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Região Serrana floods

Our hearts, thoughts & prayers are with the thousands of people who have been injured, killed or touched by the recent flooding and mudslides in the beautiful hillside neighborhoods in Região Serrana, the scenic, mountainous region of the Rio state that includes the major cities of Petrópolis, Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo.  While we have been spared such devastation here in the city of Rio de Janeiro, we hope to offer support & hope.

For those wishing to help the flood victims there are many locations where one can donate.  This may include donations of non-perishable food, clothing, mattresses, blankets, hygiene products and monetary donations.  We appreciate the Rio Times for providing the list.

In Zona Sul (South zone), as of Monday, January 17th, donations can be given at the offices of either Christ Church or the British and Commonwealth Society (BCS), both located at Rua Real Grandeza, 99 in Botafogo. Hours are from 9AM to 5PM. Please contact the Church’s secretary, Karen, at +55 (21) 2226-7332, or the BCS’ Gaynor or Monica at +55 (21) 2537-6695.

In Barra da Tijuca, as of Sunday, January 16th, donations can be given at the Union Church, Av. Pref. Dulcidio Cardoso, 4351. Weekday office hours are from 8AM to 4PM. Please contact the Church’s secretary, Carol, at +55 (21) 3325-8601.

In the Metrô Rio, eleven stations have established collection centers: Carioca, Central, Largo do Machado, Catete, Glória, Ipanema/General Osório, Pavuna, Saens Peña, Botafogo, Nova América/Del Castilho e Siqueira Campos.

Monetary donations can be made directly to the municipalities in the region, to Rio State’s Civil Defense department, or to other funds set up to provide social assistance to the victims.

Prefeitura de Nova Friburgo
(Municipality of Nova Friburgo) Bank: Banco do Brasil
Agency: 0335-2
Account No: 120.000-3

Prefeitura de Teresópolis
(Municipality of Teresópolis) Bank: Banco do Brasil
Agency: 0741-2
Account No: 110000-9 (under the name “SOS Teresópolis – Donativos”)

Defesa Civil – RJ Bank: Caixa Econômica Federal
Agency: 0199
Operation: 006
Account No: 2011-0

Fundo Estadual de Assistência Social do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
(State of Rio Social Assistance Fund) CNPJ 02932524/0001-46
Bank: Itaú
Agency: 5673
Account No: 00594-7

Shopping-the best of the best! (Granado Pharmácia)

We decided some time ago to upgrade the soaps here at Casa Cool Beans from the typical store-bought brand to something really nice and special.  Our friend Katia, a Carioca who knows the best stores and products here in Rio directed us to Granado Pharmácia and even took us for our first visit to the main store, Pharmácia do Centro at Rua Primeiro de Março, 16.  The building which houses this branch has been stunningly restored, thus worth a visit just to see the space, but oh the little treasures to be found!  Soaps, creams, powders, lotions, and more!  This is a great store to get gifts to take home that are uniquely Brazilian.

We selected a 100% vegetable Glycerin soap made of the natural extract of Castanha do Brasil (Cashew nut).   It has a light and refreshing sent and oh so Brazilian!  One of the biggest reasons we choose a Glycerin product is because it is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin.  We want our guests to have smooth, moist skin! 🙂

Check out their website (link below) to view their multiple lines of products, find a store location, or just browse.  They even have a line of soap products for pets!  Founded in 1870 this is no fly-by-night pharmacy.  Reminds us of one of our favorite stores in New York City, Kiehls (soaps and skin products); which interestingly enough was an old-world apothecary founded in 1851!

http://www.granado.com.br

http://www.kiehls.com/

Crazy packed Rio beaches (Jan 9th, 2011)!

Happy hump day (Wednesday)…..if you are experiencing snow and cold like much of Europe, US and Canada…..let us warm you up!

Check out this online gallery of how packed Rio’s beaches were Sunday…CRAZY PACKED!!!!!  Yum!!!!

http://oglobo.globo.com/rio/fotogaleria/2011/13517/

Thanks to Daily Rio Life Blog for bringing this to our attention.  I LOVE “DRL”‘s blog…..she really knows how to reach us expats and break it down for us…..check it out!

http://dailyriolife.typepad.com/my_weblog/

New linens and towels for Casa Cool Beans!

Yey!  Finally we’ve received the new linens, sheets and towels for Casa Cool Beans.  We wanted to add a luxurious line and color and decided upon the espresso color for the sheets and room towels and a fun, bright orange for the pool towels.

Espresso sheets and room towels, orange sunset beach towels and Mousse!

