BRAZIL­IAN BRIL­LIANCE

For a dis­tinc­tive and ex­otic meet­ings des­ti­na­tion, Sal­vador de Bahia is an hid­den gem with many facets

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS - WORDS RALF WAL­TERS

Sal­vador de Bahia is an hid­den gem with many facets

With global travel ex­plod­ing, it’s never been a more ex­cit­ing time to be an event plan­ner, cre­at­ing “once in a life­time” ex­pe­ri­ences for busi­ness teams and cor­po­rate global at­ten­dees prac­ti­cally any­where in the world. One such eas­ier-than-you-might-think des­ti­na­tion is UNESCO World Her­itage site Sal­vador de Bahia, Brazil. Sit­u­ated off the beau­ti­ful south­ern At­lantic coast of South Amer­ica in All Saints’ Bay, the col­or­ful and his­toric city of 2.1 mil­lion peo­ple and the nearby Co­conut Coast to the north are de­light­ful places for meet­ings, con­fer­ences or incentive trips. With di­rect flights con­nect­ing Sal­vador In­ter­na­tional Air­port (SSA) with des­ti­na­tions across the world, in­clud­ing a num­ber of US cities, the re­gion of­fers MICE venues that cater to a wide range of bud­gets and space re­quire­ments.

Re­garded as the “cultural cap­i­tal” of the Brazil­ian state of Bahia, Sal­vador was founded by the Por­tuguese in 1549, and be­came the na­tion’s first cap­i­tal. Rem­nants of this rich past with its col­or­ful, or­nate ar­chi­tec­ture and cob­ble streets, still adorn the old city. Bahia is known through­out the world for its African in­flu­ences, man­i­fested in mu­sic, dance, re­li­gious fes­ti­vals and unique cui­sine.

“Bahi­anos” – a proud mix of African, Por­tuguese and in­dige­nous peo­ples – are out­go­ing and wel­com­ing. So don’t feel in­hib­ited speak­ing a few sim­ple Por­tuguese phrases such as “Bom Dia!” (Good morn­ing!) or “Obri­gado!” (Thank you!) and “Tchau” (pro­nounced “Chow” forGood-bye) when given the op­por­tu­nity.

Be­sides its di­verse cul­ture, glo­ri­ous sun, beaches and re­sorts, eco­tourism is a big at­trac­tion here as well. Bahia has Brazil’s high­est num­ber of dis­tinct biomes: marine, coastal, At­lantic rain­for­est, sa­van­nah and “caatinga” desert veg­e­ta­tion. It is also has the great­est col­lec­tion of caves in Latin Amer­ica, as well as water­falls, crys­tal clear pools and sub­ter­ranean lakes. Add golf, wine, water­sports and re­li­gious tours, and you’ll be­gin to ap­pre­ci­ate the bound­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for meet­ings and con­ven­tions the re­gion of­fers:

CITY OF SAL­VADOR ARENA FONTE NOVA

A multi-func­tional space opened for the Con­fed­er­a­tions Soc­cer Cup in 2013, the down­town Arena is ca­pa­ble of host­ing large-scale events and in­ter­na­tional con­gresses, as well as mu­si­cal pro­duc­tions. Cov­er­ing an area of 968,751 square feet, the sta­dium has ten sto­ries, three-tier grand­stand seat­ing, food kiosks, press rooms, panoramic restau­rants over­look­ing the field and two big screens.

To­tal seat­ing ca­pac­ity: 50,000

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 14 miles

BAHIA OTHON PALACE HO­TEL

This ocean­front ho­tel of­fers meet­ing, ban­quet fa­cil­i­ties and two restau­rants. One-minute walk to On­d­ina beach. Guests can visit Bahia Yacht Club or shop in Barra Shop­ping Cen­ter, both within 1.2 mi from the ho­tel.

Ho­tel rooms: 278; Beds: 556

Free WiFi, free park­ing, free break­fast

To­tal con­ven­tion ca­pac­ity: 1,000

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 22 miles

NEW BAHIA CON­VEN­TION CEN­TER

(open­ing date De­cem­ber 2020) To­tal con­ven­tion ca­pac­ity: 16,000

FI­ESTA BAHIA HO­TEL AND CON­VEN­TION CEN­TER

Lo­cated near two of Sal­vador’s fa­mous beaches, Farol da Barra and Light­house of Ita­puã, the ho­tel and con­ven­tion cen­ter is also next to City Park. Within walk­ing dis­tance of the ho­tel is the largest shop­ping area of the city of­fer­ing five malls. The old city cen­ter and pub­lic mar­ket (Pelour­inho and the Mer­cado Modelo) are 7.5 miles away.

