Absolutely London visits the tranquil Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte in Brazil…
By Abbie Schofield
Think of Brazil and the sprawling city of Rio de Janeiro probably springs to mind, where a population of over 6.7 million wrestles with towering skyscrapers, tropical beaches, heaving favelas and black mountains. But in the north-eastern state of Bahia is a quiet fishing village, home to one of the region’s most spectacular hotels – an oceanside paradise hugged by 12km of white sand surrounded by coconut groves and lush rainforest…
Review: Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte, Brazil
With no direct route from London, we travel with TAP Air who offer flights with a stopover in Lisbon, and Tivoli Avenida Liberdadi is a fantastic choice for our outrageously comfortable pitstop. The hotel’s panoramic rooftop bar and restaurant, SEEN, is one of the city’s hottest spots, serving innovative Japanese-fusion dishes alongside killer cocktails. In a whirlwind adventure through the cobbled streets of Libson, we also manage to squeeze in a walking tour, plenty of pastel de natas and shots of ginjinha (local cherry liqueur), before boarding our eight-hour flight to Salvador.
Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte
Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte immediately embraces us into its oasis of calm; the room has all the natural charm of a beachside hut with the comfortable amenities of a five-star suite. When it comes to decor, natural fibres have been used where possible (the resort forbids aluminium and plastic), from furniture hand-carved by local artisans to decorative sculptures made from coconut shells. Opening the dark wooden shutters reveals a balcony, complete with a hammock and view of the twinkling emerald ocean, palm trees scattered on the horizon.
The word ‘eco’ is bandied around a lot nowadays. Much like ‘clean’ and ‘green’, with no official definition of what counts as eco, businesses are co-opting the term to appeal to 2020’s climate-conscious clientele – a hotel will get rid of plastic straws or start using recycled toilet roll and call itself ‘eco’. But Tivoli Ecoresort is different and its efforts to protect the surrounding wildlife are immense. In keeping with the rainforest landscape, the resort is mostly green and brown-hued and buildings cannot be taller than a palm tree. What’s more is the hotel occupies only 20% of the 300 thousand square metres of land that it owns, allowing nature to blossom.
In fact, the hotel is so successful in its aim to leave nature undisturbed that animals wander freely around the resort, including monkeys who live up to their cheeky reputation by hanging around the restaurants, trying to steal food from unsuspecting diners. Staff have developed an amusing deterrent – spraying water at the marmosets, forcing them to scuttle off.
Social responsiblity is at the heart of Tivoli Ecoresort: the hotel fully funds the local school, and employs many former students. 70% of its workers are native to the state of Bahia.
Food and Drink
Due to immigration during the Portuguese Colonial War, Salvador has strong African roots which the resort celebrates in its food, merging the best of Bahaian cuisine with international influences.
From Dendê, the lively poolside bar, to À Sombro Do Coqueiral, which overlooks the romantic infinity pool, Tivoli Ecoresort boasts a restaurant for every occasion. Foodie highlights include the acarajé, an award-winning street food-inspired dish made of peeled beans, which we learn how to make via a live cooking demonstration. A must-try cocktail is the hallmark caipirinha – if you’re lucky enough to visit when cashews are in season, they make a delicious addition to the cachaça-based drink.
The hotel are also able to organise special events, from romantic surprise engagements to large group parties, and one evening we are treated to a divine candlelit dinner in a private hut.
There’s plenty to do in the area, like visiting Garcia d’Avila, a 16th century castle and one of the most significant archaeological sites in Brazil. However, one of the most exciting opportunities happens from July to October, when 9,000 humpback whales venture from Antarctica to South America to reproduce. Tivoli takes its guests, accompanied by local biologists, on incredible whale watching excursions, and the resort also supports the Baleia Jubarte institute who study and protect the gentle sea giants. We’re sorry to miss the whale-watching window, but in the village of Praia do Forte we visit The Tamar Project, a charity which protects sea turtles from extinction on the Brazilian coastline.
Turtle-saving done, we head to the hotel’s Anantara spa for some deep relaxation.There’s a heavenly tranquil pool, jacuzzi and sauna as well as treatment rooms.
There’s adventure to be had, too. An afternoon kayaking along the mangroves of the Timeantube river is a chance to see beautiful wildlife whilst gliding along the red-tinged, iron-rich water. A last-minute decision to go paddleboarding in the sea turns out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Accompanied by our entertaining guides (one of them can do a headstand on his board), some of us get the knack of paddling, whilst others just fall in.
Tourism is often accused of damaging the environment. But here, visitors and nature thrive in a prosperous green cycle. Private and secluded with a friendly buzz, Tivoli Ecoresort is a true ecological sanctuary.
Nightly rates at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade start from £189 based on two people sharing on a B&B basis.
Nightly rates at Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte start from £277 for a double room on a half board basis.
TAP Air Portugal has a daily departure from Heathrow, Gatwick & Manchester to Salvador via Lisbon. Prices start at £547 return including taxes. For more information visit flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932.
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