The owners of the Emiliano brand, the Filgueiras family, had been looking for ages for a Rio site to complement their much-admired unique hotel in São Paulo. Eventually, recalls Gustavo Filgueiras, they settled on the former Austrian consulate on Copacabana’s avenida Atlantica, and several permits and other hurdles later they eventually, in December 2016, opened Emiliano Rio de Janeiro. It is a most memorable hotel, with an exterior that can only be described as a fretwork, some panels of which fortunately open. The gal was incredibly lucky to be in room 51, front facing, with a balcony big enough for sitting out.
There are 90 rooms in all, smallest size 44 sq m. Take one of the three elevators to the 11th floor to the Santapele spa, and the 24/7 Technogym. From there, walk up 27 stone steps, along one living wall, and find yourself on an amazing rooftop. Here you have an L-shaped pool, the infinity facet, for lap swimming, running the entire width of the building. The other ‘leg’ has much shallower water, in which rest seven rows of three brown loungers. Up here, too, is an open-side café-bar reserved solely for hotel guests. This is where celebs hang out for privacy (this Leading hotel is the magnet for the arty crowd in Rio).
Back on the ground floor there are also rooms, at the rear, reserved for hotel guests. A library has a living wall, and open tomes on art and architecture, including a definitive manual on architect Arthur de Mattos Casas, who graduated from the University of Säo Paulo in 1983 and is best known today forthe Brazil Pavilion at the 2015 Milan World Expo, plus the Japanese restaurant at Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, Emiliano São Paulo, and here, Emiliano Rio de Janeiro. He has divided this hotel’s main restaurant, Emile, on the ground floor, into two. The fan-shaped rear has one massive living-wall, rising to a glass ceiling: the rectangular front part has normal walls and a lower ceiling. Here chef Damien Montecer is in charge, three meals a day.
Dinner, Emile-style, starts with delicious breads and home-made seaweed butter, and might go on to an artichoke salad, as shown – it turns out to be a cake of artichoke bits wrapped in mustard leaf, topped with Tulha cheese and truffle oil. His fish of the day is simply presented, with baked cubes of heart of palm and sauce vierge. His Caesar salad, by the way, takes deconstruction to a pure art form: a quarter of a lettuce heart, dotted with spring onion flakes, comes with separate requested protein and, in separate little bowls, cheese, bacon bits and dressings. This is indeed an unforgettable hotel, from food to lovely service and, of course, architecture. As well as viewing the video of room 52, below, look at the top of this page, at sunrise through the open trellis of my room. AND NOW SEE VIDEOS OF SUITE 42, AND THE HOTEL’S ROOFTOP