Villa Bahia, a refurbishment of two adjoining colonial residences, is in the heart of the evocative historic centre of Salvador, choc-a-bloc with a jumble of colourfully painted houses, shops, bars and restaurants. The cobbled alleys resound with the drumbeat of Brazil’s Afro-Portuguese heritage, but ensconced in this charming guesthouse, behind soundproofed windows, you feel as though you're in a bubble of calm.
The property has 17 individually decorated guestrooms distributed over three floors. Conceived and inspired by the French proprietor, the rooms' décor and furnishings whisk you back to the colonial era. In true boutique style, each is different and has a charm and character of its own, whether it be highly polished wooden floors, four-poster beds, Portuguese tiles or lofty wooden ceilings. Some rooms have a Juliet balcony or terrace. The three rooms on the top floor are smaller but ample compensation comes in the form of a large outdoor area complete with Jacuzzi.
Relaxation is a high priority here and the communal rooftop sun terrace has great views. There is also a restaurant serving up distinctive Bahian cuisine with a French flavour and a small ground pool on a leafy patio. The lobby bar is a fine place to unwind with a cup of the hotel's justly renowned coffee.