Of the many stylish guesthouses and pousadas in Santa Teresa, Mama Ruisa stands out as the most trim and chic. French owner Jean Michel Ruis, a successful hotelier, decorated this grand colonial house himself, with natural flair and a keen eye for exotic details: tangerine sofas, embroidered cushions, shiny wooden floors and an eclectic art collection on the walls.
   The seven bedrooms are plain but pretty, with the detail in the furnishings: white walls and wooden shutters mingle with retro-vintage and antique furniture, floral bedspreads and fresh flowers. A painted wrought-iron balcony circles the exterior and has the best views of Sugarloaf Mountain. This is where breakfast is served: homemade jam, local fruit and, of course croissants.
   The pretty garden has a small well-kept lawn and is dominated by the palm-shaded swimming pool.