Feb 1, 2011

Le Relais de Marambaia : a room with a view – the best in Rio – far from the madding crowd!

by Antonella Kann

Few places in Rio reveal such a magnificent view as the one from Le Relais de Marambaia´s five exclusive suites. The caveat is its location, tucked-away in Pedra de Guaratiba, a neighborhood which is only 20-some kilometers away from Leblon, but quite a burden to reach if you are caught in heavy traffic jam. The area nearby is also home to the famous gardens of Roberto Burle Marx. So get ready to enjoy more than an overnight stay.

But, if you are smart, schedule your departure (from any place in town) before three o´clock in the afternoon, so you´ll get there earlier than I did and nothing can prepare you for the stunning sunset which can be admired from the swimming pool as well as from the terrace of your comfortable suite.
I was itching to get there and planned an escape in the middle of the week, in order to enjoy this sun + relaxation program with my husband. Although we missed the best part, we could still relax with a couple of caipirinhas in our hand. The nice kiwi and passion fruit drinks were delicious and therefore we could recover our energy and consider tasting a menu featuring seasonal produce – shrimp, fish, crab…

An ideal year-round destination, the Relais de Marambaia is one of the many guesthouses which opened in Rio lately. It belongs to a French citizen and is run by his charming niece, Alexandra, who cares for every detail in the house, which is as stylish as a boutique hotel can be – king sized beds with white linen and fluffy robes, Occitane ammenities, wide TV screens, DVD´s, Perrier bottles in the mini bar and walk in showers for two. Some even have a jacuzzi. She also looks after her guests as if they were old-time friends.

A recent makeover turned le Relais into a refuge for couples in search of a romantic overnight stay, as well as foreign tourists who want to run away from Rio´s madding crowd. You do, indeed, have the best view from every angle of the guesthouse, as there is a 60 kilometers´stretch of sand splashed right in front, known as the Restinga de Marambaia. Unfortunately, it´s inaccessible to anyone except the military, reason for this area to remain immaculate and untouched. You may swim right there and nearby, but you can´t set foot on the beach.

But ( and a big BUT) Alexandra invites her guests to explore similar (and hidden) gems like this one, deserted beaches which are nestled around the area. Simply board one of the fishermen´s boats, which can be hired right in loco, and go for a little ride. These beaches are only reached by sea or hiking. So, for sure, you´ll feel like Robinson Crusoe…

Le Relais de Marambaia
Estrada Roberto Burle Marx 9346
tel. 5521 23942544

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