Conveniently located across from one of Salvador’s main tourist attractions at the top of the city’s Pelourinho district, Villa Bahia is a sophisticated little retreat that welcomes its guests to chic surroundings with the utmost in friendly hospitality. This small hotel consisting of only 17 spacious and stylish rooms spread throughout two adjacent historical buildings; each room is named after a former colony of the vast Portuguese Empire, now centuries past the zenith of its existence. Rooms are decorated with evocative touches in accordance with their location names.
Villa Bahia’s successful existence can be attributed to its vivacious general manager, Bruno Guinard, who complements his native French savoir-faire with the Brazilian jeito in finding a way to get things done. It was Monsieur Guinard who supervised the renovation of the buildings and their transformation into a hotel, and it is he who can be thanked today for an atmosphere of casual luxury that perfectly melds French and Brazilian cultures. With this in mind, there is, naturally enough, a great importance placed on the hotel’s culinary operations. Villa Bahia’s restaurant extends from an intimate dining room out onto a small terrace where guests can enjoy the flavourful creations of chef Augusto Lago in the open air. A native of Bahia, Chef Lago brings a lifetime of experience with Bahian cuisine to the hotel and employs his deft skills in creating tasty dishes representative of this special cuisine rarely found outside Brazil.
Salvador’s Pelourinho district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a derelict area where many of the grand buildings constructed during the height of Salvador’s wealth and power in the 17th and 18th centuries had fallen deeply into disrepair. The funding that followed the UNESCO designation permitted Pelourinho’s cultural patrimony to benefit from the ensuing influx of cultural patrimoney, the result being a superbly beautiful restored neighbourhood where a stroll down the street is a stroll into another era. Behind the historic façades, though, lies a number of appealing bars, restaurants, museums, and shops to satisfy the needs of modern-day visitors. One of Pelourinho’s most impressive buildings is home to the internationally acclaimed Balé Folclórico da Bahia whose captivating dance and capoeira performances bring to life Salvador’s vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture.
Not that one need go far to enjoy Salvador’s rich history. Villa Bahia’s location on Largo do São Francisco places it just across from the São Francisco church, perhaps the most glorious of Salvador’s many examples of Brazilian baroque architecture. Despite its central location, Villa Bahia manages to fit a small swimming pool into its garden, a lush oasis in the middle of the city.
A stay at Villa Bahia is easily arranged through Melbourne-based South America Travel Centre where experienced staff can also handle flight arrangements on LAN and TAM as well as ground arrangements such as guided tours around the city of Salvador and the historic region surrounding it.
Source = ETB News: Robert La Bua