We travelled to Brazil in May with our 18month old son. The Iberostar is currently the only hotel set right on the beach a few miles outside of Praia do Forte, north of Salvador, Brazil’s third largest city. Intimate this hotel is not and as such you should expect all the hustle and bustle of a large hotel complex. Although it can get busy, there are plenty of chill out areas such that we never felt as though the place was crowded.
The rooms are in a series of 3 blocks set over 3 floors. There are no lifts. Don’t be afraid to ask to move if you are not happy with your room, the staff will accommodate you if they can. We considered one of 3 alternative ground floor rooms available to us but decided to put up with carting our pram up and down the stairs because of the great ocean view from our balcony.
Each block of rooms are set around a series of court yards. All are tastefully landscaped, some more spectacular than others. Our room was clean and spacious with a large double bed, seating area and balcony. The mini bar was restocked every other day.
There are 4 restaurants. Three are themed, Mediterranean, Brazilian Barbeque and Japanese. All serve a good standard of cuisine. The deserts are best at the Mediterranean and the buffet. So much so that we enjoyed our two courses at both the Japanese and Brazilian and went back to the buffet for a chocolate hit! There is also a Gourmet restaurant which is supposed to be of a higher standard; however we did not try this one as young children are not allowed. Phone them up for cancellations if you can’t get in through the normal booking procedure.
In addition there are a number of buffet restaurants open almost round the clock. Although the faire here is pretty much the same every day, the choice is vast (early hours excluded). I had something different every day and didn’t get half way through the menu. Contrary to reports ground coffee, freeze dried coffee and a range of Twinings teas are available in the buffet restaurant all day. The bar also serve a great cappuccino and espresso, but if you prefer to take your PG Tips in your room you may be disappointed and might want to consider a B&B in Bognor Regis instead.
The grounds are all landscaped and well kept. There is a great view of the golf course by block one. There are 3 main pool areas. Most activities take place around the main pool which is between block one and two and has a swim up bar. There is also a proper swimmers 25m pool and a quieter recreational pool situated between blocks 2 and 3. This where we plonked ourselves for the duration of our stay and had a very pleasant time indeed.
The surf is very choppy but great for paddling and the beach is fantastic, especially as its relatively deserted. There are often traders down by the beach and some on it. If you want any trinkets this is the place to buy them as prices are much, much cheaper than the hotel shops. Don’t forget to haggle either. We found that the traders were more than prepared to knock off a few Reals without any real effort, especially if you are buying more than one item. We really wanted a hammock (there are some lovely ones in Praia Do Forte) but we couldn’t fit one in our luggage.
You can walk along the beach to Praia do Forte and visit the village and Turtle Sanctuary, but watch the tide or you’ll find yourself wading or even swimming back. We found the service courteous and friendly throughout the hotel, on the beach, by the pool, in the restaurants, at the bar, at reception, even room service. So much so that our son had his photo taken with three of the staff because we got on with them so well.
Yes, very little English is spoken but so what. A “Bom Dia” and an “Obrigado” here and there gets you a long way. And if you have a real problem there are plenty of staff in the hotel who speak fluent English.
You can see some building work going on next to block 3 but it is far enough away that it never interrupted our holiday. Iberostar are building another hotel next door called the Iberostar Praia Do Forte, which accounts for the building work, and is due to open November 08. It will be more exclusive than the Iberostar Bahia (if that’s possible) and guests will be able to access the Bahia facilities, but Bahia guests will be excluded from the Praia Do Forte.
If you go to Brazil, you must go to Rio. My advice is take the 4 day trip if you can or at least ensure you are there for the Sunday. That’s when Rio’s population hit the beaches and Copacabana and Ipanema are at their best.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A 5 star hotel located in Praia do Forte, only 60km away from Salvador (Brazil). Sea–turtles reserve. 5 restaurants. Tennis courts. SPA and Golf course. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Praia Do Forte Hotel Mata De Sao Joao
- Iberostar Bahia Praia Do
- Iberostar Mata De Sao Joao
- Iberostar Bahia Brazil
- Iberostar Brazil
- Iberostar Praia Do Forte Bahia