Salvador da Bahia in northeast Brazil is an idyllic destination for lovers of wildlife, ecotourism and unparalleled natural beauty. Coupled with traditional, five star luxury accommodation, it offers a relaxed and authentic vacation.
With Salvador City as its capital, the region is a melting pot of cultures which is widely influenced by its Afro-Brazilian descendents. This is particularly illustrated by the mesmerising martial art, capoeira- which combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It was developed by Angolan slaves in the 16th Century to cleverly mask high kicks, spins and other fighting techniques with what appear to be friendly gestures to normal bystanders, and was awarded “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO in 2014.
However, it is the stunning beaches which are a further attraction for hoards of Brazilian, Portuguese and American tourists who flock to soak up the glorious sunshine, clear sea and wildlife across the region.
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Head north, just one hour’s drive from the airport, and you pass through candy-coloured colonial towns, corner shops and friendly locals chilling out on porches, and you will reach the Tivoli Ecoresort, Praia do Forte. This exclusive property is set in 30,000 hectares of tropical rainforest, and boasts 12km of golden sand beach accessible to the hotel guests. The resort itself offers a choice of 248 apartments and suites, which are spacious enough for families, friends and couples. Based on the typical Colonial style, the vibe is informally relaxed. In keeping with the surroundings, the decor of the property is unfussy, with natural colours, accented by rich dark Brazilian wood.
All rooms have sea facing balconies, which offer a private sanctuary in the jungle oasis, along with air con, TV, USB ports, fridge and a safe. The Deluxe Suites feature a living room and dressing room if you feel the need for extra space; or the Superior Ocean room, located on the upper floor around dual floor corridors, offering a tranquil position away from the social areas. With a king size bed, hammock and jacuzzi, this is ideal for couples, or those seeking tranquility.
Built using as many natural products as possible, the hotel blends in with its lush setting, and the two storey buildings are surrounded by trees, shrubs and greenery. Investigate further into the luxe gardens, over a bridge and deeper into the jungle, and you will find the hotel’s Pool Villas, which offer even more privacy. Designed using materials which minimise the impact on the environment, these homes from home offer an open living area decorated with contemporary Brazilian art, a living wall, a games room and a vast roof terrace. Outside there’s a fire pit, cabana, outdoor tub, hammocks and massage beds. The private decked terrace and pool, fully working kitchen (with chef available) makes guests like you are deeply steeped into nature – with all the hotel’s facilities a short buggy ride away.
Designed by Swiss and Brazilian architects, the resulting modern properties, are sustainably built from natural local materials including salvaged timber and stone. Bespoke furniture is made from recycled materials, heating is solar-powered and water reused, thus taking into consideration the future of our planet.
The hotel itself is encased by one of the foremost ecological preservation areas in Bahia, where turtles and humpback whales hibernate. Guests are invited to learn about the rare and beautiful wonders of these creatures, both at the hotel, and through engagement with the town’s TAMAR Turtle Project. Further expeditions can be arranged to visit the turtle sanctuary and whale watching reserve.
Whether you like to party, paddleboard, or just want to chill out, the activities are available throughout the year, and your experience can be as immersive as you like. With eight swimming pools (including an adults only infinity pool), constant sunshine, palm tree fringed beaches, an out of this world Thalasso spa offering massages and beauty treatments for the body and soul, you can create the tropical paradise of your dreams.
You might never want to leave, as the three restaurants and two bars on site, are available night and day and offer something for all tastes, including regional and international cuisine. The À Sombra do Coqueiral, with the view of the pool, offers Mediterranean and international cuisine plus a traditional Brazilian feijoada and samba music every Saturday. Tabaréu specialises in seafood and Bahian food and Goa Restaurant offers a choice of international and Bahian dishes with show cooking. You shouldn’t leave without sampling at least one Caipirinha! Offering everything you need for an unpretentious break, the Tivoli Ecoresort, Praia do Forte is the ultimate, unassuming luxury resort. Come to enjoy the weather, food, scenery and nature, and make some new friends (possibly monkeys) along the way. With no direct flights, Bahia is a trek, but if you’re craving peace, and authenticity, you will not regret it.