Set on a cliff in one of Rio de Janeiro's most exclusive neighborhoods, staying at the seven-room boutique hotel La Suite is much like having a private residence in the city but with the amenities of a luxury hotel—and then some. Joel, Greg and I had the chance to experience it first-hand when we visited after the recent São Paulo Fashion Week.
Co-owners François and Rodrigo are perfect hosts, providing unobtrusive and gracious service that makes for a personal experience without any of the frustrations of larger properties. The simple option of having a freshly-made breakfast served at any time of day was a true luxury that we all relished after nights out sampling Rio's impressive nightlife. Making our way up the stairs late the next morning (or in some cases afternoon) to find the table laid out for a four-course breakfast on the terrace and lingering over the sweeping views of Rio, we realized it was about the best it gets.
In addition to getting us out of a real bind with our rental car, another example of the kind of exceptional hospitality that François and Rodrigo provide was the hassle-free check out and check in. Upon arriving late in the evening, we mentioned that we wanted to go out. After showering, we went upstairs where Francois handed us a print-out of the area we had talked about with a few spots highlighted, even giving us a name to drop at one club so we could jump the line. When it was time to say goodbye, Francois informed us before we had a chance to ask that a late check out wasn't a problem.
Several other features proved to be on par with the general sense of comfort La Suite maintains. Stocked with the softest towels I've ever come across at a hotel, as well as local products by Granado, the spacious marble bathrooms were elegantly appointed. The air-conditioned rooms themselves, also the work of the owners, belong to the class of irreverently luxurious chic, with antique furniture, pop art, au courant colors (each room is a different one) and elaborate chandeliers. Each also includes its own balcony and unbelievable views.
Other areas of the hotel include an infinity pool (still under construction when we were there) and a plunge pool surrounded by gorgeous tropical landscaping and a charming small parrot, as well as a lobby/lounge area filled with books and often inhabited by Jolie, the resident dachschund.
The secluded location of La Suite makes for a respite from Rio and fun late-night drives along Oscar Niemeyer drive winding between favelas and the ocean. It also provides access to beaches that are more popular with locals than with tourists (like in Barra, try Pepe beach) while also being close enough to Ipanema so that you don't feel too isolated.
To book, see Mr & Mrs Smith, rates start at 300€.
501 Rua Jackson de Figueiredo
Joatinga, Rio de Janeiro