The gal was not loaned a wigwam pop-up tent when she arrived at the surprise-filled Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro but she did have a first. As the photo above shows, and as can be seen in the suite video below, suite 771’s bathtub, a really deep Japanese-type soaking receptacle, was completely filled with ice. It also held a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Champagne, with two glasses. This is, incidentally, best suite in the house, on the top floor, and facing north and west to allow views over the beach, with sometimes stunning sunset lights, and the interior Maripenda lagoon. Yabu Pushelberg’s design takes full note of the exterior, so inside the 70 sq m suite is, well, taupe and more taupe.
There is colour, mostly in the form of living walls, down on the cavernous ground floor of this 436-room hotel – there are nine living walls in all and, unlike at some other hotels, they are meticulously tended. There is also lots of wood. Restaurants, by the way, are designed by Arthur Casas, who also does Emiliano hotels. We dined in Shiso, the dinner-only restaurant whose Argentinian-Japanese chef, Miriam Moriyama, was one of only five Rio-area chefs to be awarded, last year, the Brazilian equivalent of Michelin, Rioshow de Gastronomia’s Golden Forks – hotel GM Christophe Lorvo, who after years in Tokyo truly understands Japanese cuisine, found Moriyama-san working in Santiago and, here in Rio, the hotel has provided the equipment her favourite local fisherman needed.
Her menu offers an omakase zen tasting menu, five courses which can be complemented by sake, or wine, pairings, but we went à la carte, which included marvellous robatayaki grill skewers of pork belly, with grilled eggplant. Actually I ate so well here throughout my stay (breakfast is the one-time Italian restaurant, inside or out and looking over the lagoon and its continual criss-crossing of shuttle boats – as soon as I sat down I was brought a flight of local juices, cajá, cupuaçu and tamarind, and once again, a server pressed me most warmly to try tapioca, and, once again, I made my excuses).
In fact I really felt better for staying in this spacious hotel. An illuminating facial, with lots of Vitamin C, probably helped (the entire spa area is also taupe). I followed locals walking their dogs along the bracing seafront, I worked out in the 24/7 LifeFitness gym and, what a treat, I had a truly memorably samba lesson – see the video below. Honestly, 30 minutes samba is about the best cardio I remember for a long time, but I will need many more hours, if not days, to be considered for Carnaval. Perhaps next time at this action-packed hotel I will do some of its other numerous experiences, like a boat trip, or golf, or learn chocolate or sushi making. This is an urban resort, says Christophe Lorvo firmly, and he is adding yet more experiences on July 1st, 2018. NOW SEE VIDEOS OF SUITE 771, AND BREAKFAST, AND A SAMBA LESSON