Casa Marques Santa Teresa
What We Love
- A new all-suites hideaway boasting sweeping vistas of Guanabara Bay – includes breakfastTaking in the works by Rio street artists, plus the views from the bay to Christ the Redeemer
- Exploring the nearby sights, like the Escadaria Selarón stairway – and taking the tram downhill
- Lounging on an armchair in the kitchen’s seating area, after a tapioca breakfast
- Enjoying a nap in your airy, contemporary accommodation, with its own phenomenal vistas
What To Know
- Driving in Rio is tricky and there's no onsite parking at the hotel – opt for airport-to-door chauffeur service
- Located in Santa Teresa, one of Rio's most bohemian neighborhoods
- Hit the rooftop infinity pool for views of Guanabara Bay and the Christ the Redeemer statue
Country or city? At Rio de Janeiro’s all-suite Casa Marques Santa Teresa, you can get a little (OK, a lot) of both, with some sweeping vistas of Guanabara Bay thrown into the mix. The low-key, high-style oasis, boasting one of the top rankings of any Rio inn on TripAdvisor, is inspired by the aesthetics of modern urban life, showcasing artworks by local graphic designers and street artists (including Carioca icon Toz). But you’re not exactly in the thriving Centro – although the sunshine-yellow local tram will bring you toward the famous downtown. Rather, you’re high above all the action, in the hills of the bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood.??
Nowhere is this more apparent than the panoramic rooftop pool deck, where those spectacular bay views are on display, as are views of the Christ the Redeemer statue. You can do your ogling from one of the loungers, in the shade of an umbrella at the cocktail bar or in the infinity pool. Also find computers at pool level, for looking up local recommendations; downstairs is the airy kitchen and lounge, where tea-and-tapioca breakfasts and light lunch and dinner bites are served, among mid-century armchairs and pendant lights. Make yourself at home – it may boast dazzling scenery, artwork and boutique amenities, but this Brazilian casa is definitely meant to be sua casa.
Your suite’s design echoes the hotel’s, emphasizing contemporary lines and a minimalist palette of whites and off-whites. Behold original artwork and a beautiful rug, produced by a Brazilian artisan. Standard suites measure 215 square feet and boast panoramic vistas of Guanabara Bay through large glass windows. At 269 square feet, Deluxe suites are slightly larger and, like the Standard suites, overlook the bay. The incredibly spacious Master suites, which measure in at 538 square feet, offer some of the best views in the entire city, which you can take in from the private balcony. Their bathroom includes the addition of a bathtub.
The kitchen is a stylish, laid-back place to enjoy a breakfast of tapioca and refreshing Brazilian iced tea. Set in the main mansion, it features an inviting, light-filled seating area – think more bright whites and pops of jade and fuchsia – and also opens for later meals. The menu emphasizes light bites: salads, broths, sandwiches, and the like. For a strong drink or just a side of scenery, head to the panoramic rooftop bar.
From the soccer to the samba, Rio is a truly dazzling city – and a sprawling one, too. You’ll be high in the hills of Santa Teresa, far from the action-packed Centro, but with views over all the most famous natural landmarks: the Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, Guanabara Bay. In addition to enjoying the lookouts, you might consider visiting the famous Escadaria Selarón staircase or visit the park of the ruins of Laurinda Santos Lobo. And when you do want to head downhill and downtown, drive or take a ride in the sunshine-yellow Santa Teresa tram.
How to Get There
To start on the positives - the hotel is beautiful and the views are as incredible as pictured - the rooms are also well decorated and the beds comfortable. The view was the main reason for us booking this hotel and we had read a few negative remarks and chosen to ignore them - as you may well also chose to do.
However, I will say that once you are actually there (or even whilst you're trying to find the hotel on the way there in a taxi) you quickly realise that these 'niggles' will negatively impact your overall trip. When our taxi driver did eventually locate the hotel (which is not actually located on the road it claims to be and is not signposted at all from the main road) he seemed extremely concerned that we were staying there and warned us not to step outside the gates on our own - the hotel is essentially in the middle of an extremely dangerous favela (also demonstrated to us by police officers who pointed a massive gun in our faces whilst we were in the back of another taxi on our way home from dinner one evening).
