It’s hard to hold on to feelings of travel fatigue when you touch down on a Friday night in Rio. Particularly when checking into the Philippe Starck-designed Fasano, where resident DJ’s await us on the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar. After a quick turnaround, we’ve joined the party but as we discover during our time in Brazil, there’s never a party far away.
The next morning we throw open our black-out curtains to check out the sea views. We’re slap bang on Ipanema beach, a gloriously golden swath of sand which stretches as far as the Dois Irmãos mountain to the right. To the left, you’ll see a cluster of rocks called Arpoador, where later in the week we join the locals to watch the sunset. Rio’s infamous (and even busier!) Copacabana beach is just over this headland, a short walk from the hotel.
But back to the room itself, which is a pretty sexy affair, all brooding dark wood, punctuated with Starck’s signature ear-shaped mirrors (said to be designed with Van Gough in mind), which you’ll find on the walls, in the shower and even on the ceiling. The whole place has that ‘expensive hotel’ smell – this is understated luxury at its finest. In the foyer a lit up walkway is lined with plush red velvet curtains, separating a wall displaying handwritten notes from their adoring celebrity fans – we’re looking at you Beck’s, Kate Moss and superstar Brazilian footballer Pele. Not normally ones for such showy displays of wealth, there’s something about the flashiness of the Fasano’s clientele which just feels so utterly right in this city. We happily while away the day ordering fresh coconuts and overpriced cocktails, cooling down in the infinity pool and ogling the look at me crowd wearing their very finest itsy bitsy bikinis.
There are three options for eating and drinking at the Fasano. Fasano Al Mare on the ground floor specialises in fish and seafood with a Mediterranean vibe and is where we filled up on their legendary breakfast. Get a seat on the slim terrace if you can, or sit inside to appreciate the serene white linen curtains surrounding you. The Fasano affectionately refer to Baretto Londra as their little English pub (thanks to the comfy armchairs and large British flag on the wall) but it’s been ranked by Wallpaper magazine* as the number one hotel bar in the world, so don’t let that humble description fool you. Expect regular DJ’s, incredible cocktails and a gorgeous crowd trying to get a coveted seat. Aside from that, there’s the rooftop bar which is only open to hotel guests and has killer views of the beach below.
The concierge team are incredibly helpful – happy to make tricky to obtain dinner reservations or book tickets to local attractions with a smile. There’s also a beach service which means you can enjoy the buzzy vibe across the road without having to lift a finger (and by that we mean barter for a lounger and set up an umbrella). All rooms come with complimentary Havaianas, so simply head over and you’ll find a chilled-out section complete with pillows and waiter service. Cold Caipirinha? Don’t mind if I do.