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
Stayed at this beautiful historic hotel for four nights at Christmas. If you enjoy visiting stunning historic old buildings then why not stay in one! Can honestly say that I have never enjoyed a hotel as much as this - it felt like a privilege to be there.
Yes the food could be improved, service at the bar is a little too relaxed and the rooms are a little bit tired - but if this bothers you that much you’re missing the point - it is just an honour to visit let alone stay in such an incredibly beautiful and amazing building
Staff as well were very helpful and friendly and the location is perfect - just a few minutes walk to the amazing Pelourinho square with the fantastic street drummers and many great restaurants.
Also next door is a fantastic restaurant (Poro) and great cafe (Cafelier). If you really want to immerse yourself in Bahia culture I don’t think you could choose a better hotel!
We stayed at Pestana Convento do Carmo Hotel for 3 nights in a Deluxe Double room (305). Located in the old historic section of Salvador it is an excellent base to explore the old part of town. We found it safe to walk around at night with some lovely bars and restaurants nearby. Reception staff spoke good English and were warm and friendly and gave plenty of advice re local attractions, bars and restaurants. Hotel is a converted old convent so has major historical significance and has church and museum attached to it. Room was massive with an oversized bed (could have slept 4 people in it) but was extremely comfortable. Room was a little on the dark side but you must remember it is a 400 year old building. Shower and toilet area was large with no complaints as to water pressure from shower. Was lovely. Downstairs has a lovely pool area to relax by with plenty of chairs and lounges and towels were supplied poolside. Restaurant and bar areas are run by outside company so you cannot recharge costs to your room and service a little slow. The only reason I did not give this a full rating was the breakfast. Was by far the worst breakfast we had in Brazil in our month of travels. Besides the lack of variety it was the tap water that was served. I drank from the hotel taps and I know what it tasted like and this was definitely tap water not filtered water. Really not acceptable for such a lovely hotel. Having said that would definitely stay here again.
This hotel is beautiful set in the historic centre of Salvador. It’s true it’s a little run down but the building is over 400 years old so it seems perfectly normal. The staff were lovely and the pool was fantastic after a hot day. The rooms were large and comfortable. One negative point - the breakfast was pretty average at best and I think they could improve there. Overall 4/5.
My two friends and I had always admired the Convento do Carmo on our previous trips to Salvador da Bahia ever since the ancient convent was converted from a lovely building with historical significance to a high-end inn. However, the Convento always seemed to be priced out of our budget. Thus, when we made our reservations nearly a year before our stay, we were presently surprised to find affordable rooms at this lovely hotel. Then, just before our visit, we discovered that room rates were reduced even more, ostensibly due to the end of Carnival 2018 in Salvador.
The reception staff was very warm and welcoming. Instead of having to stand at a cold-appearing counter, we were seated in comfortable chairs behind a desk in what appeared to be an old library room. The gentleman who welcomed us could not have been nicer. He also served as a concierge and provided us with the names of multiple restaurants, along with mapping out their exact locations, all of which turned out to be superb recommendations. Kudos to the marvelous reception and concierge staff!
The rooms in the Convento are lovely, with old-world touches, high ceilings, and comfortable beds and bathrooms. One of my friends got a view with a partial view of Todos os Santos Bay. I was given a room with a view of the exquisite courtyard and pool. The young porter who assisted us with our luggage, Robeson, was super nice, always with a warm, friendly smile, and answered all our questions.
The large pool with ample chaise lounges and covered cabanas was a “plus”. Each morning, I watched as the staff kept it clean of plant debris from the surrounding gardens and shade trees. My friends and I did not use the small gym during our stay, but it appeared OK for a basic workout.
The only reason for not giving the Convento a full 5-point rating was the breakfast, which seemed rather limited for a hotel of this level of quality. For example, when we stayed at another pousada in the Santo Antônio neighborhood that no longer exists, Hotel Redfish, there was a wide assortment of delicious, fresh tropical fruits from which to choose, along with an assortment of freshly baked rolls and pastries. On Morning 1, the Convento only offered a few conventional fruits from which to choose, along with cheese and cold cuts, but we were able to request omelets, yogurt, granola. On Morning 2 of our stay, 20 February 2018, the breakfast became even more limited, with no fruit, cereal, or yogurt options. The staff explained that, due to the low hotel occupancy rate at the time of our stay, they had to reduce the kitchen staff and, with that, offer a much more limited breakfast. On Morning 3, the breakfast returned to what was presented on Morning 1, better than Morning 2 but still limited in comparison to other hotels of similar ranking.
Staying at the Pestana Convento do Carmo is a unique experience, like being transported from the hustle-bustle of the streets of the Pelourinho and Santo Antônio neighborhoods of Salvador to another serene and peaceful world. I would return to this hotel and would recommend it to others.
This could be the nicest place in Salvador thanks to the staff but it’s not enough to enjoy such emblematic Convent!
What a pity!!!
I would come back but they need to refurnish the place and spent some time and money!