By Bruno De Nicola, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Developed by four private investors from a project of the French group “Exclusive Hotels”, the Hotel Santa Teresa opened in October 2008 deep in the heart of the historical Rio de Janeiro neighborhood, bringing a new group of consumers to the area.
The colonial style building, some parts of it date back to 1850 coffee farm, is divided into three independent units, The Hotel, the Amazonian Spa and a Cuisine du Monde restaurant, reaching out to a branch of the market that has been ignored by the main hotel groups already present in Rio.
“Our competitors would be the Fasano and The Copacabana Palace, but our target is different” says Nelly Pager, Head of Marketing and Sales, as she points out that the Hotel’s guests do not care too much about going to the beach, they have historical and cultural interests and they want to get to know the inner Brazil. She believes that the hotel guests must feel the country even through their accommodation: “we want people to meet Brazil even if they are locked up in their rooms”.
The concept of showing the roots of the country appears strongly in every detail of the Hotel Santa Teresa. All of the rooms and halls are finely decorated by Brazilian designers who carefully picked native materials and objects for their creation.
The Amazonian Spa relies on a partnership with Natura, one of largest socially responsible cosmetic makers of the country. The Restaurant Térèze, lead by French Chef Damien Montecer, uses almost exclusively Brazilian ingredients for its astonishing dishes. But most of all, the resort’s location sets the tone for a relaxed encounter with history and nature in Rio de Janeiro.
“We chose Santa Teresa because it’s the historical heart of this city”, says François Delort, Project Manager, as he underlines his firm believes in a great touristic and gastronomic future development for the unique neighborhood. “Soon more of the Carioca upper classes will be moving back to Santa Teresa” he also adds.
As a matter of fact many changes have already occurred in Santa Teresa since the construction of the high class hotel. Several new luxury businesses have opened, others improved their products and services, the real estate market has grown enormously and the State and City governments increased security in the area.
Flávio Minervino, President of the Union of the Favelas of Santa Teresa states that the positive effects of the new luxury business are reaching the lower classes in the neighborhood: “The hotel is hiring people from our communities and will soon be helping us directly by funding social projects”.