By Mary Bolling Blackiston and Jay Forte, Contributing Reporters
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tucked high in Santa Teresa is a colonial estate renovated and under continued metamorphosis into the modern and chic Rio180º Boutique Hotel. French owner Jean-Christophe Marois explains that the architecture is “not the typical colonial type that you have in Santa Teresa” and anyone familiar with Rio’s famously bohemian neighborhood would be quick to agree.
The space of the hotel is decidedly open, complimenting Rio’s year-round tropical temperatures. Marois describes how the hotel was formerly an old house; and, “I kept the structure and then we developed rooms inside this structure in 2008 to 2009.”
“[even though] there are some parts of the hotel that remind you that we are in Santa Teresa, like the iron stairs, the entrance door … the arches,” In most other respects, it is very modern and, as Marois describes it, “Californian” style.
With twelve unique suites for guests to choose from, each with a distinct style and named after different neighborhoods or events of Rio (such as Carnival, Arpoador and Leblon), the Rio 180 hotel has rooms to meet different tastes. The suites are also classified into three different categories: “Oh la la,” “Cosy” and “Very Chic.”
The hotel has recently undergone a few new renovations; three more suites have been added, along with a restaurant and lounge. As Mirais says, one primary goal was “improving the current room and collocating the terrace.” In doing so, Marois explains that he wanted to “give a lot of comfort to the guests with a lot of space. I’m trying to give space and comfort.”
The hotel is perhaps best known for its incredible 180 degree views (hence the name of the hotel) seen from all of the rooms, which showcase Corcovado, Pao de Acucar, Guanabara Bay and surrounding jungle. Another part of the renovations was trying to “maximize [these] views [for everyone] so that every room has a very nice view.”
Marois describes the architecture and design of Rio180º Boutique Hotel as “transparent”; in order to increase this transparency, in addition to the three new rooms, three more suites now have a terrace, as well. According to Marois, all of the renovations are now finished; “the structure is already done. Now I am doing the [internal design] – finalization of the floor, walls, decorations [and furniture.]”
Santa Teresa perches in the hills above the energetic Lapa, with winding cobblestone roads and some of the best conserved colonial architecture in Rio, makes for a great destination for those looking to spend time away from Rio’s beaches. Its collection of cafes, art shops and eclectic restaurants mean that it’s oft touted bohemian reputation is well earned.
Unfortunately Santa Teresa is not currently accessible by what was the jewel in its crown, the picturesque ‘bonde’ or tramline, after an accident in 2011 that took the life of five people, and left 57 passengers injured. The bonde is due to come back online in 2014 according to authorities.