Hotel Fasano, Rio de Janeiro $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
When the Hotel Fasano opened in 2007, it radically changed Rio's hotel scene, turning some of Brazil's costliest square footage on Ipanema's prized beachfront into a temple to high design. Efficient staff, connected by Secret Service–style throat mikes, seem genuinely dedicated to guests' enjoyment. Strict city zoning codes slashed the hotel's planned footprint, but designer Philippe Starck brought inspired touches (many ultimately realized by owner Rogério Fasano) to the comparatively limited space. Floor-to-ceiling drapes divide the discreet lobby from the hip ground-floor restaurant and languorously plush lounge—the latter scattered with corduroy sofas and vast tables hewn from natural-fall Amazonian pequia trees. Lustrous tropical hardwoods also clad the 91 rooms and suites, their flowing, asymmetrical lines luring the eye outward, where oceanfront balconies command an unparalleled view of Ipanema. The deft design touch extends into traditionally overlooked areas, such as corridors and portals, brightened with imaginative lighting and playful furniture. A crowd of moneyed Brazilians and European media types patronizes the hotel's darkly attractive bar—think aged leather club chairs, cowhide sofas, and walls decorated with gilt-framed Bowie and Clash LPs—all steeped in the aroma of good cigars and ribald fun. But only guests are admitted to the luxurious rooftop pool, where they gaze magisterially down at the public frolicking on the beaches eight floors below.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
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 ingenuitythe meager lobby is broken into restaurant, lounge, and reception areas with flowing, richly textured floor-to-ceiling curtainsis 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.2008 Hot List
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.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›