In the heart of Santa Teresa , the old colonial part of Rio which is unknown to most tourists, lies, high on a hill, the magnificent, eclectic, artistic, romantic mansion that is Relais Solar . This boutique design hotel magnificently achieves what it sets out to be - a home away from home . It is totally different to anything else Rio has to offer. . A colonial villa on the outside, and a showcase of contemporary Brazilian design on the inside, this boutique hotel is the ideal choice for those who wish to experience authentic Brazil.
There are just five rooms, all individually and stylishly decorated , themed around the birds that nest in the trees adorning the large, jungle-esque garden. And what trees; some must be hundreds of years old.
Four of the five rooms are in the main house, while a gorgeous loft style bungalow with double height ceilings and a bath the size of a small swimming pool is perched above the mansion.
All are comfortable with air conditioning, ceiling fans and wifi access, but not all have private bathrooms.
All the furniture, lights and shades, pictures and fabrics used in this design hotel are made by local craftsmen , many from the neighbouring favelas and artisan ateliers from all around Brazil, and can be purchased. Indeed, the owners of this luxury hotel have developed strong ties with the local favela community.
This boutique hotel serves great breakfasts with wonderful fruits, breads and pastries. During the day, you can get pastas, local dishes, club sandwiches and similar fare from a bar menu or participate in one of the regular tastings (wine, coffees, regional delicacies).
The luxury facilities include a 24 hour tv/dvd room and fully stocked "honesty" bar with instructions on how to make your own caipirinha . For the business-minded, thereâ€™s also an internet room, a Mac G5 editing suite (yes, really!), and a dining room that converts into a fully functional multi-media conference room , which will sit 12 comfortably and 20 at a squeeze.
The staff â€“ I counted nine for five rooms â€“ add to the luxury and go out of their way to make your stay more enjoyable with helpful recommendations, making reservations, organizing tours and airport transfers. They will also organize to have your goods shipped back to you.
The peaceful quiet of the location means kids under 5 are not encouraged , and the steep mountainside location means not practical for the elderly or infirm. However, for all others, I highly recommend this boutique hotel, home away from home. Rent a room or the whole mansion. Both are possible. You wonâ€™t regret it .
Setting: City,Near the sea.
Business: Business centre,Meeting rooms.