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Altos de Santa Teresa
Ranked #41 of 346 Rio de Janeiro B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 4, 2011

Altos de Santa Teresa is not the place for everybody. If you search for touristic attractions close to Copacabana you may delete this name from you list.

It is for those who try to escape from ordinary routes and explore more. Ex-mansion converted into a cosy hotel with very home atmosphere where you feel as if you are staying at your friends' place full of books, advice and great views.

It is not very comfortable in terms of logistics or 5-star hotel service. We have also met two taxists who just didn't know how to arrive in spite of a great detailed map Danielle equips you on the date of your arrival. You pass through some favelas on your way up to Altos. We have problems with hot water a number of times. Breakfast is unpretentious but prepared with much attention. But all these drawbacks are nothing compared to what you get. You get stunning view that will make you wake up in the morning to trace down every second of sunrise on a fantastic terrace with one of the best views ever. You get spacious modern rooms and good company. If you don't like to rush, you may spend a Sunday morning in Santa Teresa district with its normal weekend rhythm, take a coffee in one of its nice bars, stroll down narrow streets with nice mansions and observe local people. You can just feel yourself part of Rio life and understand something more about it than just a number of cliche.

NB: During our stay the hotel didn't accept credit cards.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Olga V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 6, 2011

If luxury, superb service and superlative cuisine are what you are looking for, then look somewhere else. The Santa Teresa is a charming small hotel in a beautiful location and a very friendly staff. But that[s about it.The food is nothing to write home about but the atmosphere is very bohemian, just like the neighbourhood. On the down side, you will be staying far from all the main attractions of Rio, except the night-life district of Lapa, some 45 minutes walk downhill.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank al29252
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2011

After many years of relying on trip advisor submissions, we have now had an experience that was totally opposite that of other reviewers.

We arrived at Altos de Santa Teresa late in the afternoon on a Friday in September (the first weekend of Rock in Rio). We took a taxi from the bus station and despite having a map, the taxi driver had to ask six people for directions. Finally a girl hopped into the taxi with us and directed him to the hotel – most of the way it seemed that she was trying to placate a most frustrated and irate driver as the hotel is so hard to find. We were very grateful to her – she would not accept a tip or a drink as a thank you.

Daniel met us at the gate and took us to room 4 to drop our bags. We then went upstairs to the common areas – a lovely terrace with a hot tub with outstanding views of Rio; a sizeable room, which had the large communal breakfast table, a sitting area with couches, large coffee table and TV, plus sitting areas along the side of the room; and a separate study plus additional sitting area. These areas are all very nice. Daniel gave us a detailed orientation and arranged taxis for us for the next morning (we were heading to the beaches) and also for our final morning as we had an early international flight. He also gave an excellent suggestion to visit Petropolis, which we really enjoyed. We were also given delicious, complimentary caipirinhas.

Daniel mentioned that the hotel was fully booked and also that he was off for the weekend shortly after our orientation. What he did not mention was that basically there was no one else in charge for the rest of our stay, and that the staff spoke only Portuguese. There seemed to be one person working at all times, but they were skilled in making themselves scarce.

We went to our suite (room 4 is designated as a suite) to settle in. The room has a glass sliding door as an entry. The main room seemed to be a standard room size, with bed, two nigh tables, a small semicircular table, small TV, and minibar. There was a large dressing and cupboard area (including a safe) behind a wall and past that was a large, very spartan and not very clean bathroom.

By the time we returned upstairs, Daniel had left and there were no English speaking staff around so we could not have our room configured to our booking. We decided to skip dinner as we did not want to try to order pizza that can be delivered to the hotel. After we returned to the room, the curtain and curtain rod came down, but we were able to put it up again.

The next morning I went to request a hair dryer, but was ‘told’ by the girl serving breakfast that it could not be found. Soon this was not an issue as our room did not have any hot water! As we only saw the girl serving breakfast, we though we would talk to someone at the hotel later about this. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, cold cuts, little bread rolls, toast, cereal, yoghurt, juice and coffee of average quality.

We took off for the day in our pre-arranged taxi. By now we had Daniel’s detailed map of how to get to the hotel, which we handed to the taxi driver in Copacabana. Despite having the detailed map, he still had to ask four people for assistance (saying that it was near the fire station seemed to be helpful to locals in providing guidance). Upstairs in the lounge we met two English women who had arrived to find no one speaking English – we and the other guests assisted them to the best of our ability. They tried the takeaway pizza and did not recommend it as it was cold and not high quality.

For the rest of our stay it was like that – guests helping each other. It was difficult for the staff to arrange taxis (Daniel had to be called so that we could tell him we wanted to go to the bus station and for him to tell the staff member that) and we felt abandoned, isolated and not very safe.

We did not have hot water in our room for the whole time (it did not matter how long the tap was on or how early in the morning it was) and gave up trying to get something done about it as the staff were so inaccessible and could not understand much more basic things than that.

The taxis we took back to the hotel from outside the area all had great difficulty finding the hotel. On Sunday evening, after dinner in Santa Teresa six taxis refused to take us to the hotel and we had to return to our restaurant (Espiritu Santa) and have them call a taxi.

