“Luxury neo-colonial hotel in Rio's boho mountainside barrio, evoking tropical and ethnic Brazil in its art and interior design”
All rooms are light, airy and generously sized, with white walls, wood furnishings and a handsome mixture of indigenous Brazilian and neo-colonial décor. No two are the same, but smooth slate shower rooms, top-quality bed linen and exceptionally comfortable kingsize beds come as standard. We don't use the word 'exceptionally' lightly here - the owners took the 150% import tax on the fine North American beds on the chin, so intent were they on providing their guests with the optimum sleeping conditions.
Ground-floor rooms have smooth burnt-cement floors, while those upstairs have varnished wood floors. If you want a bathtub and a good view, make a special request. All rooms come with fresh orchids, giant wood-framed mirrors and fluffy white bathrobes.
The Superior Rooms are the smallest and cheapest. However, we found some on the first floor to be sunnier and more private than the more expensive Deluxe Rooms on the ground floor.
Of the Deluxe Rooms we saw, we recommend Room 3, furthest away from the main entrance and nearer the pool. It has a bath, too. Although their balconies are so small you can barely stand on them, the upstairs Deluxe Rooms felt more spacious inside than their ground-floor counterparts. Room 47 has panoramic views over the yellow spires of Santa Teresa's Anglican church to Corcovado and Christ the Redeemer.
The Junior Suites have sitting areas behind veil partitions and are slightly bigger than the Deluxe Rooms; number 32 has nice views over Rio. You could cartwheel across each of the huge Master Suites, and breathtaking views, fine art and free-standing bathtubs are guaranteed.
The Loft Suite takes up the entire top floor and boasts a panoramic 360-degree vista over Guanabara Bay and the mountains. It also has a balcony, living areas and a telescope for making the most of the view. Glorious.
Imagine a Florentine hilltop barn gracefully converted into a dining area and you have an idea of the atmosphere in the hotel's fabulous restaurant, Térèze. It's separated from the Bar dos Descasados (onetime slaves' quarters, now seeing better times) by ceramic tile steps that sweep up through the terraced garden to the pool and lawn.
The best tables are the round ones in the 5 large archway windows (come early to bag these). From here, you can enjoy views over Santa Teresa's eclectic jumble of dilapidated mansions while savouring creative cuisine from one of France's finest chefs, Philippe Moulin, who mixes things up by cooking Brazilian-Mexican fusion food using French methods.
Ingredients are sourced from the 4 corners of Latin America, so the dishes change in accordance with the seasons. On our 2014 revisit, our salmon tartare with coconut foam, grapefruit chipotle and guacamole was a winning starter, and we loved our main of suckling pig with mashed sweet potatoes, truffles and a red onion compote. Need we elaborate?
Breakfast - taken either in your room or in the restaurant - is also a work of art. The content is unextraordinary but the presentation, like all the food here, is inspired. A rainbow of fresh fruit - mango, papaya, strawberry - comes with a glass of yoghurt and granola flakes. Individual breadbaskets include the finest croissants we've found in Rio, plus delicious chocolate muffins and freshly baked rolls to go with the platter of cold meats and cheeses. The coffee and the giant wine glasses of orange and watermelon juice are all first-rate.
Should you want to venture out for a couple of meals, we recommend Restaurante Aprazivel, perhaps the most romantic eatery in Rio and only a 10-minute taxi drive away. Or try a traditional Saturday feijoada lunch at Bar do Mineiro, just down the road.
Children of all ages are welcome, and extra beds can be provided free of charge for those under 12. Baby cots are also available, and babysitting can be arranged on request.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking