If you are looking for a unique Salvador experience, the Convento dos Perdões could be the right place for you. You will not be as comfortable or pampered as your friends who stay at a Marriott or an expensive pousada, but you will have much better stories to tell when you get home!
This is a working monastery with 5 "brothers" (Catholic Monks) located in an old convent. Brother Francis (American) coordinates the "guesthouse," and is more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the surrounding area or practical details. He speaks English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. All the brothers in the house speak French in addition to English, and one brother speaks Italian.
The convent is steeped in history -- you can almost feel the presence of the cloistered nuns who lived there. The guest rooms are located in the "cells" formerly occupied by the nuns. The walls are over 12 inches thick, and there are lots of interesting architectural details -- everything is original and has been preserved as a historical monument.
There is a beautiful chapel located within the convent where the brothers celebrate Mass Tuesday through Friday at 6:30pm and on Sunday at 10am. They are more than happy to have guests participate in the life of prayer which also includes the chanting of the psalms three times per day.
The convent needs to be renovated, and the brothers intend to progressively accomplish this renovation with help from the government, donations, and the income from the guesthouse. This is not a convent as pictured by "Disney" or one of the Whoopi Goldberg movies, this is the real deal.
Be prepared: Living conditions are very Spartan: No AC, No TV, No Internet (Internet "LAN House" down the street is open most days 10am - 7:00pm or so) and somewhat sporadic hot water (Salvador is usually so hot that the hot water is not really a problem).
You can eat a delicious lunch with the Brothers every day of the week except Monday for an additional charge if you make prior arrangements. The food is prepared by our cook Dona Conça, who is a native of Salvador.
Since this is working monastery and not a hotel or hostel, guests must respect the moral rules and Traditional values of the Catholic Church -- i.e. unmarried, unrelated (non-family) persons of opposite sex must stay in different rooms. If you are traveling with a romantic partner we cannot have you share the same room -- separate rooms come at no additional cost.
A key will be provided to enable you to come and go as you please, we ask for silence after 10pm so everyone may pass a peaceful night. The Convent is located within an easy walk of the historical district of Pelourinho -- but is not in Pelourinho. It is therefore ideal for those who want a peaceful, quiet, and safe place to relax and sleep.
The Convent is not located close to a beach -- but you can walk to Praça da Sé and catch a bus to a beach in Barra or beyond. (Check your maps) Salvador, like other Brazilian cities, can be dangerous. The part of town in which The Convent is situated is neither particularly dangerous nor particularly safe. It is unadvisable to walk around alone at night. It would be better to return to the Convent by cab if you are out past 9pm. For arrivals, be careful because your flight could be delayed.
If your plane will be arriving after 10pm, you must contact Bahia Metisse ((website hidden)), who will collect you at the airport, give you a ride to the Convento, let you in, and show you to your room. If they are unable to give you a ride, we will not allow you to check in after 10pm and before 6:30am. If for some reason the unforeseen happens and you ring the doorbell after 10pm, we will let you in but will also collect the security deposit.
I stayed 5 and 4 nights at the monastery on my way in and out of Salvador and was very happy with my stay.
The welcome of the Brothers and staff is genuinely and warmly hospitable yet uninstrusive.
I slept really well and the street noise was minimal as it is not a commercial street though I expect the rooms at the street side of the building would receive more noise.
The recommendations on personal safety are accurate - it's true that the area feels neither safe nor unsafe. I did walk home some nights about (phone number hidden) but felt that being vigilant and being sober were essential and if in any doubt, take a taxi. Many local small businesses such as small shops and internet cafes have buzz-in metal gate doors so this should serve as a general note of local caution against crime and that anyone is at risk, not just tourists. Overall though, I think the chances of getting one's ankles or knees clipped by a passing driver speeding whilst on their mobile phones on the unmarked roads is perhaps higher than the chance of being robbed!
I walked to the monastery from where the airport bus stops at Praca da Sé and this was perfectly do-able with a backpack and being fit but would be tricky with a wheelie-bag and likely to leave it in bad shape by the end as the streets are cobbled unevenly and the pavements are very narrow.
I also took the local bus from Praca da Sé back to the airport which took 1 hour and 20 minutes in the early afternoon with smooth-running traffic. I would allow for longer for rush-hour traffic as well as the disruptions that occur in places with the preparation for the World Cup.
When I return to Salvador I hope to stay at the monastery again. Thanks to eveyone there for the lovely stay I had!
Me gustó mucho este lugar, no tiene lujos pero tiene todo lo necesario, las personas son muy amables y la localización es muy buena para quien busque algo en el centro. El centro de Salvador es un lugar lleno de historia, pero hay que andar con cuidado. Los cuartos me parecieron muy cómodos aunque austeros.
Ricordate la canzone dei Pearl Jam "Just Breathe"?
l'esperienza nel monastero, anche se di 3 giorni, mi ha dato la possibilità di prendere un pò i fiato, allontanandomi dagli stress quotidiani e dai mille pensieri. 3 giorni, vissuti in estrema semplicità: un tetto, un letto ed una doccia.
Entrare nel monastero è come fare un viaggio nel tempo. La struttura è molto antica ed ha mantenuto la sua origine.
Ascoltare la mattina i monaci mentre cantano i loro cori, è un esperienza unica ed irripetibile. Fratello Francis e gli altri monaci, sono persone molto disponibili e ti aiutano in caso di necessità. Bisogna però rispettare le loro regole.
Nel monastero tu hai tutta la tua libertà ed autonomia.
