Rua Eupídio Alves do Nascimento, 104 Ganchos de Fora, Governador Celso Ramos / Santa Catarina, Brazil
Tucked in between picturesque fishing villages on Brazil’s Emerald Coast, Ponta dos Ganchos emits an ambiance of absolute relaxation. Surrounded by lush foliage that is home to toucans and iguanas, the resort is isolated on a private peninsula 25 miles from Florianopolis. From the plush lounge chairs that are strategically placed throughout the grounds you can watch colorful fishing boats float by or enjoy a massage at a seaside tent while listening to the surf crash against the rocks. However you choose to spend your time, a visit to Ponta dos Ganchos will leave your body rejuvenated and your soul serene.
© Ponta dos Ganchos Resort
Reached via car, boat or helicopter, Ponta dos Ganchos greets its guests in a small reception area before whisking them away via electric car to one of its ocean view bungalows, where a complimentary CD of Brazilian music welcomes you through the door. Once settled in, the beauty of the surroundings truly begins to sink in. The views over the turquoise blue waters are stunning, although mussel farms dotting the coast could be considered a slight intrusion on the otherwise pristine surroundings.
The 25 bungalows decorated in a rustic, yet contemporary style range in size and amenities, but all provide privacy and comfort. From the simple cabin-like Luxo accommodations featuring handmade hammocks on the wooden decks to the more elaborate Special Villas with Jacuzzis, dry saunas and private plunge pools, all accommodations are well–appointed and include luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, fireplaces, Wi–Fi Internet and flat–screen TVs. New in 2008, the resort added four larger Emerald Villa Bungalows and a Special Emerald Villa Bungalow—accommodations so lavish you’ll be tempted to stay inside throughout the length of your stay. With a private infinity pool that seems to flow into the ocean below, the Special Emerald Villa Bungalow is a splurge that includes a personal spa area with massage tatami mats as well as a dry sauna and small downstairs fitness room from which you can watch the sun set over the blue water. Although paying a steep price for the Special Emerald Villa Bungalow is tempting, the Emerald Villa Bungalow, without the private fitness center, and even the lower-tiered Villas offer similar amenities and a high–level of comfort at a more reasonable price tag.
When you do manage to pull yourself away from the magnetic surroundings of your room, the culinary offerings at Ponta dos Ganchos offer a good reason to wander. Meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in room rates and available at all hours to allow guests complete flexibility with daily schedules. At lunch and dinner in the thatched-roof beach restaurant, Chef Luis Salvajoli’s menu of seafood and local ingredients is enjoyed while listening to soft Brazilian music and the rolling of the ocean tide. The cuisine of fresh seafood and Brazilian-inspired dishes includes items such as grilled mussels with onion and basil and the popular prawns on pumpkin with rice. Recipes for the restaurant’s dishes are available for guests to take home, but you may have to ask a few times: a request for one to be delivered to my bungalow was not fulfilled. Along with the inventive combinations that will leave you anxious for the next meal, the dishes at Ponta dos Ganchos are made with organic vegetables grown on site or bought from local suppliers.
For the ultimate in romance and privacy, ask for the restaurant’s tasty cuisine to be delivered to your room or book a private dinner for two on the island that is connected to the resort via a candle-lit wooden bridge. If you don’t feel like tackling the property’s steep walkways on the way to meals—especially while staying at the Emerald Villas at the top of the hill— call for a golf cart to pick you up instead.
Although it is recommended to leave some space—in your schedule and your stomach—for lunch, the breakfast at Ponta dos Ganchos makes this a difficult task. Served indoors at the game room or on the deck overlooking the fishing village, breakfast is usually an elaborate tasting menu focused on the fresh ingredients of the day. From juice made with pineapple, coconut water and mint and a shot of kale, grape and lime to yogurt with Brazilian fruits and granola or a goat cheese herb omelet, the creative culinary selections offered each morning could satisfy even the most discerning palettes, but by day three could also leave you wishing for a more simple selection at breakfast. Thank goodness the accommodating staff is also willing to make breakfasts to order.
© Ponta dos Ganchos Resort
When you aren’t secluded in your bungalow or indulging in the imaginative cuisine, Ponta dos Ganchos has a variety of activities to keep you entertained and active. The small beach situated near the restaurant comfortably accommodates only about 20 or 30 guests, but the resort’s private island isn’t too far away and is dotted with additional lounge chairs during the day. Other amenities include the fitness center with two treadmills, exercise bikes, weights, and clay tennis courts. There is also a saltwater indoor heated swimming pool, but the sterile ambiance is better for workouts than relaxation. The hotel is also currently planning construction of an outdoor pool.
Although late night activities at Ponta dos Ganchos consists mainly of dinner and drinks, there is a billiards room and cinema with more than 300 slightly outdated DVDs that can also be enjoyed in the privacy of your bungalow. The property’s hiking trails with vistas over the water are also a great way to finish the day although they are more leisurely than challenging. The “Trilha do Casqueiro” and the “Veleza” trails take about 15 to 20 minutes each and allow for beautiful views over the peninsula as you walk among bamboo and eucalyptus trees. For the water sports aficionado, kayaks are available for trips around the peninsula along with sailing, diving and deep-sea fishing excursions. Scuba diving in the Marine Reserve of Arvoredo can also be arranged. For those looking to explore the nearby town, Ganchos, transportation can be arranged to shop for traditional crafts, such as handmade lace, dragnets and casting nets, bamboo wickerwork and home remedies.
Although there isn’t a full-service spa, the resort offers spa treatments with Christian Dior products in three tents situated at the end of one of the hiking trails. The tents’ location is not the most secluded, but the view overlooking the coastal waters is a great compliment to the reflexology, hot stone therapy and specialized massages provided.
While many aspects of Ponta dos Ganchos contribute to the exclusive atmosphere—including the fact that no guests under the age of 18 are allowed— the service provided at this magical getaway really goes the extra mile. With five staff members allotted to each room, the service is over the top without being intrusive. Unless otherwise instructed, rooms are visited several times each day—never when guests are present—to be restocked and tidied up and the nightly turndown service is strategically timed while guests are at dinner. When you do happen to encounter a staff member, they are incredibly gracious and always smiling. While the out-of-the-way location and amenities at Ponta dos Ganchos allows for the ultimate in secluded relaxation, the service only further enhances the experience. So for those looking to enter a state of complete serenity, Ponta dos Ganchos will truly do its best to help accomplish that goal.
Web Site: www.pontadosganchos.com.br
Total Number of rooms: 25 bungalows
Published rates: R$1,190.00 (US$631.467) to R$4,200.00 (US$2,228.71) (Meals and non-alcoholic beverages included in price)
Review by Giannina Smith Bedford, photos by author except where indicated.