“Luxury neo-colonial hotel in Rio's boho mountainside barrio, evoking tropical and ethnic Brazil in its art and interior design”
The French owners' celebration of Brazil’s native art in the neo-colonial décor is impressive in itself. But combined with unrivalled cuisine, unique spa treatments, fantastic service and 44 glorious bedrooms, it's a knockout. This place is a seriously stylish cut above other hotels in the area - and the only Relais & Châteaux member in Rio to date. The techniques and wealth of experience brought to bear may be French, but - with the exception of the remarkably comfortable beds imported from North America - every other resource and material has been sourced from within Latin America. The end result is quintessentially Brazilian; refreshing in a part of town that others would like to turn into Montmartre.
- The restaurant, Térèze, with its delicious global cuisine, pastoral yet elegant interiors and sweeping views
- Le Spa - this neighbourhood's first, and the flagship of luxury Brazilian aromatherapy brand Natura
- The 25m pool, with its lounge bar and awesome views up to the mountains and down over Guanabara Bay
- Just a minute's walk from Largo dos Guimarães, the centre of Santa Teresa
- Lovely little touches - free Havaianas wrapped up in a pretty box, fresh orchids in every room, welcome drinks on arrival
- The hotel hosts weddings most weekends, so it can get a little noisy, especially around the pool
- It's a 15-20 minute taxi ride from Rio's beaches
- It's expensive for the area, and rates don't include breakfast or taxes
- Given the rather dilapidated barrio, you might feel self-conscious emerging onto the streets from such an exclusive, upmarket hotel
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
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 latest 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.
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Luxuriate in Le Spa - use of the relaxation area and sauna is free for hotel guests. For full-on pampering, try the signature 'Tridemensional Anti-Stress Massage' or the 3-hour detoxifying, revitalising and relaxing treatments
- Walk a mere 50m along the cobbled street to Largo dos Guimarães, the once-derelict heart of boho Santa Teresa, with its rickety old trams, colourful colonial houses, arty shops and authentic restaurants and bars
- Visit the nearby Chácara do Céu, a small museum based in an old mansion house with an eclectic selection of contemporary art
- Head down to Lapa (a 5-minute taxi ride) for the best nightlife in Rio. Try Rio Scenarium, Carioca da Gema and Estrela da Lapa for live samba and choro music and dancing until the early hours
- Go up Corcovado - you're well-located for taking the 30-minute cab ride up the twisty roads to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, from where the view of Rio on a clear day is unbeatable
- Visit Praça Quinze in historical Centro on a Saturday morning for the antiques market: the largest selection of bric-a-brac you'll find in Rio, set under a noisy flyover. For better-quality antiques head to Lapa on the first Saturday of the month
- Rio's famous beaches (Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, etc) are all a 15-20 minute taxi ride away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
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.
Family friendly accommodation:
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
Hotel Santa Teresa is 50m up the hill from Largo dos Guimarães, the central square of the bohemian Santa Teresa neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
International flights to Rio land at Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (20km away). Domestic flights arrive at Santos Dumont Domestic Airport (3km away). Click on the links below for more information about airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
The hotel offers transfers from both airports - see Rates. Alternatively you can take a radio taxi - buy a pre-paid voucher at the Transcoopass desk in the arrivals hall.
You won't need a car in Rio, but if you want to hire one to explore the surrounding region, see our car rental recommendations.
Brazil's major cities are linked by excellent long-distance bus services. Always travel first class because the difference in fares is nominal, but it means you get air conditioning, reclining seats and bathroom facilities on board. Services stop at the Novo Rio Rodoviaria terminal downtown; from there you can take a taxi to the hotel.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Brazil and getting around
- Rio de Janeiro Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International 20.0 km GIG
- Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont Domestic 3.0 km SDU
- Beach 7.0 km
- Shops 0.3 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km