Rod. Itacaré/Ilhéus km 48, Praia de Itacarezinho, Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil
Among the Kaxinawá of the Brazilian Amazon, “Txai” is a term used to refer to an extremely close friend. The name is fitting; the original São Paulo owners of this Bahian resort initially purchased the 100 hectare site as a refuge for high-rolling pals in search of the ultimate getaway.
Located 11 miles south of Itacaré, a colonial fishing village turned surfer hot spot, the secluded Txai Resort has succeeded in retaining its original function although, since 2001, “friends” are lodged in one of the 40 guest bungalows scattered among its hills and beachfront. Despite the expansiveness of the grounds, the exclusiveness of the address (presidents – both local and foreign – are frequent visitors and the security detail is discrete yet pronounced), and the attentive service, simplicity reigns – as it should.
This is because the real luxury at Txai is the nature. The immaculately landscaped grounds are sprinkled with swaying palms. Rugged hilltops are carpeted in native Atlantic rainforest so green and dense you can smell it. And there’s the pièce de résistance: a beckoning, three-mile strip of deserted white sand beach, Itacarezinho, whose difficult public access ensures its isolation.
Fittingly, instead of trying to compete with, or trump these natural splendors, the accommodations defer to them. Offering either beach or panoramic jungle views, the spacious apartments and sprawling bungalows, emphasize light and access to the outdoors. They do this with wrap-around windows, verandas decked with chaises longues, showers where you can lather up with passion fruit beauty products in the open air. Luxury bungalows include vast bathrooms and private decks while the more secluded premium ones toss in a private swimming pool and mesmerizing views.
Eschewing sophistication, the décor remains decidedly elemental, dominated by the earthy tones of the native woods and local palm fibers used in roofing, floors, furniture, and decorative flourishes. Although free Wi-Fi , i-Pod players, safes, mini-bars, and silent air conditioners are included, for the sake of turning one’s back on “civilization,” flat-screen TVs are not – although they can be delivered on request to media junkies by the golf carts that zip around and also provide 24-hour room service.
Of course, if you’re seeking entertainment at night, you can always join Brazilian guests – who make up close to 90 percent of the clientele – in the piano bar/lounge/reading room where they often gather to watch nightly novellas. (Although tables are covered with art books, lights are too dim for actual reading). Adorned with sofas and pillows galore, fresh flowers, and a beguiling array of regional Brazilian art, this is an alluring place for a nightcap after a candlelight dinner on the terraced restaurant.
Txai’s half–board rates include breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. Although menu options are varied, some dishes are underwhelming. To challenge your palate, consider exploring dining and nightlife options in more lively Itacaré, 25 minutes away by free shuttle or taxi. By the time you get home, you’ll find your blinds drawn, mosquito nets positioned, and a chocolate sitting upon your fine bed linens.
Keep in mind, however, that Txai’s pleasures are more diurnal than nocturnal. Aside from the beach, the two most compelling places to while away the daytime hours are in the plush beach chairs lining the gloriously blue, never–ending rectangle of a pool, with its adjoining bar (where lunch is served) and at the fabulously scenic Shamash Spa, which takes full advantage of its privileged hillside location. Even if you’re not up for a sauna, massage, reiki session, or yoga class, don the cotton robe laid out for you and head up to the heated pool, where 180–degree view of beach and rainforest will strike you as a Hollywood special effect rendering of paradise.
Adventurous types can sign up for excursions such as canoe trips down the Rio de Contas or hikes through the rainforest to even more deserted beaches. However, viewed with the time and distance that most guests confront in getting to Txai – the hotel offers transfers from its private lounge at the Ilhéus airport, 40 miles to the south – most visitors are content to sit back and soak up the resort’s most priceless feature; its pristine natural surroundings.
Total Number of rooms: 40
Published rates: $520 to $1,035 half–board
Review and photos by Michael Sommers