Pelourinho (Upper Historic City): Starting with the most deluxe, we have Pestana Convento do Carmo. An historic icon located in the heart of the Pelourinho, originally a convent, this vast property has all the amenities you could want, restaurants, pool, bar, spa, and also includes a church, museum and library. A wonderful option if you desire the deluxe and only have a couple of nights in the city. As a moderate option and the most requested in the Pelourinho, is of course Casa do Amarelindo. Beautifully decorated, this historic beauty has been completely renovated in recent years. Most rooms overlook the bay and a few have private verandas. For the price and location, this is my personal top pick. The staff/owners are quite hospitable and offer their guests a true experience of this wonderful area. As a budget option here, and another of my personal favorites (as I stayed here), is Pousada do Pilar. A smaller, boutique-ish type pousada, rooms either face the street of the bay, bay front rooms have balconies with breathtaking views. You won’t find amenities here other than the gracious staff who deliver breakfast to your room every morning, but for the price and location, it can’t be beat.
Moving to the lower city, Rio Vermelho is THE place to be. A very safe area, boasting a bohemian, funky flare as contrast to the colonial historic taste of the upper city, Rio Vermelho hosts a vast array of nightlife, shops, restaurants and bars. Most of our top picks
are ocean front making for fantastic morning views of the bay. The top deluxe “boutique” option would be Zank, a 5*, Rio Vermelho ocean front, this hotel is chic, modern, elegant and contemporary. Considering the price/location/value and experience, Zank is THE hotel of Salvador. Down a notch from Zank, our other 5* pick is Pestana Bahia, also ocean front, a true resort type hotel, offering restaurant, bar, fitness center, swimming pool, and beach service. All rooms offering ocean view and most with a balcony. A nice 4* in this area would be Mercure, a standard 4*, but again in the great location of Rio Vermelho and ocean front (I’ve stayed here), walking from the hotel you will find many shops (a great music shop on the same block) and restaurants. A clean, comfortable hotel, close to all that Rio Vermelho has to offer. On a budget, I opt for 4* Golden Tulip Rio Vermelho, a larger hotel, nice, clean and close to the open market. A great option for those spending an extended time. Hotel offers international and local cuisine, as well as pool, spa and tennis courts.
For the budget conscious or a more lively, young (typical college aged) area would be Barra Beach. Just a short drive will put you in either the Pelourinho or Rio Vermelho. A quiet area and also close to the open markets. Top pick here is Monte Pascoal. The hotel’s restaurant serves up both local and international cuisine. Guests also have leisure facilities such as the oceanfront swimming pool, sauna, gym and game room.