My wife and I had the unique experience, of staying 4 days at the Philippe Staarck designed Fasano Hotel, on Ipanema Beach in Rio. There were so many special things about the hotel, it’s a bit difficult to know where to start. So let me begin with the vision that has made Staark, arguably, the world's foremost designer.
Unlike most 5-star hotels that tower over their locations, this hotel fits sensitively into its surroundings and feels surprisingly personal when you approach it. Staarck designed a facade that is not like any other in Rio. Its interesting in its details, but warm and welcoming, much like the attentive staff that greet you, often before you pass through the front door.
As you would expect at a fine hotel, the staff is aware you are coming and the paperwork is relatively short and simple to complete. A nice plus was that everyone seemed to know our names. It also appeared that everyone spoke English, and not just the front desk (which you would expect), but everyone short of the maid who attended our room every day (and even she made an effort to greet us and communicate.)
The check-in desk, itself, is the tip off to the design fireworks to come.It is a chunk of a beautifully finished tree trunk, about 15-feet long. It must literally weigh a ton. As you roam around the the lobby floor, you see one gorgeous element after another: walls of granite from the Amazon River riverbed; sinks and lighting fixtures made in part with alabaster; hallways lined in heavily grained, and perfectly matched, wooden panels; soft billowy curtains to balance the rare stone walls; classic - often one-of-a--kind - chairs, couches and coffee tables; fanciful chandeliers from Murano, Italy, and other art objects from other parts of the world. The visual feast just never stops. And it continues when you head up to your room.
Your senses are challenged the moment you exit the elevator. The walls of the entire landing are robed in fine wood. There is not a single, visible door. It takes a moment to realize that the back-lit glass, that circles the hallway, has each room number etched into it at the point where it hinges open. What a surprise! Once you enter the room, there are many other Philippe Staarck surprises, but I’ll save a few for you to discover on your own.
Apparently, the name Fasano is attached to fine dining, as well as fine hotels. In fact, there is an outstanding, spacious, and elegant, seafood restaurant in the hotel that is highly recommended. And, an “English” bar that appears to be the place to be, at the end of the day, for many of Rio’s attractive set. Fasano also owns at least two restaurants in Ipanema that are very popular. Which brings me to the location of the hotel.
Ipanema beach is as beautiful and romantic as the words and music of the iconic “Girl from…” The Fasano sits about 60 feet across the street from the sand of that beach with brilliant views to the mountains at the far end. We found ourselves, daily, ordering the prompt, delicious, room service breakfast, and eating it on our terrace while taking in the unique view. The hotel’s rooftop has a wonderfully designed lounging-type pool and bar that was being refinished when we were there, so I cannot speak about it from experience. But, having friends who live in Rio, I’m told it is one of the coolest places to be in town. I did, however, make daily use of the gym on the roof, with its ever-present attendant, happy to help me in any way, including physically working with me (stretching, etc.), helping chose and pump out great Brazilian music from a rocking sound system. Of course he spoke English and could give me all the towels, bottled water, magazines in various languages or turn on the TV on my machine. All-in- all a sweet experience.
Finally, beginning the day before we left, the concierge did cartwheels to find us an alternate way home to NY as there was a mechanical breakdown on the airline we were scheduled on the next day. We could get nowhere with the problem, but miraculously, she pulled it off. Nice ending to report.
There is clearly no hotel in Rio that has the extraordinary style and location of the Fasano Hotel. Add the attentive, professional staff, the overall high level of quality service and accoutrements, and the magical quality of Rio and Ipanema Beach. Everyone deserves the total experience at least once in their lives.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Avenida Vieira Souto, in the heart of Ipanema beach, the long awaited hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro combines the sophistication of Rio’s most coveted address with modernity and efficiency in design and service. Envisioned by Philippe Starck, everything has been thought out to reverberate the glorious Bossa Nova era, when Ipanema was blossoming into the most charming neighborhood of Rio. The hotel caters to both leisure and business travelers and offers the latest technology in its accommodations and meeting rooms. Guests can experience Fasano's gastronomic legacy at the elegant Fasano al mare restaurant and enjoy signature cocktails and light meals at the ‘scenery’ Baretto-Londra. The breathtaking view from the rooftop swimming pool overlooks the beach and constitutes an attraction in and of itself. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fasano Rio De Janeiro
- Hotel Fasano Rio De Janeiro Brazil