Rio has a new-old luxury hotel, Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana – and it is MARVELLOUS. Accor has taken the C-shaped 11-floor building at the far south end of Copacabana, overlooking Forte de Copacabana, that opened in 1986 as Rio Palace. After the 2016 Rio Olympics, it was run as Sofitel. After an over-two-year complete overhaul, it opened August 2019 as this 375-room fun hotel, along the lines of a mature Andaz or W Hotel, says the gal. There are things here you do not normally expect from a traditional Fairmont.
Having a young GM, Netto Moreira, who was once going to be a doctor with Médicins Sans Frontières MSF, probably helps. I can see his hand in such details as the approach to the gym (see above), and the equipment, by the way, is latest Technogym. Also on the sixth floor podium, where most activity seems to happen, you find two outdoor pools, one for the morning sun and one for the evening sun. The morning pool has 29 surrounding loungers, partly in water, that at weekends are re-arranged to give great seating areas for regular music events: Saturdays, for instance, are always piano rock.
The interiors are by a Paulista, Patrícia Anastissiadis, who also did Oetker’s Palácio Tangára in her home town, São Paulo. I love the way she has put in, here in the Fairmont, corridor carpets that have banana leaf patterns, a subdued version of corridor walls at The Beverly Hills Hotel. I loved my suite, #1375, at the end with no fewer than four balconies looking down at the Fort, and also looking the whole length of Copacabana Beach to Sugar Loaf Mountain.
All suites give access to the Fairmont Gold lounge, a marvellous fourth-floor space (formerly a restaurant) with very generous all day hospitality which includes enough evening food to make dinner, and international and local drinks. We dined, however, in Marine Resto. A one-time French restaurant, pool-side on that sixth floor, is now a just-right seafood+Mediterranean. After fish crudo, I had octopus from one of two Josper grills, with sides of heart of palm and fries, and a glass of Argentinian Cabernet Merlot, Ruttini (do not miss the home-made seaweed-covered butter – it is so good I ate it by itself). Yes, this is a fun luxury hotel. SEE MY SUITE, BELOW