Kenoa, Barra de São Miguel
If paradise exists, it’s here, at this supremely sophisticated resort, which was sustainable long before it became so urgent.
We’ve seen a lot, but few places as exceptional as this. A resort painstakingly and ecologically devised by Portuguese entrepreneur Pedro Marques, in the heart of a nature reserve. Eucalyptus trunks contrast with the fine native architecture, and Osvaldo Tenório’s intimate and primitive design. Constructed along five kilometres of virgin sands, there are 23 suites and secluded villas, as well as a common area with infinity pools overlooking the sea, where staff drift among the white beds, serving guests a bit of everything. There’s a wine bar made of glass with a view, an Osklen shop and an amazing Caudalie spa in Japanese cedar, all separated by a sandy path. Other sublime things include the food made by chef César Santos, who has created superb Nordeste and Portuguese cuisine. Waking up and watching the sun rise from the deck of the (heated) swimming pool, above a small garden with sea view, makes us believe in some form of immortality.
Rua Escritor Jorge de Lima, 58, Barramar \\\ kenoaresort.com \\\ from €416
Paru, São Miguel dos Milagres
Natural, zen-like decor, divine cuisine and a magical scenario.
This lovely boutique hotel in Praia do Marceneiro was built with only natural materials and designed by the Angeli Leão architecture studio. Tito Uchoa spent his life in public service, his last position being secretary of state for tourism in Alagoas, and “wanted something that offered work and longevity”, as he says, “everyone needing something done keeps you active”. So, he decided to live “where you spend your holidays” and build this spot with 12 rooms in zen-like white, where the wood and solid stone design echoes the peace of nature; next to the shower, there are plants growing. Breakfast is à la carte with juices, breads and freshly baked cakes (the banana muffin is incredible); dinner comes from the sea and land; and the desserts are made in heaven. If you star gaze in one of the hammocks or rocking beds, you may never want to return home.
Povoado Marceneiro \\\ paruhotel.com.br \\\ from €296
Camurim Grande, Maragogi
Leafy trees heaving with birds and beachside chalets.
SWe are welcomed by smiling staff and friendly white crabs. Everything oozes hospitality. Marcelo Lacerda moved away 29 years ago and one day realised he could “open up the house and welcome people” on picture postcard beaches. The lodge occupies 5% of the five hectares and boasts beautiful and leafy shadows on the esplanade from the trees his father planted: “It’s becoming an oasis, always full of birds”. And there are also small marmosets and iguanas. The restaurant boasts great variety, with simple, fresh food prepared by Rogério Costa, which can be enjoyed to the sound of gentle rhythms in the evening. The spacious chalets have thatched roofs and balconies, with gorgeous bathrooms and bathtubs. It’s easy to get lost in time here. In the New Year, on the same coast, Marcelo will open the new pousada Antonina, where we can eat the finest lobster, octopus and salmon grilled with rosemary, bikini still dripping
Rodovia AL 101 Norte, km 124, Maragogi \\\ camurimgrande.com.br \\\ from €340
Light, luxury and comfort in the state capital with sea view.
The founder of the Ritz chain in Brazil, César Sampaio Coelho, also worked at the hotel of the same name in Lisbon. We stayed on the Bali Floor, which was inspired by the Indonesian islands. There’s a canopy bed and large windows, through which the rolling sea lulls us to sleep. The bathroom is immersed in light and there’s a wooden tub for long baths. As part of an ecological initiative at the hotel, there’s a floor decorated by Osvaldo Tenório with wood from reforestation or certified demolition, as well as bamboo fibres, coconut bark, recycled finishings, in addition to economical energy and water consumption. Everything is spacious and comfortable, such as the common areas, where there are large sofas and a bar. The generous and varied breakfast is best enjoyed outside with a view of the large swimming pools and palm trees.
Avenida Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes de Brito, 546 \\\ ritzlagoadaanta.com.br \\\ from €75
by Patrícia Barnabé /// photos Fernando Bianchi
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