Settle into your private jungle bungalow at Txai Itacaré resort and prepare for an adventure that’s big on all things Bahia. For starters, your Atlantic Forest abode has been constructed with local bamboo and palm fronds. The beach, which is just a coconut’s throw away, has unspoilt charm, and the hotel’s capoeira classes and caipirinhas are equally authentic.
Get this when you book through us:
One cacao farm expedition for two, during which you can taste-test freshly harvested cacao
Noon, but flexible, depending on availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm, but also flexible.
Double rooms from $440.88 (BRL1,850), excluding tax at 5 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast.
At the hotel
Private beach, six swimming pools, spa, gym, two tennis courts, helipad, reading room, gaming and TV room, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, minibar, Nespresso coffee maker, bathrobes and Natura Ekos toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Anyone seeking total privacy (we’re looking at you, honeymooners) may want to stick to the bungalows, as some of the apartment rooms (Superior and Superior Twin) are built in blocks of four. Plus, all of the bungalows have private wooden decks that are built on stilts for uninterrupted views. If you can swing it, the Premium Bungalows have private pools nestled between palm groves.
Serious swimmers can rack up laps in either the 50-metre pool or the 25-metre oasis, which sits near a smaller children’s pool. More laid-back bathers might venture over to the leisure pool just beyond the Cacau restaurant. Palm trees and loungers surround all of these splash spots, which are also just steps from the beach. There's also a heated pool that is part of the spa and has sweeping ocean views from its hilltop locale, and a second children's pool.
A visit to the property’s Shamash Spa is an adventure in itself. Treatments include a game-changing foot ritual that’s inspired by Chinese medicine (Step on the Clouds), and a serotonin-boosting therapy in which an Ayurvedic specialist drizzles oil over the 'third eye' to stimulate the brain (Shirodhara).
When in Brazil, sport teeny bikinis and tiny trunks (plus body confidence to spare). Also, don't forget your capoeira pants, as you can learn to kick and cartwheel at the resort.
Welcome. Youngsters up to age six stay free. Cots for babies, high chairs and baby baths are available at no extra charge. The restaurants offer children's menus, and babysitting can be arranged for around $60 an hour.
Set on 227 acres within the Itacaré-Serra Grande Environmental Protection Area, the resort does its best to blend seamlessly with the surroundings. There’s the property’s ongoing sea turtle preservation project, as well as the ‘Companions of Txai’ initiative, which promotes sustainable agriculture by sourcing organic fruit and vegetables from local families for the hotel’s restaurants.
There’s not a bad table at Cacau, but for extra romance, arrange for a candlelit dinner on the beach.
Easy-breezy beachwear; bonus if you sport anything made of bamboo.
Come mealtime, it will be difficult to peel yourself away from the ocean vistas and palm-tree panoramas so it’s a good thing you don’t have to. Breakfast is served in Orixás, where you can munch on coalho (wood-fired cheese sticks), as well as tropical fruit, breads, cold cuts and fresh juice to start the day. For lunch, grab either a table or a hammock in the sand at the appropriately named Beach Restaurant. Txai’s dinner spot, Cacau, is also open to the oh-so-amazing elements, and features the best in Brazilian cookery. Feast on shrimp stew or oxtail steak wrapped in banana leaves and request a bottle of vinho from the cellar.
The beach bar will be your go-to during sunbathing hours. At night, Txai’s communal drawing room transforms into Casarão Vermelho, the pop-up cocktail lounge that will forever change your idea of what a caipirinha should be.
Breakfast runs 7am to 11am; lunch is 1pm to 4pm, and dinner is 8pm to 11pm. At the bar, sip cachaça until 11pm.
Order sandwiches, salads, pasta and desserts from 7am to 11pm.
Rodovia Ilhéus - Itacaré Km 48,Itacaré - BA,45530-000
Txai Itacaré is just off the highway that connects the cities of Itacaré and Ilhéus on the coast of southern Bahia.
The nearest domestic airport is Ilhéus, which has daily flights from Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. From there, it's just a 50-minute drive to the resort and your first poolside coconut water.
