In the Vale do Cafe about three hours from Rio de janeiro city, but in Rio de janeiro state is the entirely unremarkable city of Engenheiro Paulo de Frontin. In the region are many old estates that were bult when Rio was a center of coffee cultivation, and there are lots of hiking, watersports and other outdoor activities in the area, making it a very popular rural weekend destination for refugees from the hectic city.
A few years ago Jos P Boomgaardt, winner of two Michelin stars in his native Holland, discovered his Brazilian partner Cleiton Souto de Almeida and they together found an old coffee mansion and restored it. Until a year or so they had only their own hydropower but they now have public power.
With a culinary tradition that merges many favors of Thailand, one of Mr. Boomgaardt's haunts, with those of Brazil and Europe the tastes are magnificent. The house, grounds and rooms are delightful too.
Mrs jbcarioca and i discovered this place quite by accident when we were visiting friends in Miguel Pereira, another city in the region.
This region is delightful to visit and has many nice hotels and restaurants but the entire region is rural so there are distances between things. To visit you need a car and a GPS is a very good idea.
I am sure other people will have other views. We are very impressed by Les 4 Saisons. From a FlerTalk perspective he has a few KLM houses also. Being Dutch that would seem to be a requirement.