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Hot List 2008

Hotel Fasano, Rio de Janeiro 
$$$$

80 Avenida Vieira Souto

Ipanema

Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

Tel: 55 21 3202 4000

It's one of the great mysteries of life: Why has Rio, a city whose inhabitants have set the standard for chic in music, fashion, art, and design, never had the stylish hotel it deserves? (The wedding-cake pile Copacabana Hotel is, after all, more than 80 years old.) That long injustice is finally righted in the 94-room Fasano Hotel, where true taste and ingenuity—the meager lobby is broken into restaurant, lounge, and reception areas with flowing, richly textured floor-to-ceiling curtains—is accompanied by genuinely friendly service. Efficiency with élan seems to be the hotel's modus operandi, from the small lounge and rooftop pool (which, unlike the airy, mod ground-floor restaurant, is accessible only to guests) to the relatively tight but thoughtfully designed rooms, whose beds face a private balcony with views across the street to Ipanema Beach and which, courtesy of designer Philippe Starck, have been outfitted in masculine leathers and lustrous tropical hardwoods. The only drawbacks are the street noise and the skimpy porte cochere, which can quickly grow clogged, but consider these small prices to pay for having the best people-watching and wave-catching perch in Rio.

When to go: December through February is high season, but May and June mean lower temperatures and fewer crowds.
Which room to book: Any one on a high floor facing the ocean.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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