I’ve just returned from a six night stay at the Tivoli eco resort Praia do Forte. The overall experience was good however there were a few lacklustre tones. First the bad news:
• Daily tariffs are pricy, but one must bear in mind that they include breakfast and dinner, both of which are served at the main restaurant - Goa.
• I had asked for a standard plus category room, the second lowest rate, but due to the fact that the hotel was almost empty when I started the my vacation, was upgraded to a master room upon check in. This room was quite spacious, but it could do with a slight renovation, such as new layer of paint and new curtains. Those on our room were spotty and I suspect that a vigorous wash would be of no avail.
• Restaurant Tabaréu was a bummer. My brother and his family, who have been frequent guests to this resort for the past five years, said that service around this venue was always below average. On one of the occasions we were there, both me and him asked at the beginning of the meal for a cold soup of tomato with croutons, as we thought it would constitute a refreshing lunch option on that hot day. Well! One of the soups was served at the beginning of the meal and the other only came at the end. Is this understandable? By the way the soups were unmemorable. Even the bottled beers we ordered in the other restaurants came chilly in a pot filled with ice, but not in this restaurant.
• Drinks, soft or alcoholic, around the restaurants and bars are overpriced. So are those in the in room bar, where a small bottle of mineral still water is charged at an unbelievable 16.00 BRS (around € 7.00 or USD 10,10).
Obviously, the above mentioned sets of circumstances have not soured my stay. The first impression upon arriving to the hotel is excellent. The good experience begins immediately at the reception desk with smiling and professional staff. This place has a light but pleasant decoration. Even the sound of the two fountains and the singing of the birds around it, add to the feeling of restfulness and peace of mind.
However what impressed me more was the beach, a kind of Hollywood movie setting. Without any doubt the best beach I know - and I know a lot. Palm trees, thin sand, lukewarm water and it is exclusively for hotel guests. A shade seeker such as I, always found a convenient spot, however my brother told me that in previous years it was not always so easy.
Restaurant Goa is where we had breakfast and dinner. Both meals are buffet style. Servers are just there to bring you drinks or take away empty plates. The buffet presentation and assortment is very good and I felt that after a week that I did not try everything that called my attention. In general terms everything was good and fresh. Obviously this adds to the overall good experience. Fruit juices and water are free, or should I say, included on the room rate, however you have to pay for alcoholic beverages and as said before one pays a lot.
I can not rate the other restaurant “A Sombra do Coqueiral” as I did not eat there, but it seems it is more expensive “à la carte” restaurant.
Guests with young children are well taken care off. They have a small club called “careta careta” with all the facilities (toys, swimming pools, special activities and babysitting that however you have to pay for). The resort has two venues that they call “baby copa”, in other words a kitchen supplied with fruit, cookies, milk, and twice a day a cook comes to prepare a soup. There are also some chairs and a table to suit their size.
There are many other activities around the resort such as gym classes, aerobic classes, wind sailing, spa, etc. You can find a schedule for some of these activities in the room. I prefer sea baths but there are lots of appealing swimming pools.
Providing that there are a sufficient number of participants, they organize several excursions. I was curious to visit Salvador da Baia. Since there were no other participants, they arranged a car with driver for me and my girlfriend to visit the town. It cost 540 BRS (around € 236,00 or $341,00) for six hours and was a complete dud. No guide and almost no relevant information about the places we visited. The driver just did what he was supposed to do, that is to say drive. He showed us the touristiest places, letting us walk around on our pace in places where it was possible to park the car.
Around the resort one can spot strange animals, at least for me, like iguanas, mammoth sized frogs, strange rodents with funny nose whose name in English I do not know, small monkeys and colourful birds singing around people sited on restaurants, in obvious hopes of small crumbs. Avoid the open air venues at nightfall if you are in your swim suit. Mosquitoes and midges will “eat you alive”. During my stay I did not see flies however.
About the room I have to say that the toilet is rather small and one sits very low. The shower corner however is ample and the shower water pressure was good. Water temperature was easy to set and I experienced no fluctuation. Sleeping quality was not exceptional, at least for me. During our stay, the weather around Praia do Forte and also in our room varied from hot and wet to hot and very wet. When I say hot I mean around 30º centigrade’s (or 86 F), nothing that I’m not accustomed to in my country during summer, what is fact tiresome is the moisture in the air that seems to stick to the skin. Around the room there was an AC device, but during the night I had to choose between two uncomfortable options, turn on the AC and sleep with noise or turn it off and sleep with heat and wet. My girlfriend and our 28 month old daughter did not share this feeling with me. At night and immediately arriving to the room they would just collapse in bed and sleep soundly throughout the night.
