Pestana Convento do Carmo Hotel
What We Love
- The restaurant and bar tucked in a large, arcaded, tree-filled courtyard (the original cloister)
- A sympathetic conversion with very spacious rooms that honor the original layout of the building
- A small but pretty pool (originally a large fountain), which is great for cooling off.
What To Know
- Security can be an issue in Salvador. Leave your expensive camera and jewelry at home and dress down when you go out
- Always take pre-booked taxis at night, or hire a guide/driver
- Free WiFi
- Room Service
Elegant, old-world Brazil, so don’t expect bikinis and bling in here. Care has been taken not to overwhelm the architecture of the building, so the design is tasteful but conservative, allowing the wood and stone floors, beamed ceilings and decorative tiling to catch your eye. Public areas have slouchy sofas covered in paisleys or brocades, rugs strewn across flagstone floors, 19th-century oil paintings on the stuccoed walls, and heavy merlot-colored curtains at the windows.
Bed and Bath
Spacious and low key. Dark wooden floors are complemented by plain white walls, a color scheme that is echoed in the marble bathrooms. The large beds have 300-thread count Egyptian-cotton linen, and there is a pillow menu should you wish to use it; occasionally a modern version of a four poster is on offer. There may be a splash of blue, green or ochre in a lampshade, a door, or a brocaded chaise longue, but otherwise these are cozy, unfussy rooms.
Unwind in the hotel’s small Spa L’Occitane, which has a sauna and a small team of therapists offering a standard range of massages and beauty treatments. Traditional Brazilian-Portuguese cuisine is served in the restaurant as well as south American and international wines. You’ll rub shoulders with local businessmen who come to eat in the sophisticated, clubby space. The bar on the other side is great at any time of day, but is especially welcoming for a nightcap. It’s quiet and cool here, and you can take a midnight dip in the shallow pool before retiring to bed.
In the Area
Soak up the vibe and the glorious architecture of the Pelourinho on your doorstep. You’re minutes from the main square, the Largo do Pelourinho, the Catedral Basilica, the extraordinary Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, a church built by and for African slaves, and a host of smaller baroque churches, bars, cafes, craft shops and galleries. You’ll see plenty of women wandering around in traditional Bahian dress, and at night there is live music and capoeira at virtually every street corner. Salvador is built on two levels (high and low). To reach the lower city, take the Lacerdia Elevator, and explore the beachside areas. Hire a guide through the hotel and you can see the best of Salvador in a day.
How to Get There
I'm not sure where the less than five stars ratings come from. The hotel is an old convent. It has been thoroughly transformed but the space of the old building remains. Our room was huge and well-appointed with windows overlooking the courtyard: simply top-grade. There is an outside pool with loungers, which catches the sun until mid afternoon. Breakfast was excellent and served al-fresco if you wish. The reception staff are multi-lingual and ever helpful. The neighbourhood felt safe and we ate and drank locally: turn right out of the front door and you will find plenty of local bars that also serve food. We would have spent a fifth day here on our return from Morro... but prices had gone up!
This is a beautiful building in historic gem. Staff is courteous. Room smelled like mildew and bathroom like sewage. Bed was made of two twin mattresses together with thick line divider in the middle. Not comfortable. Breakfast was poor quality.
The place is fairly charming, but as with Pestana group, th 2 Brazil hotels we stayed at appear weary and dated and tired. This hotel though has huge potential to be a world class hotel, but sadly many things are overlooked. The furniture is badly worn and distressed. In brochures and website, The colours are vibrant creating a classical feel and look. The swimming pool area is to be honest a disgrace and is the heart of the building. The sun loungers are really awful and dirty - guys why aren’t you looking at these things? The bedrooms again are dirty, battered furniture and dirty rugs on floors. Our glass in bedroom was dirty, drinks splashed up the walls and not cleaned. Comfy beds. WiFi in most areas is poor. Breakfast was good! Barman very attentive And reception staff really lovely and helpful and full of smiles. The staff are great, just working in a tired and unloved building. It truly has huge potential in the communal areas. Hope they address this given the magnificence of the building.
We stayed at two Pestana locations on our trip through Brazil. Each was a little disappointing. I guess you get what you pay for. I’d regard the Rio and Salvador (do Carmo) in Pelourinho as budget hotels. Rio we paid about £75 a night and Salvador was about £40 a night.
Given the architecture and location of the converted convent it could and should be stunning. The place felt a little on the dirty and grubby side. Pool area quite a depressing place, you wouldn’t want to linger. Pool furniture stained, bird poo over it and generally worn and shabby. The whole courtyard felt neglected. The pictures online make it look so cool but don’t be fooled.
The rooms. Granted it’s in an old convent. The room size was fine and I get the windows are small but please address the lighting inside the rooms. It felt dark and poky. There was an air of general mustiness about the room and the drains really stank one night inside the room.
We only had a night in Rio but spent 4 in Salvador. The breakfast was adequate but uninspiring. One poor lady doing all the running around as they started to run out of crockery and scrambled eggs at the same time. Was a little bedlam. The place was busy however.
The staff we very welcoming and friendly.
Didn’t eat here so can’t report on the restaurant. We found one outstanding place to eat Cuco Bistro.
The hotel is a wonderful old convent in the center of Bahia but the structure is totally decadent: old rooms with broken pieces for instance. The same in the shared area. The restaurant is average.
The worst thing of this experience was the service provided: they were not able to organise and book the activity requested even they confirmed those to us and we discovered this only at the moment of the pick up as none of them contacted us. A lot of disorganisation!!