Above: A curtain of minor falls, seen from a balcony adjacent to the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil

Occasionally, a hotel opens that transforms the experience of a famous destination. The Iguazú Falls — the largest series of waterfalls in the world — are one ofSouth America’s leading attractions, on par with Machu Picchu and the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The Iguazú River forms a border betweenArgentinaandBrazil, and two contiguous national parks make up a protected area of nearly 1,000 square miles. However, the nearby cities of Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil are uninspiring places, dotted with dozens of midrange tourist hotels. When I heard about the new Awasi Iguazú resort, which debuted in February, I was somewhat surprised. The company has two other properties, both in Chile, located in regions remote from mass tourism:Awasi Atacama(Hideaway of the Year in 2013) is set in the desert 1,000 miles north of Santiago, while Awasi Patagonia is situated at the country’s southern tip, overlooking the vertiginous mountains of Torres del Paine National Park. Why, I wondered, had Awasi chosen to expand in such an obvious and well-trodden destination?

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Above: A curtain of minor falls, seen from a balcony adjacent to the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil

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