In January 1990, a couple from São Paulo – ROGERIO VALSANI SOBRINHO, an architect, and his wife ROSANA MARIA GUIM VALSA, an engineer – were invited by their friend, singer-songwriter ALMIR SATER to visit Bonito. They stayed on a farm along the banks of the Formoso River and fell in love with the place. At that time, tourism infrastructure was practically inexistent in Bonito.

In July 1996, the couple returned to Bonito. This time they were accompanied by their children LUCA and FLORA and another couple of friends. Once again, they were delighted with the natural beauty of the place. This time, they found a relatively well-organized tourism infrastructure, although at that time there were few tour options in the area.

ROGERIO and ROSANA returned to Bonito in July 1999, along with another couple of friends with whom they wanted to share their fascination with MATO GROSSO DO SUL. On that occasion, they intended to buy a piece of land where they could spend their family vacations. ROGERIO spent the entire week wandering about the area with real estate agents, until he finally found what he named A LITTLE PIECE OF PARADISE, the SANTO HONOFRE farm – 28.6 hectares (about 70 acres) of gorgeous rolling fields and a pristine portion of the FORMOSO RIVER (1,500 meters) for sale. The asking price was beyond their original budget, but Rogerio and Rosana were so enchanted by the place that they decided to buy the land and build a Hotel to provide their family with better quality of life.

During the next two years, ROGERIO and ROSANA projected and built all the installations of the Hotel, closely monitoring the project. Finally, at the end of 2001 they left the urban life in São Paulo to start what today is the SANTA ESMERALDA HOTEL.

Hotel opening: December 29, 2001

Area of the property: 28.6 hectares (approximately 70 acres) 
 Number of accommodations: 18 units