quiet, modest approach that truly embodied a sense of home.
Phenomenal service started the moment I stepped into my private transfer from IGU airport. After a quick drive through the park to the hotel, a bellhop greeted me, subtly alerting front desk staff to my arrival.
After being whisked to the front desk as my bags were being handled, I was handed a welcome drink as I approached the front desk, which had all of my check-in documents waiting for me.
Exemplary service continued throughout my stay, from the meticulous detail housekeeping paid to my room to the in-room surprises, friendly waitstaff, attentive pool staff, and eager-to-assist concierge.
When I checked out in the early hours of the morning (unfortunately unable to catch another indulgent breakfast spread), staff had a small continental breakfast waiting for me and a few snacks to go, wrapping up my stay with another thoughtful gesture.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the type of property where staff remembers names and preferences, even if you’re only there for a single night’s stay.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Review: Pros
Combined, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas pros paint a full picture of the level of luxury this exclusive hotel offers.
- Exclusive access to Iguazu Falls outside of visitor hours
- Convenient way to experience the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls
- Comfortable beds
- Robust complimentary breakfast
- Wide variety of amenities available throughout all seasons
- High-quality in-room toiletries and amenities
- Exemplary service
- Foz do Iguaçu’s best restaurants and bars
- Seamless integration of local culture, wildlife, spirits, and flavors
- One-of-a-kind destination hotel
- Wildlife viewing is possible within the resort
- Plenty of English-speaking staff members
- 24-hour reception and security
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Review: Cons
This wouldn’t be an honest Belmond Hotel das Cataratas review without a few areas of improvement. There isn’t much Hotel das Cataratas needs to (or should) change, but these cons could use some work.
- Itaipu Restaurant’s quality doesn’t live up to its pricing
- Rooms are on the small side
- Housekeeping could be better alerted to guest movements
- Room interiors need mild updating
Room Rates at Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, Iguassu Falls
Lounging in luxury at Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, isn’t for the faint of wallet. Throughout the year, room rates for the hotel’s basic room types range from $500 USD to upwards of $1,000 USD per night.
Hotel guests no longer need to pay an admission fee for the national park at checkout—it’s now included in the nightly rate.
A service charge, city tax, and tourism tax are charged, but notably, no heinous resort fee exists for the property.
What to do Nearby
There are plenty of ways to spend the day at Hotel das Cataratas. Consider the following nearby activities at Iguazu Falls:
- Walk the waterfall trail across the street from Hotel das Cataratas to the Devil’s Throat observation bridge
- Take a speedboat tour to get up close and personal with Iguazu Falls
- Hop on a bus to Puerto Iguazú to visit the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls
- Go birdwatching a Parque das Aves in Foz do Iguaçu
- Head up the river for rafting experiences
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Review: The Bottom Line
Was my stay at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas worth it?
A resounding yes—my stay at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas was worth every penny, despite costing a lot of them.
If you can afford the luxury, there’s simply no other place to stay on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. Hotel das Cataratas is a no-brainer.
Service, design, and location come together for a fabulous stay that’s unparalleled by any other property in the region and, frankly, most of Brazil (though the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro might disagree).
The only thing I’d change about my stay at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is the length—it was over all too fast. This hotel is a daydream—a moment of bliss—that’s stuck with me for months past my stay. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a property that moved me so much, and it will likely be a while before one does again.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas: FAQ
Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, Iguassu Falls, has accessible rooms on the ground floor that have been modified with assistance features like bathroom handrails for disabled guests.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is family-friendly, offering a kids’ club and a shallow pool. Use of the kids’ club is free for children under eight—older children require an additional day fee.
Hotel das Cataratas has shuttles that take guests between the gate of the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls National Park) and the hotel. Alternatively, guests can arrange a private transfer between IGU airport and the hotel that will take them directly to the front of the hotel.
Guests staying at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas no longer need to pay the Iguazu Falls National Park admission fee in addition to their room rate. Park fees are included in the hotel’s nightly rate and should not be purchased separately.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Review: Pin It
Planning a trip to Iguazu Falls? Pin one of the images below to save this Belmond Hotel das Cataratas review for itinerary planning later.
Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.