I've been to Rio countless times; it's even the backdrop of my book LOST IN HOTELS. But in all my visits, I've never climbed up to Corcovado or paraded for Carnival and usually make every effort to leave the city a few day prior to its famous New Year's Eve. Rio is one of those rare cities that are best on an average day, maybe any day, where locals wander in flip-flops along shaded streets and visitors get lost among the geometrical sidewalks of the beach or poolside at a posh hotel where no one knows your name.
With passion fruit caipirinha in hand, it's hard to motivate anyone to leave the rooftop pool of the Fasano Rio de Janiero. There's no better hotel address, or plans for one on the way even with rumors of EDITION and Soho House openings. Perhaps you could talk me into the Copacabana Palace on New Year's Eve to indulge in the fireworks and pool-top dance debauchery or Mama Ruisa in Santa Teresa for a one-night sojourn. But then I want to go back to the Fasano, even if in the rain and only to sit under a wood pergola with hideous artificial ivy to watch one of the prettiest views in existence.
Doing nothing is Rio is part of the city's DNA, waking-up as the sun hits midday and walking to your nearest Bibi Sucos for an acai and morning espresso where you'll inevitably see friends from the night before. If you're going to shop, skip the clothes and focus on the emerging art scene found at standout galleries like A Gentil Carioca, Anita Schwartz or Luciana Caravello. The inspirations will serve well for afternoon conversation back at the Fasano pool or along Ipanema's trendy 9th lifeguard stand. In terms of dinner, providing you sober up by then, we suggest testing new Asian-inspired Mee that's arisen inside the Copacabana Palace, gastronomic Olympe that's still the best restaurant in town or Nam Thai that attempts to brings Thai cuisine to Rio mainstream. It's also close to clubs like 00 and Miroir unless you're on the guest list of Fasano's new rooftop party series on Thursday and Saturday nights.