There’s so much more to Barracuda Hotel & Villas than its Scandi-chic suites and sumptuous, jungle-fringed villas (each a cluster of suites with a private pool and staff). Its peaceful locale on a clifftop near Resende beach and a stroll from Itacaré sets the scene for oceanside R&R, but there’s also finessed Bahian seduction afoot… The Scandi-meets-Bahian cuisine, curious cocktails and friendly local staff are sure to win you over while its roll call of stuff to do (a trek to a waterfall, surfing lessons, cookery classes, canoeing the mangroves) will secure your affections.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink plus early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability). GoldSmiths get a Barracuda therapy massage.
12 noon; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to advance notice and availability.
Double rooms from £279.98 (BRL1,733), including tax at 5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of 5% per room per night prior to arrival.
Rates include continental breakfast.
It’s no coincidence that there’s a hint of lagom to Barracuda’s luxury meets Bahian vibe: many of the hotel’s original owners hail from Sweden and most of the villas are still Swedish-owned (and stylishly kitted out).
At the hotel
Yoga and meditation deck, free yoga, padel tennis court. In rooms: free WiFi, cable TV, Nespresso machine, minibar, bespoke bath products. In villas: grocery shop ahead of arrival, villa caretaker, housekeeper and chef (daily, 7am–10pm), private pool, fully equipped kitchen, barbecue.
Our favourite rooms
There’s a simple, Scandinavian feel to suites at Barracuda, with concrete floors, muted hues and glossy auburn wood-panelling throughout. Barracuda and forest suites are equal in size, only differing in location and view – the former facing out to sea, the latter overlooking the grounds. In top spot, though, is the unique corner suite, which we love for its spacious layout, wraparound sofa, generous ensuite and bonus balcony off the bedroom. Villas, rather than a single dwelling, are typically clusters of suites around a central building; they sleep up to 16 and come with a team of staff and a private pool.
Atlantic ocean views framed by soaring palms are yours to soak up from the hotel’s infinity pool. Unheated and unattended by a lifeguard, it spans the shaded veranda behind the hotel, where a wooden deck is dotted with floor-level wooden loungers.
There’s no dedicated spa, but in-room massages are available and your covered balcony makes an ideal treatment room.
Boots for forest hikes, a rotation of swimwear, and kaftans or cover-ups to take you from hotel to beach.
Tennis lessons, yoga instruction or personal training can all be arranged. One of the forest suites is wheelchair accessible.
Welcome, although there’s more of an adults-only vibe. A cot (free) or extra bed (charges apply) can be added to some suites or there's one pair of interconnecting suites. The hotel can arrange babysitting and activities can be tailored to suit families.
In bathrooms, single-use takeaways have been replaced with refillable, organic and vegan bath products. You won’t find any plastic straws on offer and energy- and water-saving measures are in place to reduce the hotel’s environmental footprint. The kitchen sources organic ingredients locally wherever possible and employs a Bahian kitchen team experienced in how to handle them. The hotel is involved in a number of local community and education projects, including supporting a rural school and a socially inclusive surfing initiative.
By the grill on the deck – although the ocean view from indoor tables by the window is just as romantic.
Flowing linen, oversized tropical prints and statement chunky jewellery – nothing too tailored or formal.
Fernando Luz – an Itacaré local whose father was a fisherman and whose grandmother’s kitchen wizardry inspired his love of cooking – heads up the strictly Bahian kitchen team at Barracuda: his menu changes frequently with the day’s catch and whatever produce is in season, but whether it’s ceviche, grilled lobster, moqueca (fish stew) or garlic prawns, all plates bring together Bahian flavours fused with Nordic simplicity. Plus there are stacked burgers, plantain chips and herb-flecked seafood pasta to check the comfort-food box. On Saturday nights, chef lights the wood-fired grill on the deck to cook parrilla (a feast of fish and seafood) and the cocktails flow.
Beside the main pool, seamlessly installed in the restaurant, Barracuda Bar is open from 11am until 11pm daily. Across the deck, Rooftop Lounge & Bar crowns the neighbouring annexe. Between 3pm and 8pm, it serves cocktails with uninterrupted ocean views, including signature tipple, cachaça-laced banzeiro.
Breakfast is served between 7am and 10.30am; lunch, 1pm–4pm, and dinner, from 7pm–11pm.
With the hotel bar filling the gaps between breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s no room service at the hotel. For villa guests, each villa has a caretaker on hand between 7am and 10pm who’s happy to organise drinks or snacks as well as breakfast.
Barracuda Hotel & Villas is on the coast near Itacaré in the state of Bahia in north-east Brazil.
An 80-minute drive from the hotel, Ilhéus, aka Bahia-Jorge Amado, is the nearest airport, with daily connections from Salvador and São Paulo. The hotel can arrange private transfers at extra cost.
There’s a secure car park at the hotel and free valet parking.
For helicopter transfers, there’s a helipad in the hotel grounds.
Worth getting out of bed for
Surf-lapped sands, secluded bays and wildlife-rich mangroves create a coastline of contrasts in this north-eastern pocket of Brazil. Inland, go mountain biking on forest-fringed trails, take a waterfall hike, enjoy sunset yoga or try a capoeira class. A Bahian cookery class will introduce you to the local cuisine or sign up to sample the best of Brazilian cocoa. The hotel’s coastal perch is your cue to get reel on an ocean fishing trip, try stand-up paddle boarding or a surfing lesson. Paddle the mangroves in a Canadian canoe and head out to a secret beach down the coast. Take a boat trip in Baía de Camamu to a desert island, snorkel in the shallows and lunch on fresh fish cooked over the fire.
Chef Elies Santos is an Itacaré local who puts his love for Bahian cuisine into elegantly presented plates of seafood from grilled prawns to ceviche at the restaurant of sister hotel Barracuda Boutique in central Itacaré. With a rustic terrace overlooking the bay in Itacaré, Orla55 serves plumply crusted wood-fired pizzas, cold beers and cocktails. Also on the seafront in town you’ll find Jiló, where the simplicity of its banana-yellow, timbered façade and chalkboard menu belie the elegance of dishes such as herb-drizzled octopus and guandu beans and grilled filet mignon with spinach and garlic rice.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this coastal hotel in Bahia and unpacked their surf wax and Havaianas, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Barracuda Hotel & Villas in Itacaré…
A love affair with Itacaré was the spark for Juliana, Daniel and their Swedish friends (hoteliers, businesspeople, athletes and artists) to create a boutique stay here. A decade on, this passion for place is evident at Barracuda Hotel & Villas in everything from the décor to the cuisine, to the activities on offer. Simply dressed suites with more than a hint of pared-back Swedish style let the hotel’s picturesque locale do the talking. Restaurant fare combines Bahian cooking with a light Scandi twist. There is restraint, too, in the hotel’s footprint: just 17 suites and a well dispersed scattering of villas keep the vibe exclusive (and the surrounding rainforest intact). An entirely local team of staff, plus activities rooted in Bahian culture such as capoeira, kayaking the mangroves or fishing out to sea, invite you to fall for this serene stretch of Brazilian coastline, too: even if it’s only a fling, you’re in for a wild ride.