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The Globe and Mail

Brazil’s exclusive Botanique hotel puts a less-is-more spin on luxe

Think luxury hotels are so yesterday? Get ready for "post-luxury" in buzzworthy Brazil.Botanique Hotel and Spa is the brainchild of entrepreneurs David Cole (AOL), Gordon Roddick (The Body Shop) and Brazilian author and businessman Ricardo Semler. Opening Nov. 1, it's sure to be a teaser to the tidal wave of attention on the nation's hospitality as Brazil prepares for the Rio Olympics in 2016. The first all-Brazilian hotel of its kind, Botanique will showcase the best of local design, culture, cuisine and experiences, embracing a local Latin approach in a region dominated by European-style hotels. More than that, it's putting a less-is-more spin on luxe: Instead of a wine cellar with thousands of bottles, Botanique offers a cache of 200 rare, cult Brazilian labels. Instead of outsourced pony rides, onsite private stables house Olympic-calibre horses. Personal butlers are being replaced by a Curador da Experiencias, one of 15 highly trained experts who will oversee all the details of your stay (instead of directing guests to different departments).

The location is one of Botanique's biggest draws. It's nestled in the scenic hills of Campos do Jordao, two hours north of Sao Paulo, in the heart of an area locals call the "Hamptons of Brazil." Heralded as the world's best climate at the Davos Climatology Conference, the region is a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts with an appetite for hiking, mountaineering, golf, hang-gliding, equestrian pursuits and falconry.

Botanique spreads out over 280 hectares and offers guaranteed exclusivity: The property has only 11 private villas and six suites (all named after famous botanists), done in a striking modern design. Inside find locally sourced chocolate slate and soaring glass walls accented with wooden beams reclaimed from 220-year-old farms in Minas Gerais. A library holds hundreds of contemporary classics by Brazilian authors, there's a culinary school (feijoada stew, anyone?), a private cinema and a 10,000-square-foot all-Brazilian spa offering signature treatments such as native healing and relaxation rituals (though if you're keen on a bracing Brazilian wax, that can surely be arranged). The best part? Sweet silence. The hotel has implemented a one-kilometre, non-motorized-vehicle perimeter – golf carts only from the moment you arrive at the gate.

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Daily rates start at $1,205 ($2,500 BRL) a night. Rate includes meals, beverages, Brazilian wines and wine tastings, minibar, all activities and experiences, gratuities and laundry (

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