Reporting from the travel frontline this week, Smith’s NBF Wanderlista, aka Andria Mitsakos: publicity guru and luxury travel blogger par excellence. Here’s her lowdown on the bright sights of Brazil…
Rio is everything. Ok, that’s a bold statement. But it really is. Take all your pre-conceived thoughts about Rio – the sex, the glamour, the gorgeous people, the beaches, the sheer expanse of it all – multiply it by about 1,000, and you have today’s Rio de Janeiro. This city is exploding. If you don’t go tomorrow, go next month; but at the very least go before the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Rio 2016 Olympics (when the rest of the world will be going).
I was here to experience it all, but my trip centred on the city’s fantastic restaurants. If you’re a true Japanese-food lover, like me, bypass the trendy Sushi Leblon (it’s Nobu on a smaller scale, but even more delicious – however, it’s not traditional), and head to Azumi in Copacabana. Sit in the back sushi bar (far cooler) and you can watch the sushiman prepare traditional langoustine ikizukuri (live sashimi). Controversial? Yes. Delicious? Afraid so.
Bed down for the night at one of the world’s best hotels with a view, La Suite (right): in Joatinga, the Beverly Hills of Rio, this cliff-side retreat has all the boutique hotel design requisites, and a stunning ocean view.
So you’ve done the sexy, glam Brazil: now, enter Trancoso, located in the boho state of Bahia. You can catch a non-stop flight on GOL or connect through Sao Paulo or Salvador. It’s worth it: trust me. For those not familiar with this beachside paradise, think of it as your hippest hippie spot on the planet. It’s where the Brazilian elite meld with a stylish mix of US and European visitors.
The village of Trancoso has a very pretty colonial heart, set on a bluff overlooking the sea and clustered around a large grassy main square known as the Quadrado. In the evening everyone heads here to sip caipirinha and browse the local boutiques (which include nearly all of the chicest Brazilian designers – I love Cristina Pessoa, a jewelry designer – see her delicate pieces below) and stalls.
The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed – the very antithesis of Europe’s glitziest resorts – and flip-flops, open shirts and kaftans are the order of the day. Here, many of the best known Brazilian filmmakers, models, journalists and singers happily hang out in the bars and restaurants as if they were at home.
This mixture of cash and DNA has started to attract a sophisticated international clientele who come for the authentic flavor of Brazil, enhanced by good, unpretentious restaurants, small hotels and stunning private houses.
Style-savvy travellers flock to its nine private casas (left) all year round, drawn by its stunning location, dedication to sustainable tourism and the sort of interiors that wouldn’t look out of place in Wallpaper* or Elle Decoration. Perfect.