We're just flying home to Australia after having spent the last 4 nights of our holiday at this superb hotel on the Quadrado in Trancoso. We feel a little melancholic to be honest. Believe the overwhelmingly positive reviews, but with the following considerations:
-this is more a cultural immersion than perhaps you'll experience in other parts of tourist Brazil. Don't arrive thinking you're going to go shopping in luxury malls or hip clubs. Firstly, you'll be disappointed because that's not Trancoso, and secondly that would miss the point of coming to this special town. This is the sort of place where the locals play soccer on the irregular, grassy square outside the hotel, where dogs on the street with roll over for a scratch and their owners will talk to you, where a horse wanders randomly around the place (no one could explain this to us) and where restaurants serve traditional, decent food (mostly- see below). This is a side of Brazil you won't see in Copacabana or São Paulo.
-the hotel does not come cheap, all things added up. But that's not to say it doesn't provide excellent value. We don't regret anything that we did whilst here, and I would encourage you to take full advantage of what it and the staff have on offer.
The thing that makes the hotel are the staff. Never before have we known the names of everyone we saw at a hotel, and this reflects the relationship they build with you when you're there, and all of them can be relied upon to help create a unique experience for you. No request is inconvenient, they always have an idea, or a suggestion or a plan, and they open up genuinely about their lives and take interest in yours. Johnny, Paula, Juarez, Rogerio, Lilly, Carlos, Erika, Kelly and Nalva... These are just the people we got to know by name whilst there, and there are others who make the rest of the stay so effortless. Bob, one of the owners, happened to be there and is gregarious and charming, engaged us pretty much every day.
The hotel is simple and beautiful, being very subtly a part of the village. We stayed in Seu Joao, which was perfect for us. The restaurant is fantastic- the breakfast was ample and delicious, and lunch/dinner was superb. Best food we've had in Brazil for sure. Johnny is pretty persuasive, and we would almost always eat more than we planned- we're on holiday, I guess :).
Activity wise- it rained pretty heavy at time during our stay, and initially we were a little sad about this- but there's so much to do, and even if you do nothing, it's so nice to chillout in the rooms. In the end, because of the wet weather, we probably experienced more of the real town that we would have otherwise. Capoeira training - if you're even a bit physically active, do this. Best work out. At least go an watch- its amazing. Ride horses on the beach, wander the square, do a cooking class at the hotel.
When I was trying to think what really made this hotel different, I realised that it was the feeling that it because it didn't feel so much like a hotel. It's more like a cross between a home and a boutique resort, and you get to stay with e family that lives there.
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- Also Known As:
- UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa Trancoso, Brazil