Down on the continent of South America in the heart of Brazil, welcome to my favorite hotel in all of Rio de Janeiro – the Santa Teresa RJ MGallery by Sofitel. Nestled in the charming neighborhood of Santa Teresa, this super authentic boutique accommodation surpassed my exceptions when it comes to luxury travel in Rio. With gorgeous grounds, mouthwatering food, sensational spa services and superb care by the staff, my stay in Brazil would not have been complete without experiencing this Santa Teresa hotspot. I’ll take you on a brief insider review of my experience at this luxury hotel, sharing highlights of my travel experience. Scroll on down to the bottom of this post for a list of helpful tidbits when booking this accommodation.
THE HOTEL GROUNDS
Formerly a colonial hacienda, this hotel exudes charm the moment you step foot on the property. Lush green landscaped gardens create a secret sanctuary amdist a giant international city. Spot a monkey climbing above the trees of this rustic accommodation as you sit beside the breathtaking pool perched on Santa Teresa’s hilltops. The attention to detail in the decor and ambiance of the hotel makes you feel at home, yet sustains that luxury hotel appeal and feel all at the same time.
My favorite aspects of the hotel grounds included the charming ivy covered staircases that connected the restaurant, spa and main hotel area. I appreciated the authenticity of the open-air lobby, as well as the hotel’s main feature, a gorgeous turqoise pool overlooking the city. From day to night, the colors of the pool area changed drastically which I tried to capture in my photographs below. My favorite aspect of the pool was how quiet and non-resorty it felt. What do I mean, you ask? The pool, juxtaposed against the relaxed and cozy nature of the hotel, felt as if I was just lounging at a pal’s mansion right in the heart of Brazil’s most bustling city. To make its foreign guests feel “right at home” is the intangible aspect of this hotel that sets itself apart from competitors. You have to see it and feel it for yourself.
The rooms are elegantly decorated with refined local fabrics, and equipped with convenient amenities, making your stay luxurious but cozy and comfortable. I stayed in the top-floor suite with an expansive deck and outdoor soaking tub. It was the perfect quiet space to relax and read a book for hours straight. In the background, I could hear subtle street sounds, mostly children playing, birds chirping, and mothers yelling that dinner was ready. Porch-side rooms include a hammock and shaded outdoor space to take in views of the colorful neighborhoods below. I loved the turn-down service at night, where we would return to our suite and find lanterns glowing on the terrace, a dimly lit bedroom with local Brazilian music quietly playing. The details of this hotel experience made all the difference.
Food is the most primitive form of comfort, so what better comfort than to enjoy something different and delicious on your travel journey? While in Brazil I savored lots of local dishes and specialties, but my food enjoyed while at the Santa Teresa was unforgettable. From breakfast, lunch, dinner, to poolside dining and sexy late-night cocktails, this tiny hotel had it all! Tereze, the hotel’s main restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aside from the main meals, be sure to check-out the super swanky hotel bar called Bar dos Descasados. Here you will find large loungers, a candlelit open-air setting with killer cocktails and small-bites. By the poolside, you can order local favorites or comfort food classics. On my last day in Brazil, so sad to say good-bye, I indulged in a gigantic burger and some sugary churros – emotional eating, but absolutely delicious.
It’s not a vacation if you don’t pamper yourself. Right within the hotel premises, located down the steps on the lower level, escape to the endearing spa facility. There are not frills or fancy technology features of this spa, but something about its simple setup is just perfect in my opinion. Offering scrubs, facials and body massages, schedule a treatment during your stay at the Santa Teresa. I recommend a Brazilian sea-salt body scrub at dusk, when the natural light shines through the linen drapes and helps wind down your day.
QUICK TIPS ON THIS HOTEL
- Located about 30 minutes from the two major international airports in Rio
- Located about 20 minutes from the “beach area” of Rio
- Nestled up in the hills of the artsy neighborhood called Santa Teresa
- Prices range from $250 – $650/night depending on the time of year
- The ideal time to visit would be during the spring or fall when temperatures are warm but pleasant
- On-site concereige is available to help you organize tours, hire taxis, and plan excursions during your stay
- 44 Rooms total, built in 1850
- Previously owned and operated by Relais & Chateaux
- Tell them Ladyhattan sent you for special treatment/special rates when booking by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org