This Rio landmark overlooks its namesake beach and is the most traditional and elegant hotel in the city.
Built in 1871, and exquisitely renovated by Frenchman Jean Michel Ruis, Mama Ruisa was once the home of the mayor of Rio, and is among the most historic mansions in the district of Santa Teresa. Despite its small stature, space is not an issue here. High ceilings, amply sized rooms, and a cloistered pool area make for a comfortable stay. Service-wise, there's real flexibility and attention to detail.
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There are seven rooms divided between two categories, each of which is stylish and spacious, some of them with balconies offering views across the city and Guanabara Bay. Each room is decorated with objects curated by the owner from around Rio, while orchids and oil fragrances make for congenial touches. Garden-level rooms feel very private and offer easy pool access while those on the first floor are bathed in light and offer the best views. Several have private verandas.
Though scarcely 20 minutes from the beach, and closer still to metropolitan shopping streets and boutique art galleries, Mama Ruisa is an elegant and serene retreat, and an excellent alternative to Rio's more crowded beachfront hotels. Leisurely afternoons can be spent lounging by the tree-lined pool while evenings out can be spent enjoying the sounds of samba or dining at the nearby bars and restaurants.
Food and drink
Tropical breakfasts of delicious coffee, fresh fruit, and light fare are served in your room, in the common space, or by the pool. There's no restaurant at the hotel so lunch and dinner must be taken at one of the nearby restaurants. The hotel can arrange taxis for meals out: just ask at reception.
Facilities and activities
The tranquil and tropical pool and outdoor patio area are one of the highlights of the property. The hotel can also arrange spa services such as massages, pedicures, and manicures.
Mama Ruisa is a very tranquil place to stay. Its location in Santa Teresa, a part of the city noted for its colonial architecture and thriving art scene, offers a very different experience compared to the bustling beachfront districts of Copacabana and Ipanema.
Rio de Janeiro tour ideas
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Looking out over arguably the most photogenic stretch of beach in Rio sits the Fasano. The hotel’s sleek outward character and understated interior design combine to make this Rio’s best choice for top-end sophistication.
More than just a hotel, the Emiliano has an identity synonymous with being fresh and elegant.
The Miramar Hotel by Windsor is an Audley favorite in the Copacabana area of Rio, home to iconic views, beautiful beaches and numerous cafes and restaurants.
This modern and comfortable hotel is a great base from which to explore the vibrant streets of Rio.
The Windsor Palace Hotel is located one block from Copacabana Beach and is one of our preferred value options for couples or families.
Just a short walk from the renowned Copacabana Beach, the Windsor Martinique offers guests an exceptionally warm welcome.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
The beaches are an excellent place to watch cariocas jogging, strutting and walking their poodles in the sunshine. You set the pace and if there is time you will also be able to circle the Lagoa before returning to your hotel.
The Maracanã football stadium was built in 1950 for the World Cup and is the biggest stadium of its kind, holding at one point, before terraces were converted to seating, more than 200,000 fans.
There is no other place in Rio that embodies the 'alegria' or happiness of the Brazilian people more than the nightlife scene in the neighborhood of Lapa.
Stroll along a beautiful shoreline pedestrian path, popular with walkers and joggers. This is followed by a weaving hike up a trail with wonderful views of Rio's bay followed by a short (approximately 25m) but challenging section of rock climbing.