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“Great, but with a Sting”
Review of Estrela D'Agua

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Estrela D'Agua
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Trancoso
Reviewed 1 February 2014

Discussions of what is “good value for money” are interminable and usually inconclusive – rather like those of religion and politics. There are so many variables in such a debate but, common to all, are what you are prepared to pay versus the price of the product.

The Trancoso hotel Estrela D’Agua is a fine example of the paradoxical kind of place that provokes such questioning.

I have given rather a long description of the hotel and surroundings because Trancoso is pretty far from anywhere and anyone thinking of going to the hotel needs to have a fair idea of what will be met. So if you are an impatient reader my apologies for this pretty long-winded description.

The hotel is a 90 minute drive from Porto Seguro and is situated just outside the village of Trancoso (a less than 10 minute drive) and right on the beach. It has several two story 4 apartment buildings and a variety of houses of varying degrees of luxury and facilities. These are all set back and hidden from the beach surrounded by beautiful gardens, mainly trees, inhabited by many birds of the most varied types. As you walk down to the beach you come to the outside-inside restaurant, lounge or reading room, sushi bar and bar followed by two swimming pools. There are hammocks, a beach bar and several covered areas overlooking the beach and sea.

The architecture and decoration is what might be called rustic smart and is indeed most pleasant and in tune with the beach, Atlantic rainforest and mangrove environment. We stayed in a one-room apartment with bathroom and veranda. The room was not large but was comfortable and, as already mentioned, pleasantly decorated. The bathroom was spacious with plenty of hot water. Housekeeping operated twice a day so there were always fresh good quality towels and a made-up bed. Internet access is free but liable to go on and off like a failing light bulb. The air conditioning in our room was silent and most efficient. There is no room service.

Breakfast is substantial and varied. Tons of fruit, cereal, bread, cakes, local dishes and freshly made eggs, any way you like. Lunch and dinner and the sushi bar are available most of the time and meals can be had inside or outside. Shorts and flip-flops are quite acceptable attire. Beach umbrellas, towels, tables and refreshments are available on the beach in front of the hotel with an army of beach boys to hand.

The beach in front of the hotel stretches for several miles either way (North or South). To the South lies Trancoso and if you walk that way you will quickly come to the village area and a huge beach invasion of red umbrellas, tables and chairs. If lots of people, thumping music and crummy food are your thing then this is the place to be.

If, on the other hand, you like peace and less populated surroundings then head North. While we were there, during our mid week, mid January stay, and on our early morning walks, we had miles of golden sand to ourselves. The beach was spotless and in five days we did not see one plastic bag or a beer can, unlike the devastated beaches in Rio which are not only covered in trash but also are littered with bright orange trash bins – mostly ignored. A fresh water river appears after about 40 minutes, said to be clean, which affords a refreshing dip before heading back.

The staff is most friendly, courteous and happy to assist in any way. Just out of interest most of the more senior staff are from the south of Brazil while locals undertake the more simple functions.

To run an establishment such as this cannot be easy as everything must be brought in from afar, often by ‘plane – including staff and guests. The hotel owners have invested heavily in the brilliant location, in the accommodations, in the facilities and services and charge accordingly.

And here is the sting in the “tale”.

We were happy to pay R$1,850.00 (some US$770.00) per day for a four night/five day stay. Not cheap, but in our opinion pretty good value for what was offered.

But we were certainly not happy to pay R$8.00 (or US$3.50) for a 200ml bottle of water when a liter bottle could be bought in Trancoso for R$2.80, or just over US$1.00 for five time the amount of water. And it was not as if the water, an essential to life, was a French Perrier or a Finnish Veen – just a local product in a plastic bottle. Going further a Catena Alta Chardonnay was on the menu at about R$550 when it can be bought from the Brazilian distributor at R$136. Not to mention a half bottle of mediocre white at R$110 a bottle. It was hard to find a single dish on the restaurant or sushi bar menus at less than R$100 or US$40. Well, you might say, if you are happy to pay US$770 a night why are you whingeing about the price of a miserable little bottle of water? The answer is simply that it is not good value for money, whatever your income. And I can think of many expensive European or North American hotels where water is complimentary. No big deal really, but brilliant when compared to the negativity of an exorbitant charge for a drink of water.

Other criticisms, or lets call them suggestions, are less obvious. Unless you want to take a twenty minute walk into Trancoso, eating dust or deep in mud depending on the weather, then you have to call for a R$20,00 taxi ride. How about a shuttle service in the hotel’s own large car – it has one! And how about some hotel run beach activities – sail boating, snorkelling at the reefs just off the beach, kayaking, and so on, rather than the exorbitant R$2.500 (about US$1,000) for the hire of a motorboat and pilot.

If you travel by private jet or helicopter you will probably find these criticisms trivial. But, if you are just “ordinary” folk, then be aware to beware. This is a fine hotel, but with a sting!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank ifp43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 - 18 of 350 reviews

Reviewed 20 June 2013

Trancoso is picture-perfect, and this hotel sits on a priviledged location of this village.
Every detail is charming, and the materials and textures of the room and social areas carry a local touch. It´s a luxury, pricey place disguised as an 'inn'. Quite romantic.
The food is extra-expensive but excellent. But then again, everything in and around Trancoso is.
Service was not perfect. One unpleasant incident ocurred, but we have talked to a manager and we trust these glitches will be addressed, so no need to disclose them here.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Fernanda V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2013

My husband and I have just returned from a three week trip to South America, ending with 10 relaxing days at the Estrela D'Agua.

