“Intimate rustic-chic hotel in the heart of Trancoso, one of Brazil's hippest villages, with fabulous unspoilt beaches nearby”
Follow the winding woodland path past enticing hammocks strung up between trees and you find 8 themed rooms carefully built to preserve the natural setting. Each presents a different world style depicted by their own fabrics, furnishings and artwork. Tribal has African-inspired art, animal prints and dark wood accents. By contrast Cottage feels more light and airy, with its minimalist décor in pale shades of cream and white and its limewashed woodwork. Goa is hippy dippy India, while Kyoto has a pared-down Japanese style. If you want something with more of a local feel, go for Trancoso with its colourful naïve murals of the village.
For a bit more space and a little more money, check into one of the 3 Master Suites, which have sitting areas with room for an extra bed. Mediterranean has a nautical theme with a model wooden boat, 2 double beds and blue and white cushions. Morocco features arched doorways, a wall studded with decorative brass plates, and handwoven rugs. Gypsy is more whimsical, with funky floral fabrics, brightly painted feature walls and a kitsch madonna statue.
Most rooms have four-poster beds romantically draped with mosquito nets (Kyoto has a futon bed); all have crisp white bedlinen from Italy, feather pillows from Sweden and smooth polished concrete floors (you're encouraged to go barefoot in the rooms). We found some of the window and door fittings to be a bit flimsy, but this is a minor quibble. Bathrooms come with large walk-in showers and small indoor gardens. You also get a TV (cable in the Master Suites), a minibar, a phone, air conditioning and a shaded wooden veranda with 2 chairs.
Meals and drinks are served in the funky open-sided bar-restaurant by the pool. Stylish contemporary furnishings, white tablecloths, chilled music and friendly helpful staff make it feel chic yet relaxed. Each table’s place settings are unique, thanks to the owners’ passion for crockery and the seemingly endless collection of table-ware gathered from their travels (Andre trained in ceramics and design in Italy). Everyday it’s changed for something different.
Breakfast itself is a tour de force, with endless little dishes constantly being laid out on the bar to tempt you. There’s sufficient food to last you all day. You can expect the usual juices, fruit salad, yoghurt, granola, ham, cheese and eggs, but there's lots more too. We loved the fried bananas, the tapioca pancakes filled with ricotta, the French toast with cinnamon, the warm pan de quejo, the homemade madeira and chocolate cakes, and the cookies hot from the oven. It was one of the best breakfasts we've had in Brazil.
During the day, light snacks and drinks can be ordered from the poolside but in the evening guests usually dine out. There are several good restaurants in the village. We recommend Cacau, which offers Bahian cooking with an oriental twist (try the passion seafood salad with garlic bread, or the fish with saffron, white wine, mash and kale), and Capim Santo, which has delicious grilled fish dishes and a candlelit garden. Both are on the Quadrado, a 5-10-minute walk from the hotel.