Please don't read into this that we are a couple of uncultured, spoiled brits - as we had when we read some of the negative reviews before booking. We had assumed when booking that this was a quaint family run hotel and that we would be staying amongst the locals in a local part of the city - however it felt far from this, none of the staff lived at the hotel it seemed and staff rotated on a regular basis - not quite the personal, family atmosphere or service we expected - in fact I second many of the other comments around the arrogance of some.
I was also shocked and disappointed that, given how isolated the hotel is (15 min taxi to the nearest 'town'), they chose to use this as an opportunity to profiteer - the water here was the most expensive water we came across on our trip to Brazil (including restaurants, Sao Paolo and isolated lodges in the middle of the pantanal) and £2.50 for a pack of M&M's!! Surely when you're guests can't step outside or walk to the local shop you should provide reasonably priced basics and at least a complimentary bottle of water?! We could only assume that this was to help fund the incredible number of staff that seemed to be wondering around the hotel - easily a 2:1 ratio of staff to guests!
The icing on the cake for us was being charge $150 for the genuinely worst bottle of 'fizz' we have tasted. My husband had requested a bottle ahead of our visit in order to celebrate our 10 year anniversary together - he was not quoted a price on the bottle or given a choice - and given the quality of wines we'd had out during our trip (for far less money than this bottle) we were extremely taken aback when presented with the bill at the end of our stay!! The hotels response was that "all our wines are imported from France". Unnecessarily arrogant I would suggest, given we have sampled and enjoyed far nicer sparkling wines from neighbouring countries during our trip to South America.
We finished our Rio trip at the 5* Miramar hotel on Copacabana - where we were greeted with a (free) glass of champagne on arrival, complimentary water in our room (and on the beach) and M&M's were less than £2 a bag!! All in a place that's safe to walk to the shop at the end of the road and purchase your own goods if needed!
Regarding the isolated location - yes taxis are cheap, but you do quickly tire of having to travel a min 15-30 mins in a taxi everywhere - and it may start to outweigh the benefit of that stunning view...
In summary, I would describe this hotel as per my headline 'style over substance' - a beautiful hotel, lacking in personality or service. There are plenty of great views to be had in Santa Teresa and indeed Rio overall, in my opinion I would opt for an alternative next time.
Casa Marqués is delightful. It’s an ever in the midst of noisy Rio. Every detail has been carefully thought through. It feels like staying at a friend’s country house. Really gorgeous and service is friendly and welcoming.
We had a wonderfull stay. It was perfect, the rooms, the view, the swimmingpool. A little bit hard to reach. The only thing i could suggest is more variety in the breakfast. That is all. We enjoyed every minute.
The road to the hotel was scary, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, and the last bit the taxi almost couldn’t make! (Its super steep) but my god it is worth it! The view is amazing! Lovely staf.
As one can very easily tell from other reviews, the views from this hotel are great. With that being said, while it is quite a unique view of Rio, I strongly believe that these views do not make staying at this hotel worthwhile. First and foremost, the location is terrible. It is inconvenient for tourists with a painstakingly long and stressful taxi journey to/from everything (and I stress EVERYTHING - there is nothing within walking distance, nor is the area safe for travel on foot). The roads are steep, most drivers struggle to navigate to the hotel and the proximity to the nearby favelas made us uncomfortable (even if irrationally). Compounding this inconvenience, the hotel does not have dinner options which makes it even more difficult to relax during your stay. Beyond this, the staff was rude, the owner was both arrogant and unconcerned with the requests of guests, the views were polluted by the other surrounding scenery, and the condition of the room was lacking relative to other equally priced hotels. We were sold by the many pictures of the view posted here, but feel that the negatives were not adequately highlighted, thereby hindering our ability to make an informed decision. When we visit Rio again, we will stick to a hotel in one of the more typical regions of the city.