Considered one of the most sophisticated resort projects in Brazil, the Transamerica Ilha de Comandatuba Hotel is located in a vast green area of 8 million square meters in Una county in southern Bahia and within walking distance of the mainland. Built on an island of virgin forests in the mid-80s, the resort was born with the proposal to combine elegance and comfort in a region of clear sea, white sand, mangrove and coconut trees, with the challenge of keeping everything nature took millions of years to generate untouched.
The result of this 50-thousand-square-meter project, signed by the architect Ricardo Julian and by landscape artist Edward Stone, created a new resort concept in Brazil, combining refinement, ecology, comfort, tranquility, privacy and fun. Opened in March 1989, after four years of construction, the 5 leisure stars retains the charm of the Bahia Island, erected in the midst of a lush setting with 21 kilometers of beach, surrounded by century-old coconut trees and tropical gardens.
During the construction period, 43,000 ferry trips were needed to transport the material used in the work. No less than 10 thousand cubic meters of concrete, equivalent to 27,000 tons that filled 1,500 trucks, 22,000 meters of railroad tracks, 845,000 tiles, more than 8 million bricks, 7,000 cans of paint, 270,000 ceramic floors, plus a huge amount of other materials were needed to raise a project of this magnitude. Even the grass in the gardens came from São Paulo in the form of plates. To carry all this from the mainland to the island, ferries were specially built and reinforced to withstand time and effort. The vessels endured trips made 24 hours a day and with up to three trucks loaded aboard.
The construction of a bridge connecting the mainland to the island would greatly facilitate the work, but all the magic of the place would be compromised. During the four years of construction, about 15,000 people worked on the island. At some stages, the number of workers reached 1,200.
An infrastructure of international standards was created in a still unexplored area which required solutions such as drinking water, electricity and sewage. Underwater pipes take treated water to the island by decantation in the continent in two sub-stations. Electricity is sent through a 48 kilometer long private line, and arriving at the island it is channeled through underground pipelines. Sewage is treated in a sophisticated station capable of purifying the resulting water. Phone services come through the radio waves and organic waste is specially treated in the composting plant. The lobby and restaurant cooling is guaranteed through window frames and glass doors.
The project is inspired by the region's own cultural models. The mansion's architecture of old cocoa farms is remembered in clay tiles, in large eaves and terraces of each apartment. Horizontal buildings in perfect harmony with nature do not exceed the height of the coconut trees. The landscape design takes full advantage of the island's natural beauty and carries the signature of the same professionals who designed the gardens in Epcot Center at Disneyworld and the White House.
The construction of the Transamerica Ilha de Comandatuba Hotel contributed to showing the Bahia people in that region the new possibilities generated in commerce and services. It is no exaggeration to say that the project has changed their lives.