When in Rio de Janeiro: stay at La Suite by Dussol

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La Suite by Dussol Hotel remains a fantastic boutique hotel near Rio de Janeiro. Located on Joatinga’s cliffs, this luxury 4-star hotel offers mesmerising sea views from its magnificent coastal spot. Chauffeur-driven transfers to and from the Santos Dumont International Airport are available upon request. After the success of a first hotel called La Maison which opened in 2004 in the Brazilian city, French entrepreneur François-Xavier Dussol decided to open a second place with a similar spirit but with an even higher level of luxury. “The soul of the hotel is really that La Suite is a place where you can feel at home more than in a traditional hotel.” And this is clearly what you feel – tranquility combined with beautiful landscapes. “If there’s anything you need, just ring the bell in the lounge and someone will come to help you” said François-Xavier as a matter of introduction. Later, a discreet but nice member of the staff brings you filtered water and an ipod that matches the colour of your room full of Brazilian music of all-kinds. The experience is unique.

Determined to build the guesthouse in the right spot, François-Xavier and his brother Jacques found the space for La Suite in what is described as the Beverly Hills of Rio, the Joatinga district, west of the city. It is the only residential area built directly on the ocean, near the architects’ club – after the Niemeyer Avenue.

