Destination Guide


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Photo by Gabriel Vissoto

The state of Bahia runs along the southeastern coast of Brazil, encompassing close to 600 miles of oceanfront land and a unique rainforest known as the Mata Atlantica. Brazilians refer to Bahia as the “land of happiness,” and anyone who has visited its gorgeous beaches and laid-back towns will agree.


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Lounge at  UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, Bahia, Brazil

UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa

The brainchild of Diesel Creative Director, Wilbert Das, UXUA is made up of nine one-, two-, and three- bedroom casas, over half of which date back to the 16th century Jesuit settlement of the region. After a careful and loving restoration of these units, four additional ones were constructed and all subsequently outfitted with reclaimed materials, local handicrafts as well as Bahian antiques and art.

The resulting décor and ambiance is whimsical, barefoot-beach chic, with a strong and indigenous sense of place. Each casa is a private abode and all are equipped with a dining area, private garden or patio, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, kitchens or kitchenettes and King-sized beds with 600 thread-count Egyptian cotton linens most of which are draped in dreamy mosquito netting. LCD Flatscreens are surreptitiously hidden in each, though doubtfully are ever sought out or switched on.

Four units front the main square, awash in colors like mint green and magenta, while three surround the main restaurant and aventurine crystal-encrusted swimming pool. An additional two are located near the main entrance, where the property boasts a three-treatment room spa, dance studio and small fitness center.

A seven- to ten-minute walk down a dirt road leads guests to UXUA’s rustic beach lounge, the UXUA Praia Bar, housed within a shipwrecked fisherman’s boat under a thatched palapa.

Offering the very epitome of Trancoso – the pulsing rhythm of its Quadrado and access to world-renowned white-sand praias – UXUA is arguably the best address in Bahia.

Bedroom at Estrela d’Agua, Bahia, Brazil

Estrela d’Agua

Leonardo DiCaprio and Gisele Bündchen made this property famous years ago, which means, unfortunately, that if you are not a regular or have one who is willing to pull some strings, it can be nearly difficult to secure a room during the high period.

The main house was once the private residence of legendary Brazilian singer Gal Costa and now houses a dining room, living room and TV room. Its verandah, lined with rocking chairs, faces a fabulous pool and beyond it a twenty-mile long white sand beach. The décor is typical beach chic with lots of white linens, mosquito-net draped beds and Indian crafts or bright pillows to add a splash of color. The twenty-eight guestrooms are located in cottages fanning out around the property. Twenty of the rooms are doubles with small verandahs in the garden and eight are larger Master Suites some with private pools and one with a sweeping view of the ocean. Huge daybeds surround the pool area and a giant thatched hut on the dunes has comfortable seating for those who want to get out of the sun without leaving the beach scene. There’s a small gym and boutique and the concierge can arrange water sports and excursions. No children under eleven are permitted.

Tip: Whether you stay here or elsewhere, be sure to come for lunch at one of the tables between the pool and the dunes and to stop in at the small Richard’s outpost for some shopping.

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