Amy Winehouse staying in Santa Teresa

While we REALLY are not celebrity gawkers (we worked at The Four Seasons Hotel in NYC after all) BUT we must admit that it has been cool to have some (ok, lots of) paparazzi on our street and such a high-level celebrity here in Santa Teresa within a couple blocks of Casa Cool Beans for the past few days.  Amy Winehouse is here in Rio performing two shows and chose to stay at The Hotel Santa Teresa while here.  (We love the Hotel Santa Teresa too!)

http://santa-teresa-hotel.com/en.html

According to information on www.AmyWineshouse.com, the two shows will be at Arena HSBC in Rio de Janeiro.  The first show sold out on January 11th, so a second show on January 10th was added recently.

http://www.amywinehouse.com/

Some sites that have some great shots and information on Amy’s stay here in Santa Teresa:

AMY WINEHOUSE dot ORG http://amy-winehouse.org/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=683

YouTube posts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J97gQ10pceU

Mail Online (UK) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1345445/Ronnie-Wood-drops-Amy-Winehouse-Brazil.html

Estadao dot COM  http://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/arteelazer,amy-winehouse-ja-esta-hospedada-em-santa-teresa,662341,0.htm

Amy, welcome to Santa Teresa!  Have a couple great performances!!!

Two million people joined party in Copacabana

The fireworks with soundtrack thrilled Cariocas and tourists!  New Years Eve 2010/11….

And yes, Casa Cool Beans was there and it was spectacular! We got our guests onto a bus here in Santa Teresa and down to our 8p-9p Metro entrance (pre-paid cards required) with ease and fun!

Ride on bus from Santa Teresa (Casa Cool Beans) down to Carioca Metro

But the real party was of course on the beach. Click on the Rio Official Guide’s article link below for thrilling photos and great reporting (January 5th, 2011)…..

http://www.rioguiaoficial.com.br/en/eventos/two+million+people+joined+party+in+copacabana/05+01+2011/242

THE BEST English websites on Rio

THE BEST English websites to prepare you for your trip

to Rio de Janeiro!

The Official Guide of Rio de Janeiro

http://www.rioguiaoficial.com.br/en/

This online version is super and updated monthly!

***

Rio Gay Guide

http://www.riogayguide.com/index.htm

Absolutely the best guide for the LGBT community in Rio!

***

www.Ipanema.com OR www.RiodeJaneiroGuide.com

(An insiders guide to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

http://www.ipanema.com/ OR http://www.riodejaneiroguide.com/

These guides are SO extensive and we have been using them for years!

***

lonely planet guide

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil/rio-de-janeiro

A staple in travel agencies and backpacker pockets

***

TimeOut

http://www.timeout.com/

Your guide to what’s happening in the most exciting cities on the planet.

***SIKE!!!  While TimeOut Guides are our favorite, they have yet to publish one for Rio de Janeiro!

***

Tripadvisor

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g303506-Rio_de_Janeiro_State_of_Rio_de_Janeiro-Vacations.html

Has taken over the Internet!  Great source for reviews on hotels, restaurants & just about anything “Rio”.

***

Travel Channel

http://www.travelchannel.com/Places_Trips/Destinations/South_America/Brazil/Rio_De_Janeiro?f=1

More insight into the Cidade Maravilosa!

***

Travel+Leisure Magazine

http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/rio-de-janeiro

Short but sweet guide……

***

SambaCity.Info

http://www.sambacity.info/cidade-do-samba.htm

Lots of helpful information for the samba lover!

***

Rio Carnival Services

http://www.rio-carnival.net/

Hands down the best website with up to date and correct information on Carnival venues, times, traditions, etc.

***

The Rio Times

http://riotimesonline.com/

Great English online newspaper; weekly edition

***

Trendy Rio

http://trendyrio.com/

Fun, fresh commentary on Rio happenings.

***

Daily Rio Life

http://dailyriolife.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Another GREAT blog on life in Rio.

***

Fodor’s

http://www.fodors.com/world/south-america/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/feature_30001.html

No we didn’t forget Fodor’s!

***

YAHOO! Travel

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-191502065-rio_de_janeiro_vacations-i

Pretty good guide…..

***

Happy New Year!

Wishing all a very Happy New Year!

Below is a photo of our wonderful guests on New Years Eve prior to heading to Reveillon celebration on Copacabana beach…it was a blast!  We hope you can join us next year!!!

Here was the official website for the celebration:

http://copacabanareveillon.com/

Santa Teresa, WHAT?

Santa Teresa, WHAT?

Let’s take a look!

Of course we LOVE the New York Magazine…who could argue with anything THEY SAY?  In November 2010 the New York Magazine refers to Santa Teresa as “the drop-dead-sexiest neighborhood in Rio”.   We agree…read on:  Taking a Trolley to the Action in Rio

Winner:  Travelers’ Choice® Destinations 2010

RIO DE JANEIRO – Very sexy indeed! This coastal beauty has won the title Sexiest Place on Earth from the Tripout Gay Travel Awards two years running, 2009’s “Best Global Destination” and its throbbing gay club The Week was nominated for Best Gay Bar in the World in 2010. http://www.tripoutgaytravel.com/rio-de-janeiro-brazil/

Was that enough enticement to pack your bags and book a hotel and flight?
Lance, David & Mousse!

World debut of CASA COOL BEANS!

HELLO EVERYONE!  This is the world debut of CASA COOL BEANS in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Your hosts, Lance, David and Mousse (our dog!)

