First and foremost: Guarujá is not a beach I would recommend to someone going to Brazil.
Guarujá was fancy and fun on the 1990s. Then it got too crowded – and not with the people you’d like to hang out with. Still, the beaches are pretty gorgeous if your eyes can get past the sea of umbrellas (and the ugly people under it).
The biggest advantage is that it is one of the closest beaches from Sao Paulo: it took us a little less than two hours to get from our place in Pinheiros, a central neighborhood in the capital, to Jequitimar’s driveway.
If it weren’t for the neighboring mall we would probably have missed it. Sofitel Jequitimar is a fancy hotel among a badly cared area – again, an area that was considered upscale on the 1990s but lost its glitter with time. Even the mall didn’t seem that great from the street view, although this perception changed later on. It was a great little plaza with every single thing we needed or wanted, from grocery store to sushi shop to beer stop with live music.
The Cinderella magic starts upon entering the lobby. A beautiful reflecting pool is the centrepiece, running from check in through outside, all the way to the beach entrance and having the ocean as its natural postcard background. Kids (and adults dealing with the swealtering heat as well) will be tempted getting in, and I wonder how many have embarrassingly done it. To the right, a bit of a line up to check in made me compare the room price to some of the fanciest hotels I have been. It was just as expensive, but perhaps the lack of 5-star properties nearby will have to make us be more accepting of small slipups.
On the bright side, the place is a heaven for babies, kids and new parents looking for understanding. Beside the good crib (with fitted and regular sheets covered mattress, just like a proper bed) and the plus of an infant bathtub left setup in our room, a “baby bottle kitchen” was available on the upper floor. If you travel with bottle-fed babies, you know how uncivilized washing bottles in a hotel bathroom can be. This mommys’ pantry had filtered water, dish detergent, and paper towel to help you getting your bottles almost sparkling. They also had high chairs available.
Talking about high chairs, the whole resort experience is focused on elevating kids and helping parents. At breakfast, my 1 year-old loved the eggs, the cheese bread, the fruits, the cakes, and the list goes on. Better than that? Staff were not upset about the mess she made doing her food throwing show.
The Kids Club program is given at check in, and there’s an app for that, but the important thing you should know is that, if your kids are over 3 years old, you can leave them with the recreation monitors and go live your life – knowing that they are having more fun there then if they were with you! For infants and toddlers, caregivers can use the fully equipped baby area, with educative toys, baby wipes, breastfeeding chairs and all the shenanigan, sponsored by reputable brand Chicco. And, for the grand finale: you too mom of a young child (under 3) can leave your baby with a sitter, being one hour a day free and then $200brl for 4 hours or $400 for 8h.
As per hotel common areas, there is a huge pool, fitness centre, spa, yoga on lawn, etc etc. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s all great, nothing spectacular.
What’s my mission with this post? Tell you to go there if you’re looking for a beach resort, near Sao Paulo, and a place your kids can have fun – and therefore you too. Believe me, I used to be an adults-only kind of traveler, but after baby and after Jequitimar? I am into it. I’m gonna start exploring kid-friendly spots.
Parents, come together and appreciate all the help we can get.
Even the crowded Pernambuco beach was lovely (mostly at sunrise or sunset, or on that hour of free babysitter). As they say, beauty is on the eye of the beholder.
From mom to moms, xoxo.