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Reviews (349)
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All reviewswalk into townidyllic retreatremember his namehigh chairspecial atmosphereour honeymoonspoke perfect englishromantic getawaysmall waterpiece of paradisefree internettwo floorsprivate jettyoverlooking the bayflip flopsten minute walkfruit
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Reviewed 21 September 2009

We chose Sagu for our honeymoon on Ilha Grande. We are discriminating travelers and Sagu delivered impeccably on all fronts. The location was ideal: a few minutes walk from the only town, but completely private, so we could relax and experience an unspoiled rainforest environment while overlooking a quiet azure bay with sea turtles coming to visit the resort every afternoon.

The town (Abraao) is where all the pousadas are located, and though it is charming I am SO glad we didn’t stay there - it’s congested with tourists and exhaust-spewing boats, there’s noise and construction everywhere, and it’s the least attractive beach on the island.

The staff at Sagu were consistently attentive and helpful, suggesting trails, day trips, beaches, etc and most spoke English. Our room was spacious, clean and tastefully decorated, with a private balcony and ocean view. The grounds were immaculate while retaining a lush, tropical feel. Breakfast was a copious spread of fresh squeezed juices, various fruits, just baked breads, cheeses and cold cuts on a patio overlooking the water. For restaurants we tried many; by far the best was at the Toscanelli at the Sagu. Fresh grilled fish, pasta, and the best filet of beef I’ve ever tasted, plus a great wine list. My husband loved the guests’ private office area with free 24/7 internet.

This beautiful island can be a bit scruffy when it comes to services, and it was a pleasure to be so well taken care of, to have the most comfortable accommodations available and fresh, delicious food, while also getting a serene island experience.

Exceeded all expectations. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank boulderjudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2009

We rented out the entire Sagu Mini Resort for 4 days in May 2009 for our wedding. At the end of the four days, we and our guests were very satisfied, even the very picky and demanding ones.

Strong points:
-beautiful and well maintained facilities right up against the rain forest for the most part
-most rooms had a great view and were clean and very beautifully finished
-great breakfast
-service was very good for the most part, particularly by the general manager Ms. Ana and a few of the other staff
-the food on wedding night was fantastic - everybody, including a few gourmands, was ranting and raving about how delicious it was
-Ms Ana, the manager, corresponded with my mother beforehand to accommodate her vegan diet
-management/staff had an easygoing attitude when we partied until 3am and received a couple of noise complaints
-arranged dock pickups, boats to Lopes Mendes, transportation back to Rio, etc. for what those guests thought was a reasonable price
-we went to Buzios and Paraty afterwards, and we were so happy that we had chosen Ilha Grande over those two more famous Brazilian tourist spots.
-they charge 4BRL for a can of beer, which was less than half the price of the Rio Sheraton and comparable to much simpler accommodations on Ilha Grande


Things to work on:
-on the first night and on the fifth night (a few of us decided to stay an extra night), the food took far too long, and in my opinion, was overpriced; they did, however, provide great breakfasts everyday and delicious appetizers and an extensive buffet on our wedding night
-the wireless has a few blind spots and goes out when it rains (it is a fairly remote location, though, so I imagine that is a common problem all over the island)
-the walk from the town to Sagu is about 15-20 minutes, and sometimes you have to walk through a few small tidal pools; the 30-somethings thought it was rustic and romantic, but my 67 year-old mother and 76 year-old aunt couldn't be bothered to do it everyday; Sagu will gladly arrange a water taxi.
-we had cocktails in the hot tub on the first night, but it was more like a very warm tub; it had recently undergone repairs; nevertheless we had a good time

Basically everybody had a great time at Sagu, and except for a few hiccups, we were happy we had our wedding there. Yes, it is more expensive than other places on the island, but we and our guests felt we were able to truly relax there.

  • Stayed: May 2009
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1  Thank Westcoast2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2009

Do not stay here. There are a hundred other pousadas in IG with a better location that are much cheaper. The transfer price quoted in our confirmation email increased significantly when
we tried to book it from Rio, so we arranged our own transportation. When we got to the dock, there was no one from Sagu around, and we had to ask strangers how to get there. Upon arrival, after the 15 minute hike with our bags up muddy hills, Sagu staff said 'oh, you should have taken our taxi boat.' Yeah. Thanks.

The bathroom ceiling leaked and the room was full of tiny ants. The bed was
hard and the pillows were so flat that you had to fold them in half. On
the bright side, the grounds were quite nicely kept and gardens well-manicured.

The hot tub looks nice on the website, but we did not feel like ponying up $20 per person to use it for one hour. Jeez. The restaurant has an extensive menu, unfortunately, 3/4 of the items were crossed off as unavailable.

My scallop linguine had three tiny scallops (seriously) and a handful of salad shrimp. They have an extensive wine list, but little of what's on
the list is available. Particularly if it's raining (which it did one night we were there) it is impracticable to eat anywhere but at the resort because the hike into town is just too onerous. Breakfast was passable, but
we were swarmed with black flies while we ate.
Staff was unhelpful with planning excursions, and it's no mystery why.
They offer excursions through the hotel - such as to Lopez Mendez beach -
at an exorbitent rate. We hiked to LM Beach and easily caught an independent
boat back for $5R. It's not often you can do something for a fraction
of the price. Similarly, their transfer from the island back to Rio cost hundreds of dollars. We opted to arrange through one of the companies in town, and found that the service only cost $65R per person.

I do, however, highly recommend Ilha Grande, and wish that our stay on
the island had been longer as there was more to do than we could accomplish in our two days.

