Anima Hotel

Morro de Sao Paulo, Bahia, Brazil Book from Book from £62 per night

Lovely secluded beach spot with a great 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 sitting area with a few books, games and changing art exhibits. Next to that there is an attractive pool and deck with plenty of loungers on which to soak up the sun.

The 11 bungalows are spaced well apart to ensure privacy, and set back from the main building along a pathway through woods. Food is a real highlight. 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 right on a sandy beach with peaceful waters for swimming
  • 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
  • Handy scheduled transfers to and from the local town

Lows

  • It could be too secluded for some, but we loved it and Morro de São Paulo is relatively close (7km away)
  • The 2-hour boat ride from Salvador can be pretty choppy, if you're prone to sea sickness consider the 20-minute air taxi
  • The arrival on the island and subsequent walk to the hotel transfer pick-up point can be a little confusing, take one of the Wheelbarrow taxis to minimise hassle
  • From the outside the bungalows look a little tired, but inside they're clean, tidy and well maintained

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. 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
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 11
  • 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

Set in a small tropical wood beyond the main building, the 11 bungalows are spaced well apart for privacy. All simply but tastefully furnished, with rustic wooden floors, woven palm ceilings, bamboo towel racks and local artwork. Each has outdoor hammocks and decking. Pay a little extra for one of the Whirlpool Cottages and you also get an outdoor whirlpool bath.

Inside you'll find a comfy kingsize (or twin) bed, rattan chairs, air-con, minibar, a hairdryer, a phone, and cable TV (although there are no English-language channels). Bathrooms are clean, functional and a good size, with an indoor and 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

The buffet-style Breakfast includes a healthy selection of cold meats, fruit, cereals, yoghurts and scrambled eggs, plus Bahian specialties 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. We tended to opt for the fresh salads and some 'fried manioc bites' - try the fresh spicy Vietnamese salad.

In the evening, we enjoyed fish and vegetarian Moqueca (local Bahian stew), as well as a delicious Bobo de Camarao (a traditional shrimp stew). All were great to share between two, had a great mix of flavours and left us wanting more. Given the logistics of getting supplies here, the quality of the cooking is superb.

For local restaurants, take the hotel's shuttle into nearby Morro de São Paulo. There's a wide range of places to choose from, although few are anything special. We liked Café des Artistes, which serves good Brazilian and international food at a reasonable price. Samba's Bar is a basic joint playing good music (often with a live band) and decent food.

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 your reading list

  • 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

  • Horse ride or take a horse-drawn cart along the beach

  • Hire a 4x4 and visit nearby Ilha Boipeba, a beautiful secluded island with unspoilt beaches, a small town and some good little restaurants. The trip is an adventure: 1-hour along dirt tracks through the semi-desert interior followed by a 5-minute boat hop between the islands

  • 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. Next to the main pool, there's a small splash pool for kids. And the big sandy beach has calm, shallow waters.

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom Family Bungalow sleeps two adults and up to 3 children. All bungalows can accommodate an extra bed or baby cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

This hotel was a little piece of paradise. The bathroom was full of mosquitoes as was the outdoor spa. The pool area and amenities were lovely and clean. The restaurant was great, food delicious and the service fantastic. Highly recommend this hotel.

10/10,

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