There is no direct translation in English for the Brazilian type of “pousada”. Whilst in Portugal the term refers to luxury accommodation in restored historical buildings, the Brazilian pousada concept and the price range is much wider. A pousada in Brazil could be what in other places would be considered a bed and breakfast, but it could equally well be something more akin to a guesthouse, inn, eco-lodge, or boutique hotel. In its simplest form, it is really just a place to “pousar” or land. Over recent years a new concept of ” pousada de charme” has arisen which refers to pousadas with something extra special about them, often in terms of unique and individual room design incorporating local materials.
Definition of a Brazilian ‘Pousada’
“A small, independently owned, totally unique place to stay in Brazil”
There are no statistics to say how many pousadas there are in Brazil but the number certainly runs into thousands, and outside big cities, the pousada is by far the most common form of accommodation available. What sets Brazilian pousadas truly apart from hotels and resorts is that they are all small (fewer than 40 suites) and independently owned; is the unique beauty of each of the ones, the quality of the design, the personal treatment, and the wonderful experience they offer to anyone wanting to really discover Brazil.
Prices in pousadas tend to be around the same as for hotels in the same class. However it is very difficult to classify them on a hotel type basis because the pousada emphasis is on the experience rather than the tangibles. Many pousadas don’t have cable TV for example out of choice; some opt for not putting in a pool if they are by the ocean, and very few offer anything like room service. However what they may lack in terms of amenities like this is more than made up for by charm, hospitality and personality. It is worth noting that whilst your mobile may still not work in many places off the beaten track the vast majority of pousadas now offer guests free wi-fi.
What to Expect from a Pousada in Brazil
- A good-sized room, usually with a double bed, two single beds, or a double and one single
- En-suite shower room, with electric, gas, or solar-powered shower, washbasin and WC Wardrobe, chest of drawers or shelves, and hanging space for clothes
- Air conditioning and/or ceiling fan
- Bedside tables and lamps
What is provided in a Brazilian Pousada
Hand and bath towels
Soap and/or shower gel
Mosquito nets or spray or plug-ins, in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes
Small fridge (frigobar) with beer, water and soft drinks
TV with Brazilian programmes
Occasionally (usually from price category $$$ up)
CD player and/or DVD
Superior bed linen (250 thread count up)
Rooms are normally cleaned on a daily basis, but, in keeping with ecological principles, in some places you will be asked to indicate when you need your sheets and towels changed.
Occasionally you may find a musty smell in rooms which have not been aired sufficiently. If this bothers you, ask to change rooms.
Similarly, you may occasionally find tiny ants or small lizards in the more basic pousadas. If you find anything else which bothers you, tell the manager and/or ask to change rooms.
It should be noted that plumbing is rudimentary in much of Brazil, and wastebaskets are provided for anything you want to throw away- including toilet paper! Failure to remember this is likely to result in some embarrassment!
Food & Drink in a Brazilian Pousada
Breakfast is nearly always included in the price, and is usually excellent, with a variety of juices, coffee, tea, breads, jams, cake, ham and cheeses. Occasionally hot dishes are available and eggs can be ordered – usually at no extra price.
Nearly all rooms have small fridges where you can help yourself to water, soft drinks and beer at reasonable prices. Tap water is not for drinking!
There is usually a bar service of some sort available, or an “honesty” bar, where you take what you want from the fridge and just note down the quantity. Payment is settled at the end of your stay.
Where pousadas have a pool and/or beach, bar service is often available here as well.
If pousadas do not have their own restaurant, most will recommend good places to eat nearby. Pousadas which are really off the beaten track will normally have their own restaurant and include half or full board in the price.