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“Paradise 9 hours away”

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Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte
Certificate of Excellence
Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Paradise 9 hours away”
Reviewed April 21, 2011

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.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Jose_Sa0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Salvador, Brazil
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2011

We stayed only 2 nights in this beautiful resort, just for relaxing during a week-end.
The place is perfect: wonderful room (suite Deluxe), spacious, nice swimming pools, great beach, preserved nature, calm.
The very good point is that the resort was almost empty, and that a pool (perhaps the nicest one) is exclusive for adults: please don’t change that and be sure that all (guests and employees) respect this rule. We only spent a short time at the SPA, but we’ll test it when we be back for a new stay; we just had a massage at the beach SPA, great moment of relaxing.
Only bad point: the buffet included in the rate, not at the level of the resort considering what you’re paying for. We wanted to try another restaurant for the second night but it was totally booked for an event. We preferred having diner in our room, very romantic.
As said before, we’ll be back, for more days. Free wifi would be welcome...

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Casadoamarelindo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Porto, Portugal
Level Contributor
262 reviews
124 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2011

It was my 3 rd time at Ecoresort, I was there also in 2005 and 2008.
The Hotel maintains its very hi standards both in terms of the facilities, the staff and the food.
I think the only thing that it can improve are the rooms, mainly the basic ones which are poor, minding its price.
It is one of my favorite places in the world, the facilities, the beach (where you can walk for hours), the pools, the food, the staff!!! and the Spa...
In the future they must review the prices, it is not an Ecoresort thing but a Brazil thing. Here you pay 3 times more than equivalent places in other countries. I'm Portuguese and for me there are other reasons besides price that make the choose this Hotel, but I think they could attract much more Europeans and Americans if they review their Princing Policy.
But above all its a truly fantastic place.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Pedritocalheiros
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lisbon, Portugal
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 27, 2011

Tivoli Eco Resort is my favourite place of holidays! I get to rest, enjoy and have fun at the same time! the rooms are fantastic as well as all the services it has to offer! the staff is incredible!
i could not spend two years without visiting it!

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MarianaMart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2011

After looking at many options in Bahia and Praia do Forte, we felt Tivoli fit our needs. I was a little nervous about our choice after reading the reviews. BUT, when we arrived (even at night), I was pleasantly surprised and thankful. The resort is very well-kept, lush, tropical and beautiful. Only drawback: while our master room was very clean and conveniently located (2nd floor, close to goa restaurant), it was a bit on the small side for the price. Lovely spacious terrace, but would have expected a "living area/couch" inside the room given the price. Otherwise....fantastic food....and LOTS of it. Had read, but wasn't sure that breakfast/dinner was included at Goa. So good and so many options. Will say that the dinner options might get tiring after a week's stay, but was perfect for us for 3 days. Beach is quiet and serene. GREAT open air fitness center! Not the clearest/bluest water I've ever seen, but not at all dirty. Staff was very friendly and helpful - very few spoke English, but so what! Organized a great tour of Salvador for us. Was a perfect stay!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank NewYorkTravelgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris
Level Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2011

I am Brazilian but I have been living in France for more than 10 years. My wife and I have been to the Eco Resort a couple of times, the first being in 2002.

This is, in my opinion, the best resort in Bahia and one of the top 3 in Brazil. It still provides outstanding cuisine, spacious and comfortable rooms, friendly and competent personnel, unbeatable and safe location and all facilities and service one can ask of a 5 stars hotel.

All of that, of course, comes with a price, but it is worth the cost. However, those that have known it for long feel that the new Management has changed it from a cozy and exclusive establishment integrated into the community to a 5 star cash machine. They increased capacity and prices, and ended some community programs. We actually feel more pressured to spend money in the beach restaurant, and the staff lost some of its natural, layback attitude. Everyone I have spoken with agrees that prices skyrocketed and it lost a bit of soul after it was sold to an investment group.

The kinks I would like to mention are related to the guests rather to the hotel itself; these are things the hotel will have a hard time fixing (if they ever try).

- First, some guests created an underground service for reserving beach-front chairs that makes the whole system corrupt and very unfair. If you want a beach front chair, you need to either wake up at 5:30 am (like we used to do), or pay the “caixinha” to the employees responsible for cleaning the chairs. The hotel management is aware of the issue but they have yet to find an effective solution. It is very unfortunate that guests are contributing to one of the worst problems in Brazil by corrupting employees instead of making the effort to earn a place in the sun…

- The second issue is also related to a social problem. Some guests are extremely rude and impolite, which leads to some misbehavior one rarely sees in other places. I saw people “stealing” beach chairs, physically aggressing the staff, loudly using Nextel mobile phones during more than one hour while others wanted to rest, insulting other guests for no reason, shouting loudly instead of walking 50 meters, etc. I have rarely seen such behavior in Brazil, but I guess that is one of the consequences of a booming economy that generates wealth but does not raises the education level of the population. These people are a small minority, but be aware that you will certainly run into half a dozen “cases” during your stay.

In spite of the kinks, I am already preparing my next trip to Praia do Forte!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank LuizTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Campinas, SP
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed November 18, 2010

This hotel was well recommended by several people and we chose for the promise of comfort, fabulous location and service.
The location is really great and service in general (specially room and restaurant) was good. Food is delicious (the quality decreased a bit when the season changed) and kinds entertainment was high quality.
Nevertheless I was highly disappointed. During our stay the hotel had a serious problem with the water quality, which became brackish, sticky and smelly. Despite the complaints the hotel neglected the issue, treating it as an individual. Later we realized it wasn't happening only to us, but in other rooms too. It took the hotel 3 days to act and solve. They only offered potable water for those who had babies, which was my case, although I was not included in this distribution.
I left a long letter when I left and until now I have no response from them, which also caused me a great disappointment.
It is a great place to go, which I would definitely recommend to friends if there wasn't for this problem. I would risk a advise knowing that they cannot handle this kind of issue properly.
Besides that, my evaluation of the room quality is also not so good. It was humid and smelly. Despite being the cheapest option, I was paying for a top-rated hotel and expected a better service and quality.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CamilaCruz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte

Property: Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte
Address: Av. Do Farol,S/N - Praia Do Forte | Cerqueira Cesar, Mata de Sao Joao, State of Bahia 48280-000, Brazil
Location: Brazil > State of Bahia > Mata de Sao Joao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Mata de Sao Joao
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte 4.5*
Number of rooms: 287
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

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