The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Enjoy a stay at one of these stylish, unique properties in Santa Teresa
Enjoy a stay at one of these stylish, unique properties in Santa Teresa | Courtesy of Mama Shelter Rio De Janeiro / Expedia
Alex Robinson

There’s something deliciously remote and romantic about Rio’s hilltop neighborhood Santa Teresa, with its little yellow tram service reminiscent of Lisbon, and imperious mansions straight out of The Addams Family. Its USP is the lofty location – and from the best boutique hotels in Santa Teresa you’ll get heart-fluttering views over the cinematic contours of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1. Vila Santa Teresa

Boutique Hotel

Rooftop swimming pool with sunbeds overlooking city, rocks and ocean at Vila Santa Teresa, Alexandrino
Courtesy of Vila Santa Teresa / Expedia

Vila Santa Teresa’s isolated location is easy to forgive once you take sight of the views. Central restaurants and bars might be out of reach, and the beach is a 20-minute cab ride away, but you wake with Sugarloaf and Guanabara Bay visible from the end of your bed – and your poolside sunlounger. The white and cream rooms are fresh, with polished wood floors and large granite and marble ensuites. Make sure you’re aware of hidden extras – unlike in most Rio hotels, breakfast and water are not included.

2. Mama Shelter

Boutique Hotel

Outside dining area with red chairs and potted plants at Mama Shelter Rio De Janeiro
Courtesy of Mama Shelter Rio De Janeiro / Expedia

Since this is a chain hotel, the hipster touches have a corporate feel – notice the street-art dedications to Rio as “the Marvelous City,” and the kitschy lamp shades. There’s a young-at-heart, hostel feel that’s reflected in the service – expect to carry your own bags to your room. Highlights include the DJ-driven bar, loungey restaurant space and mesmerizing views of Rio from the rooftop. Top tip: book rooms on the upper floor for air, light and views, as some on the ground floor have no windows.

3. Santa Teresa Hotel

Boutique Hotel

Turquoise swimming pool and striped sun beds under trees at MGallery Santa Teresa Hotel
Courtesy of MGallery Santa Teresa Hotel / Expedia

If you want to blend Santa Teresa’s dreamy Sugarloaf views with the five-star facilities you’d find by the beach, check in here. The hotel sits on a hillside with the Rio skyline spread at its feet. It can lay claim to the neighborhood’s biggest pool, as well as a fine French-inspired restaurant and luxurious rooms decked-out in warm woods. Deluxe rooms have hammock-slung balconies, while designer furnishings are by the likes of Sergio Rodrigues, the “father of Brazilian furniture.”

4. Sant Martre

Boutique Hotel

Large hanging chair under tree on deck looking over Rio at Sant Martre
Courtesy of Sant Martre / Expedia

Tick boxes for: Rio views from the communal garden and some rooms, breakfast included, restaurants and bars on the doorstep and edgy Lapa’s nightlife a five-minute cab ride away. Sant Martre has much to offer at an economical price. Rooms are simply fitted and furnished in wood-laminate and whitewash, with workstations and ensuites. Consider upgrading from one of the standards to a suite for much more space and a garden or city skyline view from your balcony.

5. Casa Geranio


Infinity pool with view of the city in distance at Casa Geranio
Courtesy of Casa Geranio / Expedia

With excellent rates, Geranio is built for peaceful intimacy. There are only a handful of rooms, named after herbs and spices, all decked out in modern creams, neutral tones and polished woods. The setting is terrific – expect views over thick forest to downtown Rio’s serrated skyline from the plunge pool balconies in the plushest suites. Alternatively, gaze down over terracotta tiles from the shared pool and patio as you indulge in a lazy breakfast, included in the price.

Immerse yourself in Rio’s natural beauty by embarking on the city’s gorgeous outdoor tours. Eat like a local by trying the very best Brazilian desserts, or, if you can’t make it to the city, explore it from the comfort of your own living room. If you want to extend your Brazilian vacation, book yourself into the best hotels and best resorts in the country now via Culture Trip.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally written by Sarah Brown.

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