Aram Yami, meaning day and night in tupi-guarani, the native-Indian language, is the name of the Aram Yami Boutique Hotel, a charming place in the core of historic Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Nestled in a 17th-century Santo Antonio neighborhood, the beautifully and faithfully restored colonial building fits in gracefully with a collection of remarkable homes from that era. According to the receptionist, the house belonged to the director of Banco do Brasil first agency in Salvador, more than 200 years ago.
Over the centuries, the area had its ups and downs as a symbol of urban progress and prestige during the Portuguese colonization, followed by moral decay and decadence in subsequent years. Due to the government’s interest in preservation of the historic site, the area was revitalized. Nowadays, five-star hotels, hostels, restaurants, studios, shops, and museums turned this fascinating neighborhood into a family-friendly, lively area that attracts locals and tourists of all ages.
The Aram Yami Boutique Hotel
After finding a parking spot on a tight street in front of the hotel, our luck held as a friend managed the advanced driving skills required to get into it. Ready to start our lovely weekend, we faced a narrow, blue building with white windows and a metal gate full of colorful ribbons waving in the wind. It was the Aram Yami Boutique Hotel.
As we stepped in, my first impression was of a warm, inviting, and cozy place, with friendly and accommodating staff. Welcomed by a refreshing tropical drink, I immediately felt at home.
The exclusivity of this boutique hotel begins with only five suites found on the four floors of the building. Each guest room either faces Bahia de Todos Santos, aka ’All Saints Bay,’ and the Port of Salvador, or the narrow cobblestone streets crowded with colorful homes of the historic center. All the rooms, though decorated differently, have a similar feel.
Despite the renovation, the original architecture was preserved. Everywhere, thoughtful details such as furnishings, original wood floors, lighting, color composition, wallpaper, and meticulously chosen sculptures load the place with charm and character. We were intrigued when the assistant showed us a tiny restroom near the reception area which at one point was a chapel. Mixed figures of Catholicism, Buddhism, and Candomble (religion based on African beliefs) maintained the religious patterns of the building.
The surprises didn’t end with the structural details. The typical Brazilian breakfast, included with the room charge, was a treat. A variety of local pastries, fruits, coffee, fresh squeezed juices, and regional cuisine like beiju (tapioca crepe) was served in the small restaurant overlooking Baia de Todos Santos.
There is no elevator in the hotel, but for those with physical limitations, two suites are located on the ground floor.
As we walked into our room, we were immediately entranced. It was spacious, and offered not only a good view, but a veranda and a private pool. We stayed in the top suite, which was divided into two bedrooms: the first one with a double-size bed and a single; the second one a double-size canopy style bamboo bed, with the view of the bay.
Although we were in the middle of the historic city center, we decided to stay in and enjoy our amenities for a while after we got settled in. Ordering a bottle of Rose and few dishes from the kitchen, we sat by the pool and watched the sunset while sipping a glass of wine and savoring typical Bahian flavors. We felt spoiled.
When the night came, we were revitalized. Dragging ourselves away from our comfortable nest, we explored the appealing Santo Antonio neighborhood.
Santo Antonio neighborhood
The hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of several well-known sights, including Elevador Lacerda, Pelourinho, San Francisco Church, Convento do Carmo, and Mercado Modelo, among others. While we strolled through the narrow streets, listened to familiar melodies coming from bars and restaurants with live music, shopped, and savored the exclusive local dishes. The experience of visiting my hometown after having been gone for a while, made me appreciate it even more.
Make sure to head over to Poró Restaurant for dinner and experience the regional culinary wonders where you can sample tasteful cuisine with local flair.
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