Part of our job is constantly reviewing our product line to ensure the properties and services we provide are worthy of our recommendation and your time and money. Carol from our local office recently went to check out one of our favorite beach resorts in the Northeast of Brazil. Nannai Resort & Spa was one of the first Brazilian properties to incorporate true luxury into a beach resort. Located in the picturesque beach town of Porto de Galinhas, less than an hour away from the city and airport of Recife, Nannai is the perfect blend of Bali-inspired beach chic with local Afro-Brazilian flare.
The Northeast of Brazil has long been recognized by Europeans to have some of the best beaches in the world but few Americans have yet to experience the natural beauty and alluring culture of the region. It's now easier than ever to get there as LATAM Airlines now offers direct flights from Miami to Recife. You can easily fly into Rio, spend a few days there and then head up north on a direct flight to Recife in under two hours. Spend as many days as necessary/possible relaxing on the beach and then fly straight back to Miami where you can connect easily to anywhere in the US.
So what did Carol have to say?
My family and I had the pleasure of spending a few days at the beautiful Nannai Resort & Spa in Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco, at the end of January. The hotel, which was a Condé Nast Johansens 2017 Award Winner (Luxury Hotels, Spas, Venues) was astonishing, and I am very pleased to share my review of these amazing days with you!
We arrived in Recife after an almost three-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro. Recife’s airport is small but well equipped with ATM machines and snack bars. After a quick break to freshen up and have a bite to eat we set off for Porto de Galinhas, and in just 50 minutes we arrived at Nannai Beach Resort. I was really impressed with the reception we received from the staff, who greeted us by name and were incredibly friendly.
We sat down with a Guest Relation to check-in and were offered sparkling wine and coconut water before being taken to our bungalow. The ‘Super Lux’ Bungalow we stayed in was really comfortable – ideal for a family of two adults and two children (3 and 6 years old). While I started to unpack my children ran straight for the pool to splash around… a ritual that was repeated on the following two mornings! What a delight it was to have a private pool right at the foot of our bed! It was amazing for us parents who gained a little extra time to rest, and perfect for the children to use up some of their never-ending energy.
Nannai really surprised me. I didn’t expect to find a 15-year old property so well-maintained. The staff were all really kind and attentive, the hotel is spotless and well looked after, the pools are beautiful and the relaxing lounges that are spread around the grounds are super cozy. Muro Alto Beach is rocky (because of the reefs), but on the left-hand side, there is a bay with calm waters where guests can enjoy water-sports equipment like kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards and sailboats, as well as inflatables, parasols and the hotel’s beach service.
The daily rate "officially" includes breakfast (which is fabulous!) and dinner, but upon arrival, we got the very welcome surprise of their complementary afternoon tea, which is served every day from 5 to 6 pm. There is a selection of "tapiocas" (the Brazilian version of crepes, prepared both sweet and savory), pastries, cakes, biscuits, bread, juices and fruit – all there for guests to help themselves to for an hour; not to be missed! I have to confess that on the first day I ate so much that I couldn’t have dinner!!!
The included dinner at the hotel is very varied and is served from an all-you-can-eat buffet. It includes pizza made to order, a pasta station, grill (different cuts of freshly grilled beef), salad buffet, sushi, soup and a wide variety of desserts. After so much overeating all I could do was rest and think about how the following day I should head straight to the fitness center. The gym is of the highest quality, and all the Life Fitness equipment is in excellent condition.
While we were there I treated myself to a relaxing massage at the Nannai Spa by L’Occitane. One hour just for me…if only it could be like that every day! I was in heaven! The spa area has a steam room and sauna, hydro-pools and loungers (individual and double) for relaxing. The changing rooms are all equipped with L’Occitane products to use after your treatment - so refreshing!!
Next to the fitness center and spa, there is a beauty salon and Nannai Boutique, which sells Brazil’s most sophisticated brands of beachwear. Everything is beautiful! As well as this the hotel also has its own helipad.
Further away from the buildings and next to the resort’s entrance is the kids club, where children aged 4+ can be looked after by the resort’s staff, giving parents some peace and quiet. This area has ping pong tables, foosball, snooker, a games room, playground, pools with a slide and a tree house. The staff walk through the resort asking parents if they would like their children to be taken to participate in the activities. This was another big surprise, as I didn’t imagine that the hotel would be so child-friendly and have such great facilities for the little ones.
The categories of the apartments and bungalows are as follows:
Deluxe room garden view – approx 500 square feet, all with a balcony.
Super Deluxe Room ocean view – approx. 600 square feet, with two balconies and a lovely ocean view.
Super Deluxe Bungalow – various Balinese-styled bungalows spread around the hotel’s grounds. All have a private pool and are about 700 square feet. This category doesn’t guarantee ocean views; however, in some of the bungalows, there is a partial view of the sea.
Premium Bungalow ocean view – only eight units on the property; they're the same size as the Super Deluxe Bungalow (about 700 square feet), however all are facing the sea.
Villa Suite – Set side by side, there are just four units in the whole hotel. They are considered the hotel’s most exclusive and modern, and all have a private pool. This is the perfect option for couples on honeymoon who are looking for total privacy. The only drawback is that they don’t have a sea view.
Master Bungalow – Only two units available, located in opposite corners of the resort. They are the biggest on offer, but not so modern. They are ideal for families on holiday with teenagers. They have two floors, a bathtub with a sea view and a private pool.
The Pernambuco coast is astonishing with its beautiful beaches, known for their clear warm water natural tide pools that form among the corals, as well as mangroves, white sands and palm trees. On this short trip, I took the opportunity to visit Carneiros Beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the whole of Brazil. It is sold as a full-day tour and the transfer from the hotels in Porto de Galinhas (not only from Nannai) to Carneiros beach takes about 50 minutes. If you do the tour privately you can be more flexible with the time you come back. There are some sea-front restaurants on the beach. As it is one of the region’s most beautiful attractions it does end up getting very busy with tourists. We also visited Pontal do Maracaípe, where the Maracaípe River meets the sea. Here you can take a kayak and ‘jangada’ trips through the mangrove swamps, do hiking trails and also visit the Hippocampus Project where you can see the habit of the sea-horse. Thanks to a small and simple structure of kiosks, it is possible to enjoy lunch here on the banks of the river. My children had a great time!