If you read a lot of travel magazines, you’ll note that they have an annoying tendency to lavish praise on hotels that nobody from the magazine has ever set foot in. Often it’s because the place hasn’t even been built yet. Take Condé Nast Traveler for instance, a magazine that drooled about a Brazilian hotel called Warapuru in its 2007 “It” List article.

But now word is out, with a new resort called Warapuru set to open by October. Portuguese hotelier João Vaz Guedes, with the help of designer Anouska Hempel (of the Hempel and Blakes in London), is turning the sleepy enclave—about 800 miles from Rio—into an eco-fabulous showcase: 40 pavilion rooms nestled into the virgin rain forest with reflecting pools, floating fireplaces, an all-white travertine lobby, and a terraced beach club and spa with phenomenal views of the sea. It’s sited sensitively enough to satisfy the environmentally anxious, but is sufficiently high-octane for the jet-setters—who can swoop in to the private heliport and, if they like the place enough, buy a customized villa all their own.

Has anyone from the editorial team been there to verify any of this? Of course not, because the place is barely more than a gleam in anyone’s eye at this point. To even call it a construction zone would be premature. The magazine said it would open late this year. We’ll see.

Unfortunately, this is common practice in the travel mag world. Two months ago I read a review of a South African hotel that had two major directional errors in a story that was less than 300 words long. The person writing it had obviously never even been to Johannesburg, much less that hotel. Probably an intern rewriting a press release.
Meanwhile, all of the reviews you read in Luxury Latin America are written by travel writers who have not only stepped into a finished hotel, but have put it through its paces to see how it stacks up. They don’t write cutesy stories based on a hyped-up press release just so they can call the place “hot” or “it.” When you want a real luxury hotel in Latin America, one that you can really spend the night in, check our reviews to see how they stack up.
I must say we don’t have Brazil done yet, but when we do a real expert will cover the country in person. If Warapuru is more than a mirage by then, we’ll see if the real thing lives up to the virtual promises.

(Thanks to HotelChatter for being on the case and bringing this one to light.)