“50s style meets Noughties chic: this 89-room addition to the Fasano dynasty is THE place to be seen in Rio”
The 79 rooms and 10 suites are beautifully designed and full of character. Parquet floors and whitewashed walls show off period-styled furniture, and original photographs from the 50s and 60s depict diving boards and tango dancers. Beds are kingsize - loaded with crisp white linen and mounds of goose-down pillows - and lamps are of onyx, the 'eared' mirrors were custom-designed by Philippe Starck for the hotel.
The mod cons you'd expect from a luxury hotel blend in seamlessly, the attention to detail is first-rate: you get fluffy white dressing gowns, 800g towels, minibar, umbrella, shoehorn and WiFi. Turn down service is twice daily, replenishing the complimentary fresh water, supplying tomorrow's weather forecast, and a nightly chocolate. There's even a butler service for that extra degree of luxury. A cordless phone is supplied, you can take it with you around the hotel.
Most rooms are Superior Courtyard, but although these are the cheapest rooms, they're by no means spartan. Each has double or twin beds, a dark-wood desk (with a bowl of fruit for booking through i-escape) and a retro leather armchair. All have sliding French doors onto a private terrace; note that half do not face the sea. The Superior Ocean rooms on the first floor are larger and all face the sea with a private terrace.
The top categories, starting with the Deluxe Ocean Rooms, are more spacious and all have balconies with chairs and fantastic sea views.
Suites all have a larger minibar, espresso machines and fresh flowers on arrival. The 7 Ocean Front Suites have separate living areas, 2 bathrooms, Jacuzzis and walk-in closets. However, the 3 supersize Ocean Deluxe Suites are the pièce de resistance - almost 5 times the size of the Superior Rooms, with a panoramic view of the ocean.
Bathrooms are full marble and the walk-in showers in the higher room categories overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Ample Fasano-branded amenities supplied include shampoo, liquid soap, moisturiser, conditioner, cotton buds, shower caps and cotton wool, and bath foam in the suites.
Fasano is a name that's synonymous with gourmet cuisine - this is the fourth generation of the family whose gastronomic empire began with a coffee import/export business in 1902 in São Paulo. It's not just the food that's fabulous though; the über-cool Fasano restaurants are places to rub shoulders with the city's movers and shakers.
Here Fasano Al Mare serves elegant Italian cuisine with a seafood twist under a Murano chandelier on Scandinavian-style tables. The recently revamped menu is the brainchild of Italian chef, Luca Gozzani, who came from a three-star Michelin restaurant. Choose from the a la carte, set (at lunch), or tasting menus, perfectly wine matched on request.
Space precludes me from rhapsodising over every dish we tried, but the Carpaccio di Polipo (octopus carpaccio), stuffed squid, Tortelli di Vitello (delicate tortilla with veal), suckling pig, and tiramisu millefeuille will all linger long in the memory. The wine list is endless (with an Italian emphasis), and the service impeccable.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant; choose from an extensive buffet of house made breads including pão de queijo (a Brazilian favourite made with cheese), fresh fruit, sausages, eggs to order, yoghurt, fruit juices. Let Fasano Rio know of any dietary restrictions, all easily catered for.
You can also arrange for private dining in the restaurant, you and your party will be cleverly concealed by white curtains.
The rooftop bar is open all day, serving a mix of hot and cold light meals and freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices - a great place for lunch, sundowners and late-night cocktails, and for gazing at that stunning panoramic view.
Light meals and drinks are also available in the Baretto-Londra lounge bar - a hip space with leather chairs, a British rock 'n' roll theme and regular DJ sets.
If you'd prefer to eat on your terrace, room service has an extensive menu, serving everything from burgers to à la carte meals from Fasano Al Mare.
There are also many excellent restaurants within walking distance and beyond to choose from. Alessandro e Frederico (Rua Garcia D’Avila) is good for brunch, salads, pizza and pasta, with a lovely terrace for alfresco dining. If you’re into ice cream, swing by bijou Mil Frutas in the same street for dessert. Sister restaurant Gero also offers Italian fare just round the corner, Aprazivel is in boho Santa Teresa, try Roberta Sudbrack near the botanical gardens for Brazilian fusion.
Children are welcome and those under 12 stay free of charge if in a cot (provided) or using existing beds (sharing with parents). Extra beds can be added to Deluxe Rooms and suites for an additional charge. On arrival all children receive hot milk and a cookie baked with their name on it, while babies get a complimentary Adriano teddy bear. Cup cakes decorated with hearts are offered. Full nanny services are available.
Families are advised to stay on the 7th floor where a deluxe suite, an ocean front suite and superior courtyard can connect as required to make a family suite, providing twin and king beds.
Babysitting is available by arrangement
Complimentary swim diapers offered. You'll find kids shampoo, lotion and soap placed in the bathroom made by the well-known Granado pharmacy who make sustainable products
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids menu available
The rooftop pool has a shallow end, ideal for kids
For a family meal that sets the bar to its highest notch, our recommendation is to go to legendary Porcão Rio for the full on Rodizio experience - where they carve meat onto your plate. The service was superb, there's a vast and varied buffet so even vegetarians are very well catered for, and best of all, there's a kids room with nannies, toys, a ball pit and cartoons. We all loved it!