IN THE CENTRE OF TRANCOSO, just moments from Quadrado, an unassuming sign marks the entrance of Etnia Casa Hotel. What it doesn’t suggest is the oasis of calm that lies within. If you’re looking for something in Trancoso that is unique, stylish and provides that ‘home away from home’ factor, then Etnia Casa Hotel will tick all of your boxes.
A cobbled path leads you downhill from the main road, towards an open-space reception area that doubles up as a general salon. The private villas connect along to this path, each ensconced in lush forestry, as if to encapsulate the charms of Brazil in microcosm. (If you’re lucky, you might see a band of monkeys scurrying around or trying to open a coconut.)
These grand villas have a whimsical aesthetic, with a kiss of the maximalist in their exuberant yet tasteful colour-coordination. Bright banana yellow pops out at you, contrasting with the smooth, cream-coloured floors. We loved the polished concrete floors, the magnificent bathrooms, the generous living spaces, and the state-of-the-art kitchen and dining.
With sweeping balconies overlooking a large, private garden, guests have the luxury of being within an otherworldly scenario: the magic of the Brazilian landscape – albeit a carefully manicured one – lies at your feet.
Breakfast is an elegant affair, with a touch of the European featuring on the menu. We loved the fact that these were also provided in English – something tourists may take for granted but that is a rare sight in Brazil. A Brazilian take on the continental breakfast is on offer: eggs and omelette European style, or the tapioca versions. The staff are also available for lunch and dinner options, offering a range of Brazilian and European dishes and one of the best Moquecas we had in the country!
Special mention must go to the staff who are courteous and helpful – and always with a smile on their face. Their activity recommendations are varied and sure to amaze. We visited the hidden Caraiva, a sleepy seaside village that has – thus far – escaped the mass commercialism that often comes with tourism (here, a taxi takes the form of a horse and cart).
We loved Etnia Casa Hotel for everything that it offers within its walls: an oasis of calm, the intimate presence of nature, the superb food and unique experiences. No more than a 5 minute drive to the beach – or the other beautiful spots that surround Trancoso – Etnia Casa Hotel is without a doubt one of the top hotels in Trancoso and even Brazil.