I hadn’t visited my home state in northeast Brazil for a very long time – an unkind 10 years. I was in search of reconnecting to my roots, to my heritage, to see how the region had flourished into one of the top three luxury coastal destinations in Brazil – together with Bahia and Fernando de Noronha.
The State of Alagoas – near Pernambuco – is a gem of a region, an area full of historical significance and natural resources. Immersed in the multicultural heritage of Brazil with French and Dutch influences as well as Portuguese, African and Indigenous. I was born here and it was time to reconnect to my heritage and history.
I wanted to slow travel, to be immersed in a very specific and original part of the region, to seek and experience local life, to be present and to rediscover the unique local cuisine and peoples.
Flying from Rio de Janeiro to the capital Maceió, I was picked up by a broad smiled member of the Kenoa Resort team – the journey to the land of my ancestors had started, driving through the turquoise hued vast coastline, endless palm tree fields and unique mangroves in the world.
Kenoa Exclusive Resort is a fine example of a unique culturally & design conscious hotel. Brazilian architect Osvaldo Tenório worked in perfect harmony with Portuguese hotelier Pedro Marques to create a space that is an ode to any conscious traveler.
Drawing from Pedro’s tales of world exploration, an organic and almost primitive inspired architecture flourished into open air lounges, vast breezy corridors and a sustainable luxury ethos that permeates every single aspect of the hotel.
Inspired by the lands that the Portuguese reached during the colonial period, the hotel uses materials and techniques that merge the original heritage of the cultures that were brought to Brazil with indigenous aesthetics – the décor is accented with plenty of local flowers and seeds, indigenous artwork and world artifacts.
A strong commitment to social and ecological lifestyle and development
The sustainable credentials are strong and the 23 rooms, divided into suites and villas – with their own wine cellars, provide a cultural and elegant eco-design immersion with private heated pools – made of green stone – and wooden baths on balconies powered by solar panels, plenty of reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood.
All paper used in the hotel is recycled and there is a zero disposable-plastic policy. A myriad of local indigenous inspired furnishings beautifully populate the spaces too. Not surprisingly the hotel is a key member of the select Unique Experiences curated by Design Hotels.
Talking of which, the experiences also set Kenoa Resort apart. The curated experiences are civic-conscious: exploring mangroves with local fisherman, spotting sea manatees in local canoe expeditions, rich bird-life spotting and tasting the exquisite red-honey and sweet water oysters from sustainable farms – supported by the hotel in partnership with local authorities.
“KENOA is not solely a reflection of me, but also of my family and loved ones, and of the people who worked with me over the past years.
Conscious and inspiring, time here is ushered by the sound of the vast sea and the bright stars – silence and nature. A positive luxury experience, one should come here to spend days and days, to unwind, walking along the vast dunes that surround the property.
For me, it was a magical immersion that allowed me to learn more about Brazil and the many layers that form this complex country – full of multicultural heritage, love and openness – and that is the whole point of slow travel. Don’t you think?
Photography by Kenoa Exclusive Resort & François Correia