Stand beside the ocean and gaze back at the landscape and you might just miss the thatched rooftops of Tivoli Ecoresort. Located on the meandering shores of Praia Do Forte, a ten-minute beach-walk to a quaint fishing town with a lounging mood, except athletic early-bird locals who rise to play foot volley on the beach. The town is a blaze of colour: acid greens, yellows, burgundy and pinks; palettes reminiscent of a Baz Lurhman movie. A tiny white church, outlined in blue borders, is the meeting point for beach and town life: one side is surrounded by rickety boats feigning a ship-wreck, hiding under shades of palms and waiting to return to the royal blue waters, whilst the other side is full of coconut sellers, stalls selling cold acai bowls, men battling over games of dominoes, and locals catching up over bottles of Brahma.
Tivoli Ecoresort, whilst remaining supportive to the surrounding rainforest and residing community, provides luxury within ecological means. Hidden amongst the native plants, all which are maintained and replanted since the resort was first built 33 years ago to preserve the natural environment, the hotel maintains its strong ethos ‘enjoyment without destruction’, echoed throughout the years by founder Klaus Peters.
In fact, only 20% of 300,000 square metres (75 acres) is occupied by the hotel, no building is allowed to be over ten metres tall (the average height of an adult coconut palm), and for every tree cut down, three native species are to be planted - all of which help to maintain the typical vegetation that makes Praia Do Forte an ecological sanctuary. No plant nor produce are brought in from the outside, with ingredients and fauna being sourced locally from the local village or surrounding landscape. There really is no need to go any further. The plants and animals are clearly thriving, with a variety of unusual plants that look so intricate and vibrant you wonder if they are a real species or something brought to life from a fantasy novel. Cheeky monkeys share breakfast with you at the resort’s Goa Restaurant, Iguana’s blend into the pruned lawns, and protected turtles reside close the beach under the close watch of Projecto Tamar (philanthropically supported by the hotel and recognized as one of the most successful marine conservation experiences).
Fight the urge to sing Jurassic Park’s theme tune (we obviously couldn’t resist) when we hopped onto a buggy and lead across bridges, down paths shaded by living lampshades, heading further into the rainforest surrounding the resort. It is here you will find the resort’s four private pool villas, complete with your very own transport buggy. The balcony overlooks a canopy of lush green with tips of rooftops popping out sporadically, revealing the only sign of other guests.
And it is not only the wildlife which seems content, the locals and staff seem to exude an infectious happiness here, possibly due to the social projects put in place by the hotel to help individuals and families of Praia Do Forte. An adult education program (PROES) was initiated to train employees from neighbouring communities, and the Garcia D’Ávila Foundation was set up to administer the community projects and give guidance on the urban planning of Praia do Forte without jeopardising natural resources.
With strong attention focused close to home, Tivoli’s international presence is yet to grow. Their guests are predominantly made up of returning customers from Brazil (mainly Sao Paulo or Salvador), once brought as a child and return with nostalgic yearning with their own families; a complimentary testament to the resort.
Tivoli Ecoresort is also a retreat for nature’s healing. Adults can find rest and repose at the kids-free swimming pool sitting on the edge of the beach with its own beach bar, and in the tranquility of the Bahia Spa. Their signature lymphatic massage is relaxing as well as beneficial for your mental and physical well-being. Experts in their technique, therapists (ask for Hosalin!) seemed to know the perfect pressure and require a sixth sense to reawaken your body and make everything flow in accordance. Naturally, oils from the local plants are used by the therapists, such as their Palm Mark – a treatment using the energy of Bahia due to the local Palm oil’s properties, mixed with a powerful exfoliation with thick salt. Palm oil is also used within the kitchens to make traditional Bahia dishes, such as Acarajé - a moreish fried dish made of beans and deep-fried in palm oil, cooked by a traditional technique passed down through the generations.
It always debatable how one can be sustainable when travelling; you can’t hide the carbon footprint, like a flight stream painted on blue skies, as you fly across the world to find Amazonian rainforests and exotic animals. However, traveling is important to expand knowledge of the world and the importance of conservation. Ecoluxury is certainly something which is growing and gradually improving due to the efforts of resorts like Tivoli, making decisions for travellers to remain as eco as possible a realistic option.
Tivoli has adopted its own sustainable management techniques, building the concept of eco-efficiency and green-living up to its title as an Ecoresort. Recycling bins are placed in each of their 287 rooms and the hotel has established in very own garbage collection system in which waste is disposed of in an environmentally-sound fashion. Plastic straws, reuse of tree trimmings and the water treatment plant are also on the list of the hotel's environmentally efficient choices. Certainly, there are factors that still need to progress such as changing to wooden coat-hangers and offering water stations throughout the resort.
Living within sustainable means is something we all need to learn and adapt throughout our habits of living. And it is not only resorts and hotels, it is the choices of the guests that also make a difference. “When they stay with us at Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte, guests know that they are part of a project that has boosted the entire region's social and economic development,” says João Eça Pinheiro, General Director of Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte. Proving resorts and guests need to work together to minimise their environmental footprint as we enjoy the nature our little blue planet offers.
TIVOLI ECORESORT, BRAZIL
Words by Jade McSorley
Photography by Leo Cackett
View our TRIP within Forte Do Praia, Bahia Brazil
Rates: Superior Room Double – £320 ( £160pp) per night, Pool Villas (Maximum 6 people) – £1,116 (£185 per person – for 6 people in the Villa) per night
Return flights starting from around £500, from London to Salvador via Lisbon with TAP Portugal (off peak). Transfers can be arranged by Tivoli (45 minutes from airport)