These days the term ‘chic’ is all too often over-used, misunderstood and incorrectly interpreted. Fortunately for us all, Fred and Sophie have an enhanced understanding and appreciation of the word and Pousada Chic is proof of this. For not only are they the owners of this beautiful boutique hotel, but they are also the masterminds; from the conception and design stage, through to the creation and the daily running of this stylish, kitesurfers-cum-spa goers pousada; bringing to the northern part of Brazil luxury hospitality and accommodation.
Architect by trade and savvy businessman by profession, kite surfer, rugby fan the rest of the time, Fred is truly the driving force and inspiration behind Pousada Chic. The design and layout of the place is so close to perfection that it could not be by happy chance. The mind and imagination of this gifted architect is clear to see, and a quick chat with Fred will easily turn into a fascinating two hours; spanning the trials of purchasing Brazilian land for a foreigner, his enthusiasm for a specific type of wood from Amazonia which resists termites, to a very dedicated French rugby fan, conscious of his side’s tentative start to the Six Nations, much to the delight of my husband.
When not conversing with you in a mixture of French, Portuguese and English, Fred can be seen heading to a grassy area for his morning stretching or dragging his kite surfing gear 200m to the ocean, which offers an ideal atmosphere for such pastimes.
This ‘chic’ and luxury hideaway boasts a beautiful setting next to the ocean, amongst coconut palms and tropical flowers. When we arrived, I was immediately struck by the lush and well manicured tropical garden; a clear indication of Fred’s passion for design and attention to detail. Pousada Chic comprises five luxury villas, a pool, poolside restaurant and bar using natural materials, such as Cumaru wood and Portuguese stones, as well as a small spa, which has been built using an indigenous building technique known as taipa.
The villas are stunning and I particularly loved the photography that adorned the walls of ours. Each faces the ocean and has it’s own private terrace, the perfect place to enjoy a morning meditation or a few yoga stretches. The design and layout of each villa has been well thought through, with a large bed that faces the ocean and a bathroom to the back, complete with a vibrant, red outdoor, waterfall shower – there is also an indoor shower for those who prefer. Every detail of the rooms, even down to the smell, the lighting and the flowers and plants in the outdoor bathroom has been considered, giving the space an atmosphere of true luxury with a hip and stylish quality.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the pool bar and restaurant. The breakfast menu is a delicious and abundant offering of fruit, eggs (of your choice), juices, cakes – but be warned I’d try the coconut cake on your last day as a treat, otherwise you will end up having it every day, although coconuts are used, I’m pretty sure it’s not the healthiest breakfast choice! A must-try is the ‘Chic Tonic’, a fruity and refreshing concoction of pineapple, acerola (3000 times more vitamin C than oranges) and mint. The menus for lunch and dinner offer various dishes including crepes, fresh fish, pasta, meat, salads all using the freshest ingredients. Again every detail has been thought about in this communal space, with vases on the bar and small ponds by the entrance, which are home to small fish that eat mosquito eggs, keeping the population down and away from the pousada. A genius idea and much better for the environment than other repelling techniques. We frequented the pool a lot during our stay, as it was a cooling respite from the scorching sun and a fabulous place to swim and gaze towards the ocean.
Fred employs 10 staff, all extremely attentive, enthusiastic and clearly keen to learn. Something Fred takes pride in is enhancing the wider development of his staff through courses and encouragement. Some who started working for him with no reading and writing ability are now far more capable than before and possess excellent hospitality skills. This was refreshing to see, as during our travels through Brazil we had sometimes experienced a low level of service and hospitality.
The Spa is situated in the garden and is simple yet chic in design with two massage tables offering a small list of treatments. The pousada has a selection of bikes you can take out for a spin to explore the local area and maps are available. Fred and Sophie can organize kite-surfing lessons with their English speaking instructor if you fancy trying out this up and coming adventure sport. Having done initial classes, I am yet to get out on to the water properly, perhaps I can use this as an excuse to come back to Pousada Chic one day!
Rates start from £99 per villa per night inclusive of breakfast in low season. Book here.
words by Claire Mans