It's possible to hop in a rental at Ilhéus and park for free at the resort, but wheels aren't a necessity. The resort can set you up with tours to all the major sights in the area, plus they have a free shuttle to the nearby town of Itacaré.
If you really want to make an entrance, fly in by chopper. Txai has an onsite helipad; price upon request.
Worth getting out of bed for
If it’s beach you’re after, you’ve hit the sea-and-sand jackpot. The hotel rests on a seaside stretch of Bahia called the Cocoa Coast, a surfer's paradise originally named for its cocoa farms. There are 16 beaches in the area around Txai alone. You’ll get to know Itacarezinho really well, as it’s the one right outside your bungalow, but you should also consider a visit to the nearby beaches of Camboinha, Havaizinho (which means 'Little Hawaii' in Portuguese) and Engenhoca. Palm-lined hiking paths that weave through the rainforest connect all of these sandy sanctuaries. Prepare for about a 40-minute journey out and traverse the trails alone, or book a tour with Txai’s onsite Excursion House. The organised outing to Jeribucaçu beach is worth it, as this spot is a bit further north and the trip includes transport. Plus, you’ll get to take a dip under the Usina waterfall.
Beyond beaches, get a taste for local history on a tour of São Francisco Farm, a major cocoa producer of yesteryear. You’ll learn how cocoa was cultivated and processed and discover how the region made its money for most of the 20th century. You’ll also finish the day with a splash in the Tijuípe waterfall, because it wouldn’t be a rainforest excursion without the requisite waterfall bath.
Back at the resort, learn artful evasion techniques in a capoeira class taught by a local guru, or take advantage of all that beachfront and hang loose in a surf lesson. If you prefer backhands to barrels, tennis tutorials are available on the property’s courts.
If you need a rest from the resort’s culinary circuit, take the free nightly shuttle into Itacaré, which is just 20 minutes away. There you’ll find Bahian fare at laid-back establishments like Manga Rosa (+55 73 3251 3095) at 249 Rua Pedro Longo. This eco-friendly eatery – they’ve earned the region’s coveted Carbon Free Tourism designation – specialises in dishes like shrimp with honey ginger and fillet of fish with plantain. Vegetarians get love too in Itacaré, and the place to be is just down the road at Alamaim (+55 73 3251 3462), 204 Rua Pedro Longo. The menu is meat-free Arabic, but the dishes are so delish that even eaters with carnivorous tendencies will gobble up the tabbouleh and moussaka without thinking twice.
No matter how many gnarly wipeouts you've endured, you can still hang with local surfers at Tio Gu Café Creperia (+55 73 3251 2084), which is at 488 Rua Pedro Longo in Itacaré. Grab a guava crepe and discuss all things epic. Other fillings include chocolate with banana, cinnamon and cashew nuts, as well as savoury options, like steak with Gorgonzola cream sauce.
Slip on your dancing shoes (or boogie flip-flops) and follow the beats of the zabumba drum to Mar e Mel (+55 73 3251 2358) on Praia da Concha in Itacaré. There's live forró, Brazil’s answer to country music, four nights a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday). Between songs, sip a Mel na Concha, their specialty concoction of rum, honey and nutmeg.
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 beach resort in Bahia and unpacked their Havaianas and coconut handicrafts, a full account of their luxury break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Txai Itacaré…
When checking out of Txai Itacaré the only concern you’ll have is that you didn’t take advantage of every last lounge-worthy locale on the property. After all, with 227 acres, you have a lot of ground to cover. No doubt you’ll start with the chaise right outside your private rainforest bungalow. You’ll spend some mornings luxuriating on the beach with fresh coconut water in hand, and others parked near the breakfast buffet to catch a whiff of freshly-baked Bahian sweets. Keep in mind, there are five pools at Txai, including the spa’s hilltop stunner, so unfurl your towel and get to relaxing as soon as possible.
Should you book a hike with the resort, you may think that you’ve squandered precious hours for lazing, but fear not – even a jungle trek includes time for lolling about in a waterfall. Then there’s the reading room, the beachfront hammocks and the two communal living rooms outfitted in plush furniture and surrounded by tranquil reflection pools. Yes, you’ll have your work cut out for you, but we have faith in your unparalleled talent for unwinding.
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