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Hotel Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 

661 Rua Almirante Alexandrino
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil 20241 260
Tel: 55 21 3380 0200
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This formerly derelict colonial mansion on a hilltop in Santa Teresa, a quaint district of imposing architecture and artists' ateliers, has been transformed into one of Rio's most elegant hotels. A magisterial lobby of pink-washed stone with indigenous Brazilian art leads to 44 ample rooms, each sparsely yet artfully decorated with lustrous tropical woods, silk drapes, and sunlight-filtering shutters. Service can veer between overattentive and indifferent, but in the rustic, candlelit restaurant, chef Damien Montecer brings a Gallic touch to African, Asian, and Mediterranean recipes. Guests can observe Santa Teresa's colorful street life through the Mogul-style blinds that shade the spa, or cool off in the 80-foot pool, with its view over Santa Teresa's stately villas to the glittering waters of Guanabara Bay beyond. —2009 Hot List

When to go: Rio's muggy climate abates in spring (Oct.-Nov.) and fall (Mar.-Apr.).

Which room to book: A ground-floor room for the garden-view balcony.

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