Botanique Hotel & Spa, located in the spectacular Mantiqueira mountain range near Campos do Jordão, has raised the bar for luxury hospitality in Brazil and beyond since it launched in November 2012.
Developed by Brazilian entrepreneurs Ricardo and Fernanda Semler along with owner of Twin Farms Hotel David Cole and The Body Shop co-founder Gordon Roddick, the visionary project seamlessly blends Brazil’s topography, modernity and native customs with an über-luxurious hotel offering. Nowhere is this better exemplified than at the property’s groundbreaking spa, where a resolutely Brazilian approach to wellbeing - with a scientific twist - is put into practice.
Botanique Spa is the world’s first all-Brazilian spa and covers a staggering 10,000sq ft across two levels. A labour of love, the spa was designed in collaboration with the innovative Sao Paulo architects Colletivo de Arquitetos. The duo, who have achieved industry recognition for their ambitious architectural projects, were commissioned to create a spa that reflected Campos do Jordão’s history as a spiritual destination in Brazil. Perched atop a rolling hillside, the spa is decked throughout with the indigenous tropical hardwood itauba, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from floor to ceiling windows. Inside the main building there are eight treatment rooms - four for wet and four for dry treatments, a couple’s treatment room, three relaxation suites, wet and dry saunas and an indoor pool. In an adjoining building there is a doctor’s consultation office and a deluxe gym while outside there is a fitness pavilion and an isotonic pool, surrounded by a swimmable lake and a resting area overlooking a forested valley.
The impressive spa facilities house a range of treatments and products that were developed from scratch with the support of local geologists and science professors.
Signature treatments embrace both ancient native Indian healing practices and afro-Brazilian relaxation rituals and fuse them with the country’s love of state-of-the-art beauty techniques. Music and water also play a large role in the therapies on offer at the spa.
Each of the eight treatment suites offers clients a unique experience that is in keeping with this culture. The wet treatment suites comprise of a flotation pool, a Co2 bath, a milk bath and a thermal bath. The Flotation Pool treatment integrates a pool with a cinema projection system installed above water level to project calming nature films onto the ceiling. The imagery combined with the gentle sound of underwater music induces a blissful sensory experience and prepares the newly relaxed muscles for a more effective massage. The Co2 Bath - a variation of the Nauheim bath – incorporates bicarbonate and a blend of relaxing essential oils that dissolve in the salt bath to produce carbon dioxide, lowering blood pressure and penetrating the epidermis for better absorption of the oils.
The Milk Bath is indulgent enough for Cleopatra herself with clients benefiting from the rehydrating properties of 10 litres of fresh organic milk infused with freshly ground brazil nut, coffee beans and ground bird seed. The Thermal 39° Bath includes a composition of minerals; sodium and residual sulphur to mimic the properties of local mineral fountains traditionally used as thermal waters.
There are also two customised saunas at Botanique Spa. The innovative Rainforest Exposure integrates a humid 46° sauna with a soft ‘rain shower’ experience. The client lies face down on a stone bed while warm mineral water falls from the entire ceiling to refresh and revitalise at two-minute intervals. The fragrance of the surrounding Atlantic Rainforest is captured with an essential oil blend handmade at the spa. The Sauna For One follows on the Brazilian custom of eschewing collective saunas for a liberating solo experience. Clients can take in the wondrous valley view through a glass wall from a contemporary wooden chaise longue.
The isotonic pool is framed by glass to create the illusion of hanging off the edge of the mountain ridge. The pool creates symmetry between the client and the water with the pool maintained at 35°c body temperature and containing the same mineral salts and elements found in the human body. Water jets and a system with compressed air generate bubbles to simulate the speed and movement of a heartbeat for complete muscle relaxation and a sense of tranquility. The final effect is one where the client is no longer aware of the water around them and feels at one with their environment. The hard part is getting out of the pool!
The remaining four treatment rooms are for dry treatments, which include massages and thermal facials such as Fango therapy. On arriving at the spa, guests work with therapists to choose from 28 local essential oils to be used in a bespoke treatment. Each massage starts with a Lirios do Campo foot soaking and foot massage and is finished with local mineral-rich clay to leave the skin cleansed and invigorated.
Customised journeys in the spa can last between 3 to 5 hours and are always tailored to the client’s individual needs.
The exclusive spa product range consists of ten organically formulated products, which are available to buy at the Botanique shop. The signature Botanique scent is used throughout the line and has been developed according to the principles of aromachology. The scent encapsulates the surrounding environment with citrus top notes of lemon; bergamot and verbena, blended with orange blossom, jasmine and lavender for their warming and comforting properties. Base notes of vertiver and cedar instill peace and a sense of renewal.Botanique Spa also boasts a highly qualified team of therapists, physiotherapists and doctors. The lead doctor worked with the Brazilian football team for over 25 years and is now Head of Physiology at Brazil's foremost medical school. Clients staying at Botanique for a week or more will receive a personal DNA study ahead of their arrival at the hotel so that the spa team is better equipped to prepare personalized exercise and spa programmes. For more information www.botanique.com.br