Casa Cool Beans is a small, luxurious, relaxed guesthouse/Bed & Breakfast Inn located in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Teresa artist district-recently referred to in November 2010 by New York Magazine as “the drop-dead-sexiest neighborhood in Rio”.

Spread out on three levels, the buildings that make up Casa Cool Beans offer a serene setting with just 5 suites, all with private baths.  The multiple gardens, open-air areas, the pool and sun deck all offer exposure to the wonderful breezes, which drew the original settlers to Santa Teresa.  Coffee is the inspiration for Casa Cool Beans, as Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world.   The bright reds and purples of the coffee cherry and the lavish greens from the coffee plant offer colors to draw from for accent walls in our suites and fabrics throughout.  The many rich shades of the roasted bean and coffee beverage will inspire other paint colors and wood accents added as we renovate and upgrade the facilities. Casa Cool Beans is all about a collection of experiences brought together by delicious food, art, service & personal touches.

The former hosts, Lydie & Claudia, did a wonderful job of the initial renovations and opening this spectacular guesthouse (Brazilians’ refer to them as “Pousadas”).   Originally “Pousada Pitanga” from 2008-2010 and rated #4 B&B in Rio de Janeiro on TripAdvisor; now with new owners, philosophy and name, Casa Cool Beans welcomes you!

Our upgrades and improvements over the coming months will focus on implementing the highest quality products and the addition of more staff to improve service and your overall experience.

Upgrades and improvements to the property will include:

1) Rooms – Adding to our inventory an additional 5 newly renovated rooms all with in-suite baths. (2nd Q 2011)

2) Linens – Upgrading the linens, sheets and towels to a top-of-the-line brand (January 2011)

3) Soaps – Providing a new line of soaps and bathroom amenities.  The likely choice is Granado, a Brazilian favorite! (January 2011)

4) Breakfast – As the inspiration for the Pousada, coffee will not just be a theme, but also an obsession to deliver the very best cup of coffee around.  The Guesthouse ritual of continental breakfast will be taken to a new level.  (Improvements already in progress!)

5) Furniture – Placing new tables, umbrellas and lounge chairs around the pool and sun deck as well as the first floor courtyard terraces. (1st Q 2011)

6) Art – Reaching out to local artists to sponsor their art and their art placed throughout the Guesthouse.  (In progress)

7) Landscaping – Planting an organic garden to include herbs, vegetables, coffee bushes and additional fruit trees for use in our breakfast.  Upscale lighting will be added throughout.  (1st Q 2011)

8) Technology – Adding a Mac computer station in one of the common areas for guest use, adding iPod docking stations in each of the rooms and getting the best WiFi speed available.  (WiFi with Net already added for greater speed; the rest in 1st Q 2011)

Location

Sitting in the “central” part of the charming Santa Teresa neighborhood amongst turn-of-the-century mansions; ½ block to the famous Bonde “tram” line and one of the areas most popular bars, Bar do Gomez.  Access to the wonderful Rio metro is a short 10 minute ride on the tram, bus or taxi.  Casa Cool Beans is ideally located for easy access to the many local restaurants, bars, galleries and shops.

Gay Rio

Rio de Janeiro, the glamorous center of gay-friendly Brazil, is more than just a place to see and be seen: it’s the Brazilian vacation destination of choice for those who want it all. Lounge on legendary beaches by day, spend an afternoon taking in priceless art and go club hopping by night. Or shop ’til you drop in trendy boutiques, get involved at one of the city’s many gay pride or art events, or unwind with the national cocktail of Brazil, the Caipirinha, at a new hip bar or indulge your senses in an internationally renowned gourmet dinner; you will find it easily in Rio de Janeiro!  We know the BEST of Gay Rio!

Accommodations

Each of the 5 suites is immaculately decorated and luxuriously furnished. There are elements of life’s little luxuries in each of them, featuring the very best linens, sheets, towels and bathroom amenities.  The en-suite bathrooms are new and modern.  WiFi is complementary and available throughout Casa Cool Beans.  All guestrooms are smoke-free.

Art

Santa Teresa is all about art and we are fortunate to be able to present some of the most beautiful pieces of local Carioca Artists on our walls; many of which are for sale.

Activities

Casa Cool Beans has a beautiful garden (hidden to passers-by), open living room and pool area with sun terrace. (Guests are permitted to smoke here should they wish). The pool area offers beautiful vista views for sunning and relaxing.  Guests can buy many of the items showcased in their room and around the hotel including art, bed linens, towels, soap and bathroom amenities, coffee beans and many other irresistible goodies.

New Owners – Lance, David & Mousse (our awesome dog!)

Dreaming of opening their own small boutique hotel or inn has consumed Lance and David for many years.  Lance got the hospitality bug while working at some of New York City’s best hotels to include The Waldorf=Astoria, The Millennium Broadway, and The Four Seasons Hotel.   David’s ability to understand and foresee technological and marketing trends will allow him to contribute significantly in adding technological upgrades and new modern conveniences throughout the Pousada.  We welcome you and look forward to providing you with a wonderful stay at Casa Cool Beans.