Hotel Casa do Amarelindo

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Book from

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
A beautifully restored townhouse with roof-level pool, whose 10 rooms promise absolute peace despite being in the central Pelourinho district
Bump your way through the colourful cobbled streets, past capoeira dancers, hecklers and hippies, deep into Salvador's Pelourinho district, once the Portuguese capital of Brazil. You’re bang in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage town, and you’d be mesmerised if you weren't so hot and tired from the journey. Which is why the Casa do Amarelindo is such a glorious respite. Step through its tall archways into a tranquil reception area and let the cool terracotta floor, whitewashed walls and tropical courtyard soothe your mind.

Take the lift to your room and enter a totally quiet and sunny space. The vast kingsize bed promises hours of sleep; the air con blows out welcoming cool air. Soundproofed French doors mean you won’t be disturbed by the street noise below, but step onto your balcony and you’ve got the perfect vantage spot for vibrant Bahian life. What’s more, there’s a roof terrace with a panoramic view of Todos os Santos Bay, and a swimming pool to beat the heat. You’re at the heart of the action, yet one step removed.

Highs

  • Excellent food and cocktails, served by the pool or in the ambient restaurant
  • Simple but stylish décor, and the entire hotel is well maintained
  • Friendly service from French owners Gilles and Didier, and the whole of their team
  • Beautifully quiet rooms despite being in the centre of town
  • During our visit (in 2009) it was the only hotel in Pelourinho with a rooftop pool

Lows

  • Can be tricky to find - ensure your taxi driver knows his way before turning on the meter and be prepared to carry your luggage the last 50m down the car-free street
  • Pelourinho swarms with touts and tourists in peak season; walking to and from Casa do Amarelindo without being harangued is no mean feat
  • Children under 14 aren't accepted - a high for some!

Best time to go

If you really want to experience Salvador (particularly the Pelourinho district) at its loudest and most wild, go during Carnaval (February or March, depending on the year) which Brazilians say is more participatory than Rio's. It always begins on a Thursday night and ends the next Wednesday - in between 2 million party-goers hit the streets for an orgy of dancing and drinking. Throughout the year Tuesday nights in Pelourinho are like mini-festivals with live street music and dancing. The rainiest months in Salvador tend to be April-July.

Our top tips

Stay for at least 2 nights, 4 if you can - this will give you lots of time to explore the pretty district and chill out on the roof terrace.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 14s 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
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The 10 rooms are set over the first 3 floors of the building, and there's a lift to help with your suitcase. Sunny and light, they're simply and uniformly decorated, but instantly appealing, with vast beds (kingsize or super-king), air conditioning and double-glazed French windows to keep out night-time noise. Bed linen is high-quality cotton; bathrobes are just the ticket for padding up to the roof-terrace pool.

The ensuite bathrooms have tropical rain showers or hydro-massage tubs - superior and standard rooms have showers, deluxe rooms have tubs. Carefully rolled up towels are tied with yellow ribbon for a luxurious touch, although these were somewhat worn when we visited so hopefully they’ve been replaced.

Plasma TVs, DVD players and CD players tick the 21st century boxes whilst ceiling fans, wrought-iron bedsteads and antique dark-wood furniture hark back to colonial times. Several of the rooms enjoy magnificent views - book carefully, asking for a room on a higher floor. Most look out over the Baía de Todos os Santos (All Saint's Bay), and some rooms have an additional private balcony, ideal for sun worshipping and people watching.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Dvd player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The food at Casa do Amarelindo has a great reputation. Kick off your first evening with complimentary sunset cocktails on the roof terrace: there's a whole range of fruit specialities, and Gilles' Caipirinhas - especially those made with cashew fruit - come highly recommended. The restaurant itself is on the ground floor of the townhouse, and is an atmospheric place with terracotta walls, a substantial wine list and immaculately laid tables spilling out onto the terraces. The food is an inventive blend of Bahian specialities cooked in modern style: sea bass and shrimp moqueca, sautéed shrimps with lemongrass and pineapple rice, and fillet mignon with açai sauce and sweet potato fries.

A hearty and beautifully presented breakfast is served in the restaurant or, if you ask nicely, on the roof terrace (weather permitting). There's no end time, so you could remain supine for hours. Expect just-squeezed orange or guava juice, fresh fruit (mango, pineapple, guava), fresh bread, coffee, yoghurts, cakes and eggs cooked any way you want. The hotel also offers a petiscos menu, to quell any hunger pangs during the day. These tapas-style offerings include dishes like roasted banana slides with bacon or satay brochettes with a cashew sauce.

If you'd prefer something different just stroll out of the front door: there are lots of cafés and restaurants - try Uaua for a full meal and Cafelier for coffee and something snackier. And at some point be sure to try the acarajes - small spicy fried bean treats - sold on every street corner by Bahian women in traditional flowing white dresses.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Salvador is renowned for its Afro-Latin music. Its world famous Carnaval - a wild street party lasting up to a week - is held in February or March, but you can enjoy live music and dancing throughout the year

  • Step outside the doors of the hotel, and straight onto Pelourinho's atmospheric cobblestone streets. Sample the Bahian street food, admire the different coloured houses and visit magnificent baroque churches (the lavish Igreja de Sao Francisco is a must).

  • Pelourinho is the hub of Salvador's nightlife and Tuesday is its biggest party night. Just wander from bar to bar and follow the drummers playing along the streets. Stages are also set up on the Largo do Pelourinho and the Terreiro de Jesus

  • Take a horse and cart to one of the city's beaches, such as Barra or Itapua (15-30 minutes' drive), or go further afield to the beautiful Guarajuba

  • Chill out on the hotel's roof terrace listening to the sounds of Pelourinho below and admiring the panoramic view, then, when the heat gets too much, dive in the swimming pool to cool off

  • Catch a show: the Bale Folclorico da Bahia at the Miguel Santana Theatre put on a daily hour-long performance based upon expressions of Bahian folklore and dances of the Candomble religious group

  • Tours can be arranged in-house to experience a ceremony of Candomble (the local religion that blends Catholicism with beliefs brought from Benin and Nigeria by slaves) or the ritualistic African-based dance and martial art of Capoeira

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

No guests under the age of 14 are accepted at Hotel Casa do Amarelindo.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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