The plan was to stay in Copacabana near the Olympic festivities and the sun drenched beaches for the duration of our trip to Brazil. But a hotel mix-up threw a wrench into our plans and my Russian and I were forced to relocate about 30 minutes away to the hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Convinced that our trip was ruined, I could barely wipe the tears away as Copacabana faded into the distance. That was until we pulled up to the entrance of the Villa Teresa Boutique Hotel Bed & Breakfast.
All that was visible from the street was the stucco wall dripping with ivy and the wooden double doors inviting us in. As we made our way up the stone steps and into the lobby my worries disappeared and a sense of calm washed over me. Even at night, the place oozed with charm. It felt like we had walked into the living room of an old friend. It was warm, inviting and a much needed retreat after an upsetting day.
Maria, a Russian native who fell in love with Brazil while visiting years ago and couldn’t bring herself to leave, greeted us and escorted us up the stairs and through the trees to our 3rd floor terrace room. The hotel is built directly into the hillside with an apparent effort to preserve and incorporate the natural foliage found in and around the structure. Once inside, I was struck by the brightness courtesy of the white tiled floors, cozy white linens and breezy white curtains adorning two large casement windows. The view of Rio down below was stunning and it felt as though we had just checked into a secret oasis far above the frenetic energy of the city. In the morning, the only sounds that could be heard were the birds chirping and the cool breeze gently rustling the leaves outside our window.
Although only 30 minutes from Copacabana, the neighborhood of Santa Teresa feels worlds away, as if you’ve been transported to the Italian countryside. The Villa Teresa is no exception. It is quiet, cozy, dimly lit and oozing with rustic charm. The personal touches from the fresh flowers to the hand painted room keys make you feel pampered and right at home. On a cold rainy day, I was perfectly content lounging in the 2nd floor sitting room swaddled under a blanket on the soft leather couch watching the storm pass by through the balcony window.
We were treated to a fresh breakfast each morning. The spread included an assortment of breads, meats, cheeses, fruits, sweet cakes, fresh squeezed juices and hot coffee. Daniel, the live-in chef, was also there to whip up fresh omelets and tapioca to our liking. No one left hungry, not even the marmosets who showed up daily for their morning meal.
In addition to breakfast, Daniel also runs a full bar and restaurant on-site that serves up made to order dishes for guests who aren’t up to dining out. He was even kind enough to create a kiwi passion fruit almond cake from scratch for my birthday. Talk about a personal touch!
The property also features an outdoor pool that overlooks the city of Rio where guests can take a cool dip after a long day of exploring.
If you’re looking for relaxation, peace, tranquility and a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, then I highly recommend the Villa Teresa. Information about room rates and availability can be found here.
***This is not a sponsored post. If ever I receive compensation in any form for content it is fully disclosed. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.