Our flight back home was late at night, so instead of making the check out of our room at 12:00 as usual in any other hotel they let us stay in our room till six o’clock in the afternoon at no charge at all. We also asked if on that same day we could have dinner at the restaurant. They said it was obviously possible but we should pay 100 BRS each. They were not sensible to our argument that on our first day we had also arrived very late and could not dine as the restaurant was already closed. However after a few minutes we received a call from the reception reversing their decision. This means that whenever they can, they are accommodating with guests issues.
Some advice for future travellers:
• Use your room just for sleeping, showering and to wait while your spouse or significant other prepares for dinner. In this last case use one of the two fluffy armchairs on the terrace, or even better do as the locals using de hammock and swing from side to side as a child. Do not ask me how many channels there were on the flat screen TV. I’m certainly not enduring an eight hour long flight, followed by a cumbersome fifty minute car ride to sit on a room and watch TV. This is the kind of place one goes to enjoy the open air.
• It is also advisable not to open the doors for long. A wide assortment of insects used to dodge our ground floor room. Obviously in such latitudes and with that kind of climate, this is unavoidable. The hotel supplies a sort of repellent that you put on the wall socket of the room. Consequently all flying insects migrate to the bathroom or seek for refuge inside the wardrobe. However this device does not lure away ants and other creeping insects. For those you have to avoid bringing cookies or sugar full snacks in the room. One night we also found a very small gecko in the bathroom. We had seen several around the gardens but much bigger. Surprised by the silence of our girl, who generally is always speaking or making any kind of noise, I found her staring at the ceiling of the bathroom intriguingly. After a moment she decided that she was afraid of it. My girlfriend reluctantly dislodged the frightened gecko, arguing that inside the room it would make us more good than harm. This kind of small beast is specialised on the insect hunt.
• The resort is huge and there is a lot of walking involved. Of course they can drive you on their trolleys, but you have to call and wait for them.
• For those with walking difficulties or on wheel chair, bear in mind that whenever there are stairs – and there are very few - there is also an easy slope to negotiate. You have only to ask for a room in ground floor. I have to say however that I found the entrance of my room a tad narrow but I do not know if it is the same with other rooms.
• If you want drinking water or other beverages in your room, do not use the in room bar. Go for a stroll to the local village (10 min. walking if you take the road or 15 min. if you take the beach walk), and buy whatever drink you want at one of the local supermarkets. My sister-in-law and nieces, who have been in the hotel several times before, were amazed with the number of shops that open every year. They also used to loose track of time while making retail therapy and return to the hotel by foot after night fall. You can make the way back by tut-tut taxi, or whatever they call it there, kind of those you see often in India. It costs 8 BRS (€ 3.50 or $5,00). The way to and the village itself seemed safe for the stroll. There are some building yards along the way. Sister-in-law and nieces were proposed marriage once from someone hanging around when they were passing by. The issue was discussed over dinner and we arrived at the conclusion that Brazilian workers around those yards are much more polite. Back at home such worker would have been much more straightforward and would have promptly proposed a night in bed. That poor soul in Brazil is probably right now still hanging around his building yard 6’000 Km away and waiting for an answer. So, if you are a female and your mother tongue is not Portuguese, you will have no problem since you won’t understand a word.
• Try to negotiate with the hotel a lower tariff not including dinner. The restaurants around the village are a good option to try local recipes.
Our vacation was in fact very pleasant in this resort and I would return again. Try to avoid the wet season, that begins around mid-April and school holidays, in order to appreciate fully your vacation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In Brazil, to the north of Salvador, Bahia, there is an idyllic place for lovers of Brazil ecotourism, which is both beautiful and luxurious. The Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte is a 5-star Bahia hotel where simple architecture is in harmony with the stunning scenery and the biodiversity of the surrounding area. Here you will find a tropical destination perfect for family holidays, business meetings, weddings, birthdays or a dream honeymoon. Enjoy the extensive range of well-being treatments at the Thalasso SPA and relax among the colourful gardens and natural pools in Vila Praia do Forte. The exclusive cuisine at the resort restaurants promises a culinary journey through exotic flavours blended with touches of the sea and coconuts. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tivoli Ecoresort Praia Do Forte Hotel Mata De Sao Joao
- Praia Do Forte Tivoli Ecoresort
- Tivoli Ecoresort Praia Do Forte Bahia, Brazil