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Vila d'este 3.5

Armacao dos Buzios, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Review Summary

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  • Beautiful hilltop location with stunning views
  • Small pool and whirlpool overlooking the waterfront
  • Spacious rooms, some with balconies or ocean views
  • On-site restaurant and bar with local drinks
  • Steam room and treatment room with massages available
  • Beautiful courtyard garden
  • Free hot breakfast buffet
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • Not a beachfront location
  • Most rooms lack ocean views
  • Not all rooms have outdoor spaces
  • No parking
  • No fitness center
  • No full spa

Bottom Line

On a hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Vila d'este has stunning waterfront views from its pool, whirlpool, on-site restaurant, and some rooms. With its lush grounds, this stylish upper-middle-range hotel feels like a romantic hideaway. The 19 rooms have airy, light decor, and a handful have ocean views. The on-site restaurant offers a free breakfast buffet and other a la carte meals. Despite the views, this property is not on a beach, and guests must travel to other beaches in the Búzios area in order to lay out on the sand. Travelers looking for an elegant beachside location in this neighborhood could try the Hotel Le Relais La Borie.

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A romantic hideaway with global decor and lush grounds

Off a cobblestone street, the Vila d' este is a set inside a cluster of buildings the color of French mustard capped with terra-cotta tiles and bordered in white trim. The grounds are full of winding walking paths landscaped with leafy plants, small lanterns, and blooming flowers, like bougainvilleas and bromeliads, giving it the look of a romantic, tropical hideaway. The chic lobby has a global aesthetic: local, rustic wood furniture; Chinese cabinets; rattan chairs; Indonesian masks; and a zebra-skin rug. The pitched wood ceiling and walls are painted white giving an airy feeling that's reinforced by a central palm-leaf ceiling fan. Despite the elegant decor and the high ceilings, the space manages to feel cozy with deep white sofas and a fireplace. The restaurant is even more light and breezy, with white floors, bleached-wood pedestal tables, wrought-iron cafe chairs, and a terrace that has sweeping views of the ocean. 


A scenic location overlooking the waterfront in idyllic Búzios

The Vila d' este hotel offers an incredibly photogenic location in a hillside above the waterfront. Steep, white-washed stairs will take guests straight to the Orla Bardot, the beach promenade, which offers restaurants, sunset bars, shops, and a few nightclubs. There's no sandy beach on-site, but the popular João Fernandes beach can be reached in five to 10 minutes by car, and Geribá beach -- well known for good surf -- is a 15-minute drive away.

The hotel is located in the Búzios area. Once a sleepy fishing village, Búzios blew up after a visit by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s. Today it's become one of the top beach resorts in South America, but it still retains some of its charming, little-village vibe. The cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. The seafood from this region is especially excellent. The Rua das Pedras street, in the heart of town about a 12-minute walk away, gets mobbed with tourists on summer weekend nights. More than 20 beautiful beaches of all different sizes and shapes are scattered around the peninsula. 

Galeão International Airport is about a three-hour drive away. The city of Cabo Frio also has a domestic airport, with limited service and occasional international charter flights from Argentina and Chile, about an hour away. Hotel staff can assist with transportation to and from the airport.


Spacious and airy rooms with upscale toiletries; some with ocean views

The Vila d' este's spacious guest rooms continue the lobby's airy look. White walls, beige-tile floors, crisp white bedding, and pitched white ceilings keep things light. Rooms are furnished with rustic wood furniture, platform beds, woven area rugs, and geometric prints in bold colors. Bright throw pillows also color the room. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, minibars, safes, and bathrobes. Small, white-tiled bathrooms have attractive black vanity sinks, hairdryers, walk-in showers, and upscale L' Occitane toiletries. Rooms come in four categories: Standard, Superior Garden, Superior Oceanfront, and Master Suite. Most rooms have garden views, but rooms located above the pool offer stunning ocean views. The Superior Garden View Rooms have a suite-like layout with a sizable private patio furnished with a wooden bench. Master Oceanfront Suites have balconies furnished with loungers and a jetted soaking tub overlooking the waterfront.


A restaurant, pool, and whirlpool -- all with stunning waterfront views

The attractive on-site restaurant and bar serves up a great panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean along with its meals. A buffet breakfast is included in the room rate with fresh juices, baked goods, fruit, and hot dishes. The restaurant also serves an a la carte lunch and dinner with Brazilian and international dishes. Local drinks, like caipirinhas or tropical cocktails, are available at the bar.

The hotel's small rectangular pool surrounded by leafy palms and padded loungers is perfectly positioned to take in ocean views. And the comma-shaped whirlpool comes right to the edge of the property, overlooking the Atlantic below. Its heated water and jetted bench make an ideal spot for lounging. Next to this pool is a shady spot with few more lounges. Adjacent is a pair of outdoor showers and a treatment room with massages available.

Despite the oceanfront location, there's no sandy beach here, but guests can travel to a variety of other beaches in the Búzios area.

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