Nestled in the verdant hills of São Paulo between the historic villages of São Francisco Xavier and Montero Lobato, the four eucalyptus wood chalets of Pousada Teto do Cafundo provide an idyllic retreat for the stressed-out city set and for travelers seeking a taste of Brazil that differs from sandy beaches and samba bars.
Opened in February by former agronomists Renato Nivoloni and his wife, Tatiana Gonsalvis, Pousada offers individually tailored hospitality, with locally sourced gourmet food, water from the nearby waterfalls and uninterrupted views of the sprawling hills. “In a busy life, one ends up trampling important moments. Here you have time for time,” Nivoloni says.
Opening a pousada (Portuguese for a country or seaside family-run establishment) was the couple’s dream since they met. They wanted to live amid nature and share their passions with guests as well as friends and family. Their work ethic and commitment to their first project of this kind (it took them six years to build Pousada to their specifications) are fueled by their desire to help people unwind. Each 918-square-foot chalet with terrace boasts three distinct areas—a master bedroom, a Jacuzzi-equipped bathroom and a living room with high-tech gadgets and a wine bar.
The chalets and dining room are decorated with artifacts from all over the country. Since they began planning Pousada in 2001, Nivoloni and Gonsalvis have been collecting pieces on their travels. To add to the individual feel of each space, the owners commissioned emerging contemporary Brazilian artists to create canvasses that now take pride of place in the communal areas and the rooms.
Guests are masters of their own time—no check-in or checkout times, and no set mealtimes. Regardless of the clock, in fact, Nivoloni will cook up any dish on the menu to satisfy any hunger pangs.
Nivoloni’s menu consists of a mix of Brazilian and European cuisine. Recipes stem from traditional European dishes, complemented by thoroughly Brazilian ingredients. A must on the menu is an organic local beef filet, served with a handpicked mixed mushroom-and–red wine sauce.
The pair is planning to enlarge Pousada by adding another chalet, a swimming pool and a spa, to be completed by June—all of which will only add to the timeless atmosphere. “Our main pleasure is to receive people and get joy from their relaxation,” Nivoloni adds.