Santa Teresa Hotel – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Situated atop the bucolic, airy hillside enclave of Santa Teresa – a haven for Rio’s creative and artist community – sits the newly opened eponymously named hotel. Converted by a French hotelier, the former coffee plantation lends itself perfectly to parading as Rio’s most idyllic and tropical escape.
- With 41 bedrooms and suites, the hotel remains boutique at heart and the excellent service is the only thing that gives the place away as being part of the Relais & Chateaux chain. The smallest rooms are spacious, simply yet stylishly decorated with decent sized bathrooms (great showers) and wooden floors, most coming with a terrace or balcony and almost all with a city view and even that of Christ the Redeemer on a cloudless day.
- While building regs mean that the exterior has received nothing more than a good lick of paint, the interior has been lovingly restored and reconfigured throughout using dark, jacaranda wood and featuring Brazilian art and designer furniture.
- Uruguayan General Manager Juan Sander and his crack team ensure an efficient yet relaxed and informative check-in and even during the busiest times when the hotel is full, their attention is undivided and unwavering.
- Check-in 2pm / check-out 12noon (although if your room isn’t needed, a late check-out can be arranged).
- Attracting a mix of nationalities, mainly wealthy Brazilians, Argentinians, lots of French and Brits, most guests are in their forties and fifties.
- Restaurant – In-house restaurant, Térèze, is run by French chef, Damian Montecer and well known in Rio for its use of local and regional produce, creating a gastronomic French-Brazilian fusion experience. Dishes such as Macadamia nut crusted tenderloin steak, pan-fried grouper filet with plantain bananas, Argentinean steak with palm hearts, cheesecake with guava juice and blue papaya cream feature on the menu
- Bar – Voted Rio’s “Most Romantic Bar”, the beautiful fabrics covering the chaise-longues, beds and sofas give the bar a decadent Moroccan twist.
- Swimming pool & garden – The perfectly heated swimming pool is great for cooling off in the afternoon or for a serious morning swim. Relaxing on the sun-beds affords a tranquil yet stunning panoramic view out across the city and up to Cristo Redentor.
- Spa – A relaxing, peaceful space; prices are comparable with London spa treatments including tri-dimensional massage and ofuro baths.
- Santa Teresa Hotel – Rua Almirante Alexandrino 660, Santa Teresa, 20241-260 Rio de Janeiro (t: +55 21 3380 0200 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.santa-teresa-hotel.com).
- 19 – 24 April 2011
- Hot, sunny, clear blue skies, 29/33°C; cooler evenings.
- A 40-minute drive from Rio’s international airport.
- Watch out for the three-for-four night offers and if breakfast isn’t part of your package, pop around the corner to Café Cito on Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, for excellent cappuccino, delicious fresh juices and good pastries. Ultimately, Santa Teresa is a far superior and quite different experience to staying by the over-crowed main beaches, especially Copacabana.
THE FAT MOUSE VERDICT:
- The Good – The stylish rooms and excellent yet friendly service; the sense of tropical escape combined with security; watching monkeys playing in the trees from the hotel garden or bedroom balcony in the morning; the fantastic concierge service from Carol, Aymeric & Sergio on the front desk.
- The Bad – Planes leaving from the city’s domestic airport flying overhead can add to Rio’s general hum, depending on the wind; confused or cheeky chambermaids have been known to add on mini-bar extras so checking the bill thoroughly on departure is a good idea; everything is pricey from the spa treatments to the laundry service but costs appear to be in-line with overall Brazilian tourist prices.
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