Ho­tel Rooms: 244; Beds: 976

Free WiFi, free park­ing, free break­fast

Busi­ness cen­ter, meet­ing and ban­quet fa­cil­i­ties

To­tal con­ven­tion ca­pac­ity: 1,200

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 15.5 miles

GRAND HO­TEL STEL­LAR MARIS UR­BAN RE­SORT AND CON­VEN­TIONS

This ho­tel and con­ven­tion cen­ter is lo­cated on the beach­front of Stella Maris, re­garded as be­ing among the best and most beau­ti­ful beaches in the coun­try. It is 18 miles from down­town and the his­toric cen­ter. Ho­tel Rooms 334; Beds 668

20 meet­ing rooms, the largest with ca­pac­ity for 1,300, to­tal ca­pac­ity 2,500 Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 4.3 miles

HO­TEL DEVILLE PRIME SAL­VADOR

This ho­tel is lo­cated in a scenic land­scaped park filled with lakes and rare birds, and is a six-minute walk from Ita­puã beach. It has two restau­rants, two bars and a ten­nis court.

Ho­tel Rooms: 206; Beds: 412

Free WiFi, free park­ing, free break­fast.

Busi­ness cen­ter

To­tal con­ven­tion ca­pac­ity: 700

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 5 miles

THE CO­CONUT COAST

About 50 miles north of Sal­vador, the Co­conut Coast is a trop­i­cal par­adise with a num­ber of re­sorts boast­ing con­ven­tion and meet­ing fa­cil­i­ties. The sur­round­ings may make you think you’ve booked Juras­sic Park, and though the di­nosaurs are gone, the pop­u­la­tion is no less ex­otic: tree mon­keys, col­or­ful birds, wild tur­keys, gi­ant tor­toises and a few in­trigu­ing igua­nas am­bling around the grounds. For col­le­gial bond­ing, these eco-friendly venues also of­fer out­door ac­tiv­i­ties that will cre­ate a spe­cial ca­ma­raderie for your team and guests.

ARENA SAUÍPE WITHIN COSTA DO SAUÍPE HO­TEL RE­SORT COM­PLEX

The Arena is among the largest event venues housed within an all-in­clu­sive re­sort in all of Brazil. In ad­di­tion to three ho­tels on the beach, it hosts nearly 55,000 square feet of mul­ti­pur­pose space, plus 10,000 square-foot foyer per­fect for cock­tail re­cep­tions or ex­hi­bi­tions. The re­sort is five miles from the Eco Par­que Sauipe na­ture re­serve, but with its own mul­ti­ple out­door pools, a lake and zip line, plus five sports cen­ters, spa, gym and a kids’ club, there is much to do on site. All-in­clu­sive meals and drinks are served in 10 restau­rants and 13 bars. Be sure to visit nearby Pro­ject TA­MAR tur­tle sanc­tu­ary and marine aquar­ium.

Ho­tel rooms: 1,564

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 52 miles

GRAND PAL­LA­DIUM IMBASSAÍ RE­SORT

Lo­cated within the Imbassaí na­ture re­serve along­side the sea of Costa dos Co­queiros, Grand Pal­la­dium Imbassaí Re­sort & Spa is near the idyl­lic vil­lage Praia do Forte. Fea­tur­ing mod­ern and ex­clu­sive fa­cil­i­ties, its meet­ings and con­ven­tions cen­ter wel­comes cor­po­rate events and team gath­er­ings. Ho­tel rooms: 654 Beds: 1,308

To­tal con­ven­tion ca­pac­ity: 450 peo­ple

Dis­tance from SSA air­port: 42 miles

CAS­TRO ALVES CON­VEN­TION CEN­TER AT IBEROSTAR PRAIA DO FORTE HO­TEL AND RE­SORT

Next to Praia do Forte's white sandy beaches, the Cas­tro Alves Con­ven­tion Cen­ter has 13 rooms which can ac­com­mo­date up to 1,800 peo­ple at this lux­ury At­lantic coast re­sort. The ho­tel also of­fers four spa­cious con­fer­ence rooms, a 2,700 square-foot re­cep­tion pa­tio, nine meet­ing spa­ces and one 16,000 square-foot ball­room. The lat­est au­dio­vi­sual equip­ment in­cludes big screens, graph­ics, sound equip­ment and sup­port ser­vices. The all-in­clu­sive re­sort has five swim­ming pools, six restau­rants, a sports

Sal­vador was founded by the Por­tuguese in 1549, and rem­nants of this rich past still adorn the old city

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