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