There is quite a unique atmosphere at work in Carmen and Fernando's beautiful house up the hill in Santa Teresa, where longer-term guests make newcomers feel comfortable to do as much or as little as they see fit. Small but comfortable bedrooms fill the spaces off the corridor by the front door, but it is the reception area that immediately gives away the overriding flavour inside, strewn with old samba records and rustic-looking furniture.
Which is not say the house is anything other than clean and orderly, the large terrace complete with pool, shower and bar is an afternoon sun trap looking over the buzzing city to Guanabara Bay, and the sizeable living room (off which the owner's live) is homely. The kitchen and dining area are also a good size, from where a tiny, winding staircase leads up to the loft room, a low-ceiling'd little hot-box (complete with air-conditioner, mercifully) which has the daintiest little balcony offering the best view in the house. Up here may not be the place for the beach lovers, but a 15-minute walk to Glória Metro means you can still be in Ipanema in under an hour door-to-door.