Paris Elite, Fashion Editors, London Execs
Reason to Stay
Removed Location, Water Views, Designer Suites
Far away from the flip-flop madness of Ipanema and neighborhood noise of Leblon, the residential area of Joatinga long known as the Bel-Air of Rio is the setting for one of Brazil's best and surprisingly secret hotels. Perched on a tall cliff above the bay, this former-home of Portuguese bankers is recomposed within an opulent design space that wouldn't look out-of-place in Paris's 16th Arrondissement. A bright lobby with large-panel windows facing the Rio shoreline and distance city strikes an immediate impression with its Mao red walls, Murano crystal chandelier and rococo mirrors that always cause its fashion-conscious guests a narcissistic pause when passing through.
Massive terraces and humbling sea views lead to two swimming pools, one infinity and one closer resort pool, with private beach that's just a short walk away and free of pan-handlers and/or criminal children that aren't your own. The in-house eatery is presided over by another Paris alum, namely a former-chef from Plaza Athenee, who creates custom dinner experience anywhere in the resort or just the main dining room with its lighter vibe of modern and period furnishings.
A total of just seven rooms mean that everything at La Suite is on a custom one-off basis. What could go the route of feeling like a bed-and-breakfast goes in the opposite direction as a precision-based hotel where staff is trained at providing what you want but only lingering in small talk when you want it. Rooms are a sophisticated aesthetic of hand-selected European antiques like English writing desks and French club chairs from the ‘20s with pop artwork inspired by Warhol and Koons on bold black or orange walls (for which the rooms are named) with glossy white trim. Large suites extend onto lavish terraces that let in the sound of the crashing waves below at night. If we were to site a weak spot it would be in the bathrooms, with occasional concrete basins sinks in Venetian colors in the standard rooms that never really look as clean and polished as porcelain or marble.
Oceanfront Location, Small Hotel, Gourmet Chef, Historic Hotel
Pool, Spa, Restaurant, Concierge, Driver