Anima Hotel

Morro de Sao Paulo, Bahia, Brazil Book from

Reviewed by Will Hide
Lovely secluded beach spot with a fantastic restaurant - yet only 15 minutes from Morro de São Paulo for those who want to party
On the island of Tinhare, this is a top spot in which to chill out after a few days in Salvador - you couldn't get much more of a contrast to the latter's hustle and bustle. It's a real oasis of calm. Set alongside a huge, palm-fringed beach, it's a small, simple set-up. There's an open, airy, low-slung main building containing the reception, a kitchen, and dining room, plus a a sitting area-cum-library with a few books, games, changing art exhibits and a collection of 200 DVDs to borrow for your room. Next to that there is an attractive pool and deck with plenty of loungers on which to soak up the sun.

The 9 cottages are spaced well apart to ensure privacy, and set back from the main building along a pathway through woods. Food is a real highlight, with a delicious fusion of Brazilian, French, Asian and Italian concepts. And best of all, while Anima's location is very secluded, there's a regular shuttle into Morro de São Paulo, which in season really hums with late night DJ parties on the beach.

Highs

  • Beautifully quiet and laid-back location
  • Great food, especially the dinners, which are served in a romantic candlelit open-air restaurant
  • The staff are very friendly, yet you never feel crowded
  • The huge, palm-fringed beach (Praia do Encanto) is arguably Morro's best

Lows

  • It could be too secluded for some, despite the relative proximity of Morro de São Paulo (7km away)
  • The 2-hour boat ride from Salvador can be pretty choppy, so if you're prone to sea sickness consider taking the 20-minute air taxi

Best time to go

Carnaval in Salvador is held in February or March, depending on the year - Anima would be a great spot to chill out at afterwards. The hotel is closed each June. May-July are the rainiest months.

Our top tips

Given that the journey from Salvador is a bit of an effort, you won't want to come for less than 2 nights - if your idea of holiday bliss is to do absolutely nothing by a pool except catch up on novels and methodically go through the cocktail list, you could easily spend a week here.

Make sure you bring more sun cream than you think you'll need as it's expensive to buy locally.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The 9 cottages are set in a small tropical wood beyond the main building and are spaced well apart to ensure decent privacy. All are similarly sized and simply but tastefully furnished in rustic style, with wooden floors, woven palm ceilings, bamboo towel racks and local artwork. Each has 2 outdoor hammocks and decking; pay a little extra for one of the 2 Whirlpool Cottages and you also get an outdoor whirlpool bath.

Inside you'll find a comfy kingsize bed (convertible into twin beds if required), rattan chairs, air con, minibar, a hairdryer, a phone, and cable TV (although there are no English-language channels). There's also a DVD/CD player - you can borrow one of the 200 films from the library. Bathrooms are modern and a good size, but functional rather than plush, with an indoor as well as outdoor walk-in shower.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv

Eating

Breakfast is served buffet-style from 8am every day, with a choice of juices, local pastries, coffee and Bahian specialities such as cooked cheese with honey or tapioca pancakes.

You'll probably only feel like something snacky for lunch in the heat of the day, so there's a menu full of suitable suggestions, from salads to burgers. But in the evening Silvana, the Brazilian wife of the French owner Philippe, oversees the kitchen with a range of truly delicious dishes that blend local influences with those from Asia and Europe (expect mains such as shrimps with sweet chilli and manioc puree, or chicken with pistachios, passion fruit and noodles). Given the logistics of getting supplies here, the quality of the cooking is superb.

If you're staying for a while you'll probably take the hotel's shuttle into nearby Morro de São Paulo for alternative restaurants. There's a wide range of places to choose from, although few are anything special.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Perfect the tan on the beach or by the pool while you catch up on the latest bonkbuster

  • Go snorkelling; there are some fabulous reefs surrounding the hotel and free equipment to borrow

  • Go round the island by boat or sail up the nearby mangrove swamps

  • Cake yourself from head to toe in the clay baths at Gamboa

  • Walk or go on horseback to a nearby village where you'll meet loads of adorable children

  • Try bird-watching (you can borrow binoculars): hummingbirds, parrots, white ibis and red headed woodpeckers can all be spotted nearby

  • Have a relaxing massage; reception can arrange

  • Hire one of the local boatmen to guide you to the natural swimming pools, or take an early morning trip out to sea with the local fishermen

  • At low tide walk for an hour along the beach to Morro de São Paulo and go out for dinner, then catch the shuttle back

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children (and parents) will love the freedom that Anima's setting affords. The hotel has a small paddling pool next to the main pool, and there's a big sandy beach.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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