My girlfriend found this hotel's website and given that we wanted to visit Ilha Grande, and the beautiful photos on the website, we booked the hotel for three nights in January 2008 following a visit to Rio and Buzios. Despite the fact that we stayed at the nicest hotel in Buzios (Casas Brancas), the experience at Estrela was the best of our trip.
As reviews of other hotels on the island have mentioned, don't go to Ilha if you expect luxury. There are no roads on the island, and it tends to attract people who enjoy outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, etc). The same is true for the accommodations- Estrela is located on the edge of a bay on the island, and only accessible by trail or by boat from the mainland. The hotel will arrange transfers (included in the price) on on of the wooden skiffs that frequent Ilha Grande, and it takes about an hour to get there from the bay on the mainland (which is 2 hours south of Rio). Once you get to the dock, hotel consists of one main building with a very charming and well appointed common lounge, as well as an eating area (both indoors and out) with private tables. Rooms are housed in two buildings and are fairly simple - a bed (or a double), a bathroom with shower, and a deck overlooking the sparkling waters with a hammock on it (Hammocks are abundant on the property). All rooms have ceiling fans and air conditioning as well as mosquito nets (although there were no mosquitoes when we were there), and the only complaint I really had is that the walls are thin (and the porches connected) so you do get to know your neighbors fairly well! Overall, while rustic, the property is beautifully and thoughtfully appointed.
The staff was also incredibly helpful and nice, suggesting activities to us during the day, and given that there are no cash machines on the island, even helped us with a dinner at a nicer restaurant on the island. Breakfast (basic) and dinner (soup, salad, entree and desert, all very well cooked) are included in the price of the room, and they have lunch available with wonderfully fresh seafood. Also, yoga seems to be a common activity at the hotel, and they have a Yogi in residence who leads yoga on both the dock in front of the hotel, as well as the beach which is a 3 minute walk from the rooms.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend this hotel to families or couples looking for a wonderfully secluded place to spend a few restful days.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.