Explore

The Brazilian paradise that commercialism and cynicism forgot

Travelling
Check In

Georgina Wilson-Powell

18 February 2017

UXUA is like a secret within a secret. Owned by Diesel’s ex-creative director Wilbert Das, the hotel is more like a hip jungle village within a hippie town that welcomes as many celebs as it does creative artists. Trancoso is the seaside Brazilian town that commercialism and cynicism forgot.

It sits backed by thick jungle on three sides, the UNESCO protected Discovery coast on the forth and centres around a large pedestrianised village green (the quadrado) and that is surrounded by single story brightly coloured casas. Sitting at one of the many bars under the trees on the quadrado, it’s impossible to comprehend a world beyond the natural barriers.

UXUA is a celeb secret - but where is it?

It's easy to lose a day just sitting on the quadrado people watching

Dart through the tiny house that acts as UXUA’s discreet reception and it’s like falling through an Alice in Wonderland style hole, via a glossy interiors magazine and ending up in a jungle paradise where everyone is beautiful, no one seems to work and there are sunny days and smiles without end.

Peek inside the eco-hotel loved by A-listers

UXUA built a house for CNN's Anderson Cooper that's a private paradise

The rooms

Hotel isn’t quite the right word for UXUA. It’s a collection of casas, all built differently by Das using natural and local materials, some sit woven amongst thick jungle behind one side of the quadrado, they’re impossible to see from only metres away. A huge wooden treehouse (complete with hammock underneath and wooden hot tub) is the best bet - it’s Alessandra Ambrosio's favourite when she’s in town.

Welcome to UXUA, the A-lister's favourite place in Brazil

Ex-fashion designers Wilbert Das has fallen for architecture and interior design and we've fallen for his style

The views

Sitting on the treehouse veranda, Brazil’s thick green jungle, fan palms and the odd monkey are your world. Out on the quadrado, watch Trancoso’s world go by. Time, fashion, money - none of these things seem to matter to the people wandering past.

The service

It’s hard to tell who works at UXUA and who is just hanging out on the quadrado but that’s part of its charm. The concierge team are adept at making any request seem like a no brainer and can they arrange tours and experiences that venture beyond the pretty pedestrian square.

UXUA is in Trancoso

Time doesn't seem to matter in Trancoso

Sitting at one of the many bars under the trees on the quadrado, it’s impossible to comprehend a world beyond the natural barriers

The menu

UXUA’s main restaurant is next to the ‘Table of the Old’ on the quadrado, where the village elders hang out to jam with their guitars. The menu’s a mix of Bahian specialties (like Moqueca a rich fish stew), citrus-y fresh ceviche, burgers and steaks and amazingly creamy homemade ice cream (try the coconut and lime).

It also acts as the quadrado entrance to the hotel - it’s unmarked as such and guests wander through what looks like a simple home (albeit reimagined with gorgeous upcycled furniture and painted exotic shades of green and blue) to find a winding path through the jungle - it feels like stumbling on an alternative universe every time.

The bar

There’s a bar next to the hotel’s main pool - both are hidden in behind the restaurant. Order up cocktails, beers and plenty of caipirinhas. Alternatively, head down to the beach - UXUA has the best spot and rustles up fish tacos and cold fresh coconuts from a converted fishing boat bar.

The spa

UXUA offers a range of spa treatments which can get a bit muddled as the therapists often don’t speak anything other than Portuguese but it doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever they do is bliss and turns a relaxed day into a horizontal one.

Trancoso has a new weaving industry thanks to Wilbert Das

UXUA has its own in-house loom and weaver - you can watch him make bolts of traditional cloth

The sustainable bit

  • All of the casas were built using recycled and upcycled materials and Das has created a range of homewares which are now made by local artists. He’s brought a local weaver into the hotel to create its own cloth for rugs and blankets. A small shop in the hotel sells different artists’ work.

  • Das is committed to protecting the local environment and Trancoso’s traditional village square - he’s hired a permanent environmental lobbyist to help protect the town.

  • UXUA puts a lot back into Trancoso, from providing hospitality training for local people to running English classes and helps support a variety of projects aimed at developing the opportunities open to people.
Chill out at UXUA, Trancoso's hip hotel

Everywhere you look at UXUA, there's the perfect piece to offset the view

3 reasons to book

It’s paradise. Kick off your shoes and indulge your inner hippie.

If you missed 1970s Goa, Trancoso is the next best thing. It feels like going back in time.

Discover a much more laid back side to Brazil. If you’re over for Carnival, this is the perfect antidote.

Where is UXUA?

Slap bang on the historic square, the quadrado, Trancoso. The town’s an hour’s drive from Porto Seguro airport. TAP Portugal fly to Salvador via Lisbon.

Free Wifi? Yes

Dog friendly? Yes

Child friendly? Yes