Finding somewhere to stay is rarely a problem as accommodation in São João is plentiful and good value, though hotels and pousadas here are not nearly as attractive as those in neighbouring Tiradentes. Bear in mind, however, that the town is a popular spot to spend Carnaval in, and Easter celebrations also attract huge numbers of visitors; at these times advance reservations are essential.
The Pousada Grande Hotel (t 32/3371-7475; R$41-70) at Rua Manoel Anselmo 22, right in the centre overlooking the Lenheiro stream, is a favourite budget choice, though its basic rooms are rather noisy and lack air conditioning. Of the medium-range places, best value is the Hotel Ponte Real, Av. Eduardo Magalhães 254 (t 32/3371-7000, w www.hotelpontereal.com.br; R$121-180), a wonderful converted mansion near São Francisco church, with the added attraction of a small swimming pool. At a similar price, the Quinta do Ouro, towards the western end of Avenida Tancredo Neves on Praça Severiano de Resende (t 32/3371-2565; R$121-180), has four lovely rooms, three with salons (reservations essential). Top of the range, but excellent value and with a very good pool, is the comfortable Pousada Villa Magnólia (t 32/3373-5065, w www.pousadavillamagnolia.com.br; R$121–260), just outside of the historic centre at Rua Ribeiro Bastos 2.