Edited to revise figures, as I inadvertently miscalculated some of the
rates and wanted to make my review as accurate as possible. Also worth noting -- upon initially posting this review, the owner of Sagu e-mailed my
husband's employers to call us disonhest (and likely to intimidate us into removing the review). This is the kind of individual you'd be doing business with in choosing Sagu.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Girl_Lawyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
denisVentiane_Laos, owner at Sagu Mini Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 14 July 2009

I must contest the review of Girl-Lawyer for the fact that many of the allegations are the result of facts that is not possible to detail in order not to contradict the guidelines required by Trip Advisor management responses.

The Sagu Mini Resort is situated slightly detached from the village of Ilha Grande, Abraão. To get there you walk along two beaches and a short path covered by vegetation. You arrive at the Sagu that has a small beach and a private pier overlooking a beautiful bay. So, I think I can say that it is very difficult to someone deny that our pousada has one of the best locations, confirmed by the various reviews of our guests.

We offer, we do not impose, a private transfer service that has the characteristic that you have at your disposal a driver with a car, at a desired time and place. Followed by a speed boat waiting for you at a private pier, for a crossing of only 20 minutes. The total time for transfer from Rio to the Sagu is 2½ hours, compared to 6 hours with the public service. The price, which Lawyer-Girl founds “outrageous” is 275.00 USD, up to 4 people, and we offer it to guests as an alternative.

At Ilha Grande arrives daily about 20 boats from different points of the continent. The Sagu is 15 min. walking from the main pier, so we pick up all our guests, that previously warn us about their arrival time. The couple in question didn’t inform us of their arrival time and decided to take a walk, that is commonly referred to as pleasant.

The ofuro "Hot tub" contains about 400 liters of water that must be heated to 40°C. We prepare the environment with candles and incense and leave 2 bathrobes available. Only costs 10 USD per person, per hour, not 20 USD.

The couple in question had the good fortune to eat a fresh lobster, offered as extra, which was not in the menu that was being revised at that time. Toscanelli Brasil restaurant is renowned and appreciated, we confirm it with the various positive reviews we received.
Regarding going to the village, as I said, by foot, takes 15 min, a taxi boat (our sourced service) costs 2.5 USD per person and, for us, it doesn’t seems so expensive!
It is true that there was a loss in the bathroom of their room, but was repaired the same. Our pillows are ergonomic and new, replaced every 6 months.
The Sagu is immersed in an exuberant nature: the lush tropics includes several species of bromeliacee, orchids, small monkeys, colorful hummingbirds and butterflies and even a rare protected species of bee, which produces a delicious honey. It is the Irapuã (trigona Spinipes) which, although harmless, has this misfortune to have a certain resemblance to the common fly. We placed, in open view, information about this insect for our guests at the breakfast, but it seems that Lawyer-Girl didn’t read it.
We cannot dispute the fact that our staff has been unhelpfull, but it seems highly unlikely.
The excursions offered to our guests are an outsourced service, reason that is more expensive that the group ones but again, we do not impose them because Sagu acts only as intermediary between the guest and a Marine Operator.

Finally I would like to reiterate that if I was forced to respond to this review it’s because the reason for the negativity towards us exists by the fact that Layer-Girl and her partner, have left the Sagu forgetting to pay the bill. It might happen sometimes, if the fact is caused by distraction…

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2009

This is a delightful small hotel on Ilha Grande. The island is very much tailored for backpackers and this hotel breaks that mould. It isn't a large luxurious complex but a lovely quaint small hotel right by the sea and just a short stroll from a few beaches.

We had booked the transfer from the airport in Rio and having arrived the transfer iteslf had a few issues. To be fair though when we arrived the manager was extremely apologetic and we were totally happy with the arrangement we came to. The return transfer was fine and we used the same guy to take us up to Buzios after being in Rio for a few days. Note that the transfer is expensive, but it is a long way from Rio and if you're going to be here for only a few days I'd reccommend it to avoid travelling hassles and to get there sooner.

Unfortunately while we were there inbetween Xmas and New Year we had pretty poor weather. It was very cloudy, and raining, a lot. However, should you come across this problem be aware that the other areas of the island may well be bathed in sunshine! The hotel's boat is available to hire with driver for the day and is a great way to see the many beaches without a crowd. If it's not available reception will happily find you an alternative. We left the cloud behind and spent the day with blue skies.

Boats are not the cheapest of course, and you can walk to a numer of other locations or take boat taxis around the island. The walk to the most picturesque beach is probably not usually challenging but in wet weather it was extremely slippy - a mud track with steep slippy slopes. Still an enjoyable walk though even if it has been raining!

Eating and going out depends on what you are looking for. The local town is a ten minute walk away over pathways and beach. It was lively and full of small bars and restaurants aimed at travellers. Sagu's restaurant is fantastic and certainly the best we found by a distance. Breakfast was equally good, and the hotel offers a small study area with books, computer with internet connection and DVDs.

The staff at the hotel were excellent. Friendly and willing to help us with all our enquiries. The room we had was large and of a good quality. If you're after comfort and something like 4* quality you won't be disappointed. And remember this is a basic island with no roads, cars and not many great places to stay. With that in mind you will certainly be happy if you're looking for a really nice comfortable option on Ilha Grande.

Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank brindlg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2009

If you want to relax with a book or three in a hammock, looking out on breathtakingly beautiful scenery, then this is the place to stay. Accommodation is simple but comfortable, the owner is a tad gruff but very helpful, and the staff are a joy (especially Agatha in the restaurant).

Dozens of restaurants are within 10-15 minutes walk, none of which delivered a bad experience for us. The island is beyond beautiful, and far exceeded our expectations.

This is not clubbing central or shopping nirvana, it's an idyllic retreat from the rat race.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank meneugh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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