If your looking for somewhere to totally zone out this is it. The place is very quiet with an excellent pool area, great friendly staff, a stunning beach and comfortable accommodation.

It was even made more special by the hotel kindly laying on a free massage, meal and champagne for us both.

The staff were all very nice, with particular praise going to Lucas who was a star and helped translate the menu at the restaurant as not many people spoke English. The Dutch manager and the red-headed lady from reception were also lovely and helpful with arranging our time there.

The food was tasty but very expensive. We were staggered when our small bowl of Edamame on our first evening set us back almost £25!

We also grew a little tired of the lack of variety at breakfast but perhaps we stayed longer than most people do when visiting.

The nearby village was only five minutes away by taxi but has a selection of really lovely restaurants on offer. El Gordo was great.

Other negatives include a cold shower, noisy air conditioning and lots of mosquitoes. The gym which we had been told about also wasn't open and we made use of the coffee machine in the room only to find out we then had to pay £4 a coffee when we paid our final bill.

Overall we had a lovely time as the main focus of our visit was to chill after a very hectic few months. But perhaps there were a few rough edges which could be ironed out as it is an expensive place to stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in an upper level suite which was basic but very comfortable. Just beware it can be noisy...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Beciwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2013

Just back from my 3rd stay at this wonderful pousada. My first visit was 10 years ago. Neither Trancoso or the Estrela D'Aqua have changed much since the first visit and both village and hotel remain truly magical - a near unique mix of the unspoiled and laid back but with sophistication and good service stirred in - and all in a world class location.

Estrela D'Aqua is set on a magnificent beach and back from the perfect white strip of sand you find the bar and beach restaurant , 2 lovely pools and plenty of shaded space. 20 paces further inland and its the main building where delicious breakfast is served and off to the side -all new- a pretty good sushi bar. Behind is a beautiful grassy garden of Eden with exotic trees, flowers, sandy paths and the pousada's rooms and villas. Even a humming bird feeding at the mouth of a massive red flower. I have only stayed in the villas and they are fabulous ; each with their own small garden, a pretty pool and a massive day bed outside with white drapes. The villas are spacious, simply furnished but attractive and comfy. Each with a big bathroom. Vibrant colors everywhere.

Service on the beach and at breakfast is pretty good. Food is excellent and varied and there is a wonderful array of drinks to douse your thirst.Bedrooms are kept very clean and there is a good turn down service. So there is an efficiency to the running of this most casual place which is most welcome.

So why only 4 out of 5? Cold water in the shower on a couple of occasions, an antiquated a/c system in the bedroom which worked but was incredibly noisy and finally: no gym. Indeed even worse: a gym which is now a store room. Could they bring the running machine to the room? No...a vital part was missing. So I ran on the beach instead- at low tide. Fabulous.

There may be one or twp slicker or smarter pousadas now in Trancoso itself or even up the coast but Estrela is unique and still the best in my view and I will return!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank jeremy d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2011

Located in Gal Costa’s (Brazilian Singer) original house is Pousada Estrela D’Agua. They are a part of the Relais & Chateaux group and surely live up to expectations! The pousada is located right on the beach, so waking up to that fabulous view of the ocean every morning was amazing! Me and my boyfriend had an extremely relaxing stay at the pousada, and forgot about the real world. Breakfast every morning was delicious and served with much care by their swimming pool. The location is also ideal, as it is close to the Quadrado (where everything happens) however right on the beach! Def. recomend.

Room Tip: The Master Duplex suites are fabulous. They offer a breathtaking view of the ocean, which is def a t...
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  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank BrazilianGuru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2011

Just came back from Estrela D'Agua! We had a very confortable Master Suite, with nice furniture and a huge bathroom. Wonderful bed and soooo many soft towels.The beach was almost desert this time of the year. The service is the best of all! The staff is there for you all the time. Breakfast is delicious with many options of breads , fruits and sweets. We had lunch and dinner some days and it was always perfect! If you are looking for privacy, confort in Trancoso (south of Bahia) this is the place.

Room Tip: Some suites has pools and others outside jacuzzi, and just one (without pool, with a inside jacuzzi...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank brazilian2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 February 2011

I went there in september to spend four days, it was a holiday. The room was good, comfortable, the bed was soft and the bathroom was clean. I really loved the breakfast with tapioca, cocada, natural yougurt and fruit salad. The lunch was ok, but not as delicious as the breakfast. The staff were always trying to keep me feel comfortable and satisfied. The only problem is that the Inn was not so close to the center (Quadrado), so every night I needed to call a taxi.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kfigueir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Estrela D'Agua

Address: Estrada Arraial Trancoso No. 1100 | Praia dos Nativos, Porto Seguro, State of Bahia 45810-000, Brazil
Phone Number:
Region: Brazil > State of Bahia > Porto Seguro > Trancoso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Trancoso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Trancoso
#2 Spa Hotel in Trancoso
#5 Family Hotel in Trancoso
#9 Romantic Hotel in Trancoso
Price Range: £378 - £1,063 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Estrela D'Agua 4.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Trancoso, by the sand of Nativos' Beach, Estrela D'Agua is the perfect getaway for those seeking comfort and sophistication. As a result of the impeccable quality of its services, the inn is part of the reputable Associacao Roteiros de Charme, which maintains strict environmental policies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Estrela d`Agua Hotel Trancoso
Estrela D'Agua Trancoso, Brazil

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