Pousada Casa Vila Bela...

After the long journey from London, a slightly crazy tax ride into the Pelourinho when the driver couldn't find our Pousada so drove at high speed round and round broken up cobbled streets, making us thankful we hadn't yet had our dinner, we finally arrived to a big warm welcome at the Pousada.

The deceptively small frontage leads into a magnificent house filled with antiques and local artwork brightly coloured against the dark wooden furniture and light walls. The piece de resistence is the terrace with a grandiose view of the Baia de Todos Santos and Salvador, it is here we had breakfast every morning and retired to after a long day of sight seeing. Filled with wrought iron chairs and marble topped tables surrounded by pots of plants and flowers, it was the perfect spot to relax and watch the sunset, as you can see from the photographs below.

Brazilian Gerusa and her French husband Stefan are the perfect hosts, ready to help or advise you with even the most insignificant of questions. They are a fountain of knowledge on the local area providing useful information, such as suggesting the new Rodin Museum to us as a good place to take Matilda. Always available for a chat they are a fascinating couple with intriguing stories. They and their staff were endlessly patient with Matilda too, who they would happily entertain and look after whilst we had our coffee or checked on emails on the free computer in the main reception area.

Views from the terrace

The Pousada is on the outskirts of the Pelourinho, a short walk or hike up the hills to where all the action is, but in a relatively quiet picturesque street where one can escape to if it all gets too much!

Each of the rooms has a different Brazilian theme, we stayed in the family room 'Amazonias' decorated in a very bright green accessorised with Rustic Amazonian art and furniture. The stone bathroom with a separate walk in shower and deep stone bath which Matilda took full advantage of was especially impressive. Our room faced the street, though I understand that some of the rooms in the back have terraces with a view, I don't think it is absolutely necessary, as you are welcome to sit at the main guest terrace at anytime, plus we loved watching the local life go by from our window.

The Aladdin's cave that was the antique shop opposite which had a slightly different display every day.

Breakfast is a wonderful affair with fresh fruit, juices, eggs made to order, homemade Brazilian cakes (be sure to try the Passion fruit tarts which were to die for), fresh bread, Tapioca, cheeses, hams, salamis - a veritable feast. Needless to say we didn't eat lunch whilst we were there.

If you want an impersonal luxurious five star hotel with TVs in your bathroom then this place isn't for you, but if you want a traditional big Brazilian welcome in a small well loved Pousada, then get booking! We were very sad to leave and long to return to our beautiful home from home that was Casa Vila Bela. Gerusa and Stefan, if you are reading this, we look forward to seeing you in London next year!!