Santa Teresa is ‘the authentic Rio’, or so say the people at Hotel Santa Teresa, which has just re-opened its doors after three years of restoration. The boutique hotel is nestled in this picturesque corner of the Brazilian city, its cultural and historical heart, far from high-rises and traffic. A former colonial mansion, the hotel is surrounded in red roofs, cobblestone streets and ‘exuberant nature’.
Santa Teresa, the district, is known for its artist ateliers, museums, and Rio’s only remaining tramway. Inside, the hotel does boutique, Brazilian style.
Inspired by the era of coffee and cocoa, it has 44 rooms, adorned with natural materials like coconut and banana tree fibers, black and golden limestone slate, and tropical woods like Canela, Imbuia, Peroba and Ypês.
There are burnt cement floors and Portuguese tiles. Furniture and art pieces have been created by contemporary Brazilian designers like Sérgio Rodriguez, Rock Lane, Carassas, Oficina de Agosto, and Zemog – providing an insight into the Brazilian soul. Armadillos and donkeys litter the rooms, as if they were perfectly at home there.
The hotel is set in 4,000 square meters of tropical gardens, and the pool boasts panoramic views of the city.
It still resembles a colonial mansion – you can even have a drink under the arches of the former slave quarters.
A little disconcerting perhaps, but not something you’ll be too worried about as you sip your caipirinha by the pool, looking out over Rio de Janeiro Bay, the Teresopolis Mountains and the Christ Redeemer. RM
Images: Santa Teresa