The origin story of Casa Turquesa begins more than twenty years ago when owner, Tetê Etrusco, ventured out from her native Brazil to explore the world. Travelling far and wide, she eventually settled in France, where she shared her love of ballet with the people of Provence. Tetê spent twelve happy years there and fell in love with a Frenchman who shared her wanderlust. They purchased a boat together and voyaged through France and the rest of the world until they eventually decided that it was prime time to end that chapter in their odyssey and begin another.
Returning to Brazil, Tetê was armed with an eternal love of travel, a desire to give back to the travel community who had enriched her time abroad and the knowledge to execute it. The couple’s time at home began with another adventure when they sailed down Rio’s ‘Green Coast’ and happened upon the historic town of Paraty. Tetê instantly fell in love with the town, deciding that its rich colonial past and gorgeous tropical location made it the perfect setting for a luxury boutique hotel.
Paraty was founded in 1560 after a group of settlers recognised the value of its strategic location. They valued Paraty’s position on a protected natural bay and the fact that it was shielded by mountains from behind – protecting them from incursions by indigenous tribes. Its name is a derivation of ‘paratii’, which means ‘waters of the white fish’ in the region’s ancestral language – a reference to the rich fishing waters that it enjoys.
Paraty underwent massive economic growth in the late seventeenth century when it became a key export location for the Minas Gerais goldmine. However, this boom was short-lived and Paraty had reverted to a small fishing town by the start of the eighteenth century. The town experienced a renaissance, thanks to the coffee and sugarcane booms, before the construction of a railway line rendered it useless.
The town stood frozen in time – retaining its glorious nineteenth-century architecture and winding cobblestone streets. It was rediscovered by people like Tetê – who recognised that its unique combination of history and natural beauty would appeal to travellers from every corner of the globe. Thus, Casa Turquesa was born – a luxury boutique hotel in a restored colonial mansion, offering visitors the perfect blend of new and old. It looks over Paraty’s historic port and provides unparalleled views of the charming town. Despite its wonderful location, Tetê understood that merely having a stunning setting and a historic building was not enough – travelling is about experiences and that is precisely what Casa Turquesa delivers to guests. Paraty is a national art hub and Casa Turquesa embodies this, thanks to its extensive collection of local art that includes lacework, paintings, and photography by Brazilian artists. Its kitchen uses local produce to create authentic Brazilian cuisine – ensuring that guests can enjoy the culinary delights that the region has to offer while sharing the wealth that the travel industry brings with local farmers and fisherman.
Tetê is a traveller at heart and that has informed her approach to Casa Turquesa – she understands that travel is contradictory by nature and all about striking the right balance between conflicting needs. Great hotels offer luxury, yet also retain an authentic atmosphere that allows visitors to experience the true essence of the place; they are intimate, yet private; homely, yet alien; historic, yet modern; and organised, yet spontaneous. By striking this delicate balance at Casa Turquesa, Tetê is engaging in a form of art and according to her, art and hospitality have the same aim –
“to transform visitor’s perspectives of the world and to assist in the blossoming of one’s own unique originality.”
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