From above, it's hard to spot the five new Emerald Villas at Ponta dos Ganchos (repeatedly voted one of the world’s most romantic resorts). Tucked on a hillside over the ocean, their green roofs — decked with local plants and frequented by butterflies — blend seamlessly into the surrounding rainforest.
The world-famous beaches and urban vibe of hip Florianopolis are 45 minutes from Ponta dos Ganchos by car. But a short three-minute walk from the villas, you’ll find the resort’s own white-sand cove with small private island, shallow swimming area, main restaurant and beach bar (try the refreshing Beer Caipirinha). There is also a wellbeing centre made up of three beach tents (one of which is the only Spa by Christian Dior in the Americas) that offers mind-numbingly good massages to the soundtrack of the ocean waves.
Décor for the older villas tends more towards classic Caribbean beachhouse, while the new Emerald Villas feel very Brazil-meets-Japan chic, with shoji-screen style ceilings and local-wood floors and walls. Each Emerald Villa comes with it’s own private indoor spa area with whirlpool, relaxation loungers and sauna — all with views of the Atlantic. Twin rainfall showers, huge bed-sized sofas and wide terrace with plunge pool add to the luxury.
The resort could do with a better indoor swimming pool, but the shallow private cove and surprisingly warm Atlantic waters more than makes up for this. Besides, when you can spot the dolphins, hummingbirds and postcard-cute fishing boats from your terrace, chances are you won’t want to set foot outside your villa.
Luxo Villas from BRL1,190, full board; Emerald Villas from BR2,880, full board (+55 48 3953 7046 or 0808 234 8680 from the UK, pontadosganchos.com). Journey Latin America offers a tailor-made eight-night break,including three nights in Rio de Janeiro and three nights at Ponta dos Ganchos beach resort from £2,081 per person, with full board at Ponta dos Ganchos, breakfast in Rio, airport transfers and British Airways flights from London to Rio and internal flights to Florianopolis (+44 (0)20 8747 8315, journeylatinamerica.co.uk).