L'unica cosa che mi dispiace è che il mio inglese non era molto buono, e non conoscevo il portoghese, per questo non c'è stato molto dialogo con i monaci.
Per me è stata una grande esperienza di vita.
I arrived very early after an overnight bus trip and was able to go to my room straight away, which was great. I was the only guest, so I probably had the best room, one that had mosquito screen on the window and overlooked the quiet courtyard. There were two beds, plenty of places to put stuff, a desk, a fan, and an overhead light. The room was clean, simple and comfortable. I had a choice of two bathrooms, both seemed perfectly adequate, nothing fancy. I did wake up with a stuffy nose because being an old building there was probably some dampness and maybe moldiness that caused an allergic reaction. The oldness of the building is also beautiful. I woke up to the sound of the morning service in the church next door, which I liked but might not be great if you wanted to sleep late. Overall I was really glad I stayed at the monastery because it was a glimpse into a hidden world. I attended evening vespers and had lunch with the monks for a nominal price, and so I had a chance to converse with the people living in this huge, cavernous, historic building, dedicated to their religious practice and work in the community, which I appreciated very much. I did get a bit lost in the building until I remembered which door was which, and there are no-go areas where the monks live. It is a good 20 minute walk from the monastery to the center of Pelourinho, and it seemed fine to walk during the day. I took a taxi back at night (I found it best to just go on the meter rather than ask for a fixed price). On most Tuesday evenings, I am told, there is a concert on the big steps that connect two streets going into Pelourinho, not far from the monastery. The guesthouse is a convenient location and great value, as well as being a very interesting experience, but I would not have been able to stay longer because of my allergy. I was only there one night, and it worked great for a stop-over.
Perfect stay for this unbeatable price. I stayed 4 nights in March.
Location is great, in Santo Antonio, in the alta cidade, 15 minutes walk from the Pelourinho, in a popular neighborhood (safe during the day, but need to be cautious at night), procuring a nice walk within colonial houses and building when going around.
As you could expect from a Monastery, the room (very small, but that's part of the initial deal !) is very silent, and gives you a nice relaxing break from crazy Salvador. Quite insolite, you hear the mass from the bathroom, when taking a shower in the morning.
Brother Francis and the rest of the monk team is really nice, warm and helpful, which adds to the fact you feel at home in this monastery.
I do recommend this place and would go again when I return to Salvador de Bahia. Olivier
We stayed at the Monastery Guesthouse for two nights and could not of been more satisfied with our stay. After being in Salvador for two weeks and Carnival, the Monastery recharged our batteries, providing a safe and calm environment that we very much appreciated. The building itself is worth the visit-although it is currently under reconstruction- it is a beautiful space very atypical to most traveling accommodations. Brother Francis welcomed us with open arms, providing anything needed to make our stay more comfortable and also spending time with us to talk about the monastery, its history, and their good work in the community. As mentioned in other reviews, this opportunity is not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a unique, quiet experience away from the intensity of Pelourinho (but still close enough to walk through it during the day) then we recommend Brother Francis' guesthouse.
I enjoyed my stay at the humble setting of Monastery Guesthouse. I was fortunate that Brother Francis Therese had the time for a profound conversation. I would stay again.
This was the perfect place for me! I think for an independent, budget conscious traveler, it is great. It is NOT a luxurious hotel, but if you like simplicity, it is perfect. Brother Francis and all the others in the convent are wonderful, very welcoming and helpful. I am so happy to have had the experience of staying here and would definitely return.
Zum Abschluss meiner 4monatigen Brasilienreise schien mir das Kloster ein geeigneter Ort meine vielen Erlebnisse noch einmal Revue passieren zu lassen. Tudo bom! Warum nicht teilnehmen am Klosterleben und den Flair eines alten Gebäudes erleben? Eine gute Entscheidung - Die Unterkunft im alten Kloster ist sehr einfach, aber es steht alles zur Verfügung was du brauchst. Dein Zimmer ist auf dem Gang, wo die anderen Konventmitglieder ( Schwestern und Brüder) auch wohnen. Mit ihnen teilst du WC und Dusche. Sei unbesorgt, die vielen Holzwürmer( Capims) im alten Gebälk sind da, gehören aber unbedingt zur Geschichte und sind auch nicht (website hidden) gibt die Gelegenheit zu kochen, abzuspülen und einen großen Kühlschrank in dem Du die Lebensmittel (Du kannst sie Dir im Supermarkt am Ende der Straße kaufen) auch aufbewahren kannst.
Einfaches Frühstück ( Brot, Butter, Marmelade und Früchte) wird Dir gebracht, Mittagessen kannst Du für 10 R$ im Konvent. Die Mitglieder des Konvents leben sehr zurückgezogen sind aber immer zur Stelle, wenn Hilfe benötigt wird.
Für mich war es eine außergewöhnliche Erfahrung und passgenau. Du bist wie auf einer Insel im quirligen Salvador! Ein Ort der Ruhe und des Rückzugs, auch der Kontemplation, nur ca.500 m vom Pelourinho entfernt.
a partir do momento em que deseja integrar em um convento e, eventualmente, participar na vida da comunidade (é inteiramente possível), esta visita pode ser realizada de uma forma muito construtiva
Esta estadia em um lugar bastante austero - é claro que não devemos esperar uma TV no quarto - mas havia um ventilador e foi o mais importante era o que eu esperava
Frei Francisco é um interlocutor agradável que respondeu a todas as perguntas que eu fiz dele, assim como o resto da comunidade pequena e simpática -
NB : muitas pessoas falam francês