The choice of hotels in Salvador’s beach neighborhoods, like Barra and Rio Vermelho, can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking to stay in the cheapest hostel or the fanciest hotel, there is something for everyone. Where should you lay your head, however, if you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, style or facilities. Our top ten will guide you to the best guesthouses and cheap hotels.
As the name might suggest, Casa Inglesa is an English-run establishment. Neil, with his adorable dog Jasper by his side, will go out of his way to make you feel relaxed and welcome at his pousada. The rooms and communal spaces are comfy and well-equipped, having been recently renovated to a high standard (spot the odd bit of British memorabilia). The modern, stylish bathrooms are a particular draw for a hotel in this price range.
Nine rooms in a 1930s house make up the charming Pousada Estrela do Mar. It may not be quite on the beach, but it is mere minutes from Praia Barra de Farol plus it has its own little garden with hammocks for lazy afternoons in the sun. Parquet flooring and Portuguese tiled walls give it a homely feel and breakfast, which is included, is a veritable feast.
The Hotel Catharina Paraguaçu is something of an institution in Rio Vermelho, having opened in 1993 and housed in a former mansion. It’s named after a legendary and respected local woman from the 16th century who married a Portuguese nobleman after he arrived on the nearby shores. Many of the rooms’ balconies and terraces face the large, grassy garden and a Bahian breakfast is served in the dining room decorated with terracotta pots and tiles.
With rooms featuring a sea view and roof-top terrace, the Pousada Beija Flor has what few other budget hotels can offer. The house, on a cobbled street in the old town, is full of character with blue and white tiles on its outside walls and tiled floors inside. The rooms are modest, but each has its own identity and the staff provide excellent service. Eating breakfast on the roof looking out to the Bay of All Saints is an excellent way to start the day.
Barra is always a popular neighborhood for visitors. Two of the city’s best beaches are within walking distance, the Pelourinho and its many attractions only a short taxi ride away. Among the many hotels options, Pousada Papaya Verde stands out, and not just for its bold green and purple color scheme and tropical garden. Well run and with friendly and helpful staff, it’s a great choice for those wanting to chill on the cheap.
The Sotero Hotel, near the upmarket district of Pituba, is a good pick for people looking to stay away from popular tourist areas but close to the commercial center. It’s affordably priced and well kitted out, with facilities including a business centre, gym, sauna and a pool on the roof. The communal areas are modern and chic and the stylishly-designed bedrooms make it feel even better value for money.
Clean, comfy and homely, Pousada Acácia has a family-run feel and is a reliable choice for visitors looking for a friendly visit. The yellow-tiled house is on a tranquil street in Barra, not far from the beach and shops. Though the rooms are fairly basic, there is an open kitchen/dining area and plenty of hammocks and outdoor space.
You can’t go far wrong with the Ibis Salvador Rio Vermelho. It may not be the most exciting of choices, but it is a dependable option for tourists, business travelers and families alike. It sits among a glut of chain hotels in a quiet corner of Rio Vermelho, just seconds from the beach, bars, restaurants and shops. The hotel itself has recently had a makeover: all of the 252 rooms have been decorated in wooden minimalism and the lobby and restaurant have been modernised.