Cama e Café, Rio de Janeiro $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Literally "bed and breakfast," this is a listing service for dozens of homes that rent out rooms in Santa Teresa, an up-and-coming artists' quarter well away from the Southern Zone's beaches. The area was once very upscale, fell into a rather handsome state of disrepair, and is now gaining a reputation as a bohemian-chic retreat, with quaint, serpentine streets, a rash of artists' ateliers, and imposing—if slightly shabby—architecture. Visitors seeking a full-immersion Rio experience can fill out a questionnaire with Cama e Café beforehand and are then e-mailed a list of properties to choose from; you can also just select from the Web site. Hospitality is very much part of the culture, so don't be surprised if you're invited out for drinks or dancing. Most hosts are artists, musicians, and writers—though if you're good, you can stay with the sisters at the Religiosas da Assunção convent.
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I stayed in a wonderful farmhouse on an old coffee plantation that is part of the 'cama e cafe' organization. It is like our own 'bed and... more