On Saturday evening there were two weddings at the hotel and the large room was occupied by a bride, groom and photographer. There did not seem to be any staff around at the time and we did not feel welcome in this area at all.

On Sunday morning it took over an hour into the breakfast time for most of the items to be put onto the buffet – eggs never made it. It was only that the guests were all helping each other out with plans for the day that we were still there.

We were able to have some laundry done, but on Sunday evening in took nearly a half hour to find a staff member to locate the laundry.

When settling our account Sunday evening, the staff member calculated the total on the back of a scrap of paper and I paid him in cash (as is required). No receipt was offered, nor could it be understood that I would like one.

We could not arrange a morning wake up – no telephone and we had no Portugese language skills for that. We were very glad that our taxi had been arranged on arrival!

We found out from another guest after settling our account, that a man who I had presumed was a reclusive guest was actually one of the co-owners of the hotel. He did not communicate with any of the guests while we were around.

It has been stated frequently that the hotel is relatively isolated - it is and it is also next to the favela (rock and some trees for about 100 meters and then the favela). During our stay the weather was not great, cloudy on our first day, heavily overcast the next, then rainy and on the final morning, a magical sunrise and sunshine – so we were not able to just relax in the evenings and enjoy the views, which in our opinion would be the only reason to stay at the hotel.

Our experience was Faulty Towers-like, but without the management! We understand that everyone is entitled to days off, but when a hotel is fully booked, there should be a competent manager on the premises. We thank the other guests for ensuring that we still enjoyed this stay in Rio.

Based on our experience, we would not recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank yns_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2011

A big part of visiting Rio is the amazing views. You could visit this pousada (bed and breakfast) and never leave because the views are that good. The assistance we received from Daniel in arranging our trip and the advice and attention given to us by Mariana while we were there were above expectations. They arranged our pick up and return to the airport which were flawless. They had taxis available on time and on request. Mariana ordered out for delivery at nearby restaurants and helped us plan our days in great detail, so that we optimized our time. Unless you feel like you have to stay near the beach, if you are going to Rio stay here.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank neu6pai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2011

I feel sorry for those who visit Rio and do not discover this hidden gem of an inn. It is away from the hectic hustle and bustle of most of Rio and its location provides the most stunning view of Rio imaginable. It is every bit as glorious as the view you get the top of Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer and you can enjoy it every minute you are staying here. The staff, especially Daniel and Marianna (I hope I got her name right!), were two of the most enjoyable and helpful and friendly people we have ever encountered in our stays in hotels and inns around the world. And we were even lucky enough to be joined on the terrace by some absolutely adorable capuchin monkeys whose antics provided one of the highlights of our entire trip. Extraordinary experience all around. Wish I were back there right now. Recommend it to the fullest degree!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank jmgMatthewsNc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights in November. Admittedly it is a bit out of the way (25 mins cab ride to copa / ipanema beaches) but the views of sugar loaf and statue of christ are totally worth it. Having said that we found it pretty easy to get around on the buses and you can get a tram from Santa Teresa into Centro and cab it from there into Copabana. Expect to fork out a bit for cabs in the evenings though.

All in all we loved it here. Daniel at the hotel is so helpful & really friendly. He's full of handy tips from where Togo to get the best feijoda (defo Bar do mineiro in Santa Teresa) to where to go to get the best exchange rate. Breakfast is also really good here - expect all the usual brekkie bits (fruit, cereals, yoghurts, cold meats, toast, jams etc) and the cheese balls in particular were super yummy. 

One of the best things about Altos de Santa Teresa (aside from the amazing views) was feeding the marmosets at breakfast. So, so cute!

Would highly recommend it and is perfect for a 3-4 night stay.

  • Stayed: November 2010
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1  Thank Holiday_hobos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2011

Altos de Santa Teresa is a comfortable place to stay, with an accidental 'shabby chic' style and a tremendous view. The location is okay if you're happy to depend on taxis. It's not walkable to Santa Teresa and we had difficulty getting a taxi back after an evening meal. The view is unbeatable and the reason we chose to stay there but if I return to Rio I will opt for somewhere with amenities within walking distance.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank PieMidlands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Altos de Santa Teresa

Address: Rua Almirante Alexandrino 3476, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20241-266, Brazil
Location: Brazil > State of Rio de Janeiro > Rio de Janeiro > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #41 of 346 B&Bs / Inns in Rio de Janeiro
Price Range: $90 - $110 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Altos de Santa Teresa 2.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Altos de Santa Teresa Guest House is located 4 km from Arcos da Lapa and 6 km from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Santos Dumont Airport is 20min and Galeao 40min. The hotel offers Wi-Fi internet at no additional cost. The suites are equipped with air conditioning, LCD cable TV, minibar, digital safe, hair dryer, closet and large bathroom. Facilities include free private parking, maid service, heated pool and whirlpool. The breakfast can be enjoyed in the main lounge or on the deck overlooking the Sugar Loaf, Christ Redeemer and Guanabara Bay. Serves a Brazilian buffet with different varieties. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Altos De Santa Teresa Hotel Rio De Janeiro
Altos De Santa Teresa Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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