Salvador Street Life
Tuesday is carnival night in Salvador. The fondant-coloured colonial buildings of Pelourinho, the city’s historic pedestrianised quarter, are strung with fairy lights and the metal skeleton of a stage rises in the Terreiro de Jesus square.
Groups of women in traditional dress – wide crinolined skirts and hair bound up in white headscarves) appear carrying tarpaulin and tables and cans of cooking oil, erecting their food and drink stalls with well-practiced alacrity as darkness falls. It’s a breezeless, warm evening and the smell of bubbling dendê, a type of palm oil, is thick in the air.
If you’re seeking a quirky little design hotel in Rio de Janeiro, look away now; there’s nothing low-key or bijou about Copacabana Palace.
Having occupied pride of place on the city’s most famous sliver of golden sand since 1923, this Art Deco landmark is the granddaddy of Brazilian hotels.
Its list of past guests reads like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the wall of photographs in the lobby serving as a reminder that Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein and Orson Welles are among those who’ve slumbered in the hotel’s king-size beds before you.
Classical elegance still reigns in the 216 guest rooms – think lashings of marble, antique hardwood and crisp white cotton – although flat screen TVs, iPod docks and powerful waterfall showers provide a few welcome 21st century additions.
The Copacabana’s two restaurants – the beachfront Pérgula, where breakfast is served, and the opulent Venetian-inspired Cipriani – face each other across a sleek heated pool, which itself is a handy addition if you’re just too lazy to make it to the beach all of 50 yards away.
No Snow? No Problem
Estella Shardlow finds fromage, spas and a trusty glacier come to the rescue when a distinct lack of snow threatens to thwart a weekend on the slopes in Gstaad.
Caipirinha-fuelled carnivalia in Rio, or a chilled holiday in the wilderness? Estella Shardlow finds you can have the best of both worlds.