In The Lap Of Luxury At Rio de Janeiro
Anyone who has lived in or passed through Rio de Janeiro knows that there is no place exactly like it in the world. No other city the exact shade of its vibrancy, exuberance and aliveness. And when visitors begin flocking in for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August, that pulsating energy will rise to a roar as Rio demonstrates what it means to be an international host.
Aside from the famous Rio Carnival, this is probably one of most exciting times to visit Brazil’s second largest city. But it would be a shame to travel all that way only to experience the Rio of guidebooks.
The best facets of a city, as every traveller knows, are held in the hearts of its residents or repeat visitors. So woman with drive turned to two luxury travel and lifestyle bloggers who went, saw and fell in love with the city of samba.
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Ana Silva O’Reilly of the award-winning blog, Mrs. O Around The World, declares that describing Rio as merely “stunning” is an understatement.
“It is sexy, beautiful and elegant. Everything a woman wants to be! There is something about the light in this city that makes you want to start dancing to the bossa nova sounds.”
Bonnie Rakhit, the founder and editor of the UK’s leading luxury fashion and travel blog, The Style Traveller, first visited Rio right after university and has made three return trips since.
“Rio offers the perfect mix of sunshine, relaxation, culture and a big dose of party spirit,” she says. “Its colourful architecture mimics its colourful inhabitants. It is one of the most exciting and buzzing cities in the world.”
Here are Ana and Bonnie’s prime picks for luxury stays, dining and shopping in Rio de Janeiro:
“My favourite neighbourhoods are Leblon – the most upmarket in the city and lesser known to international visitors – and Ipanema. You will see a parade of beautifully dressed ladies and their partners everywhere, minus the bling.”
“Without doubt, the hottest hotel in Rio is Hotel Fasano (above). Dark mahogany with minimal rafters and a roof top pool that plays host to trendy celebrities, models and Brazil’s in crowd.”
To Dine & Dance
“Sushi Leblon is still one of the city’s hotspots and you will not get a table for dinner unless you book a few months in advance. The only option, therefore, is lunch so think ahead.
Quadrucci is one of those restaurants you must dine at if you want to tell people you have been to the proper Rio de Janeiro.
Carlota is another hot spot – very unique and does not take reservations. Arrive early to get a table or start with watermelon and black pepper caipirinhas next door.”
“For the best fish dishes in the city, it is Sushi Leblon. For nightlife, Rio Scenarium (above) is one of the city’s most eclectic and colourful nightclub spots. Housed in a crumbling 19th century town house, head there for dinner and drinks, and dance to the live samba music until dawn!”
“The main shopping street in Leblon is Ataúlfo de Paiva and its cross streets. You will also find here two of the best malls in Rio. Just take note of the prices as they tend to be shown in ‘installments’. A great place to visit and indulge is the H. Stern jewellery emporium (above). There is a museum, a showcase of the brand’s latest collections and also very well priced seconds and older items.”
“When it comes to fashion, Rio is a city where anything goes. The sartorial style mirrors the laid back attitudes of the locals. At night the atmosphere is much more chilled out here than in Sao Paulo, the look is trendy, young and cool. For high street treats the main street in Ipanema is your best bet but for more boutique, antique arts and crafts, wander around the pretty streets of Santa Teresa for the afternoon. It is a chilled and gorgeous way to spend the day.”
Main image credit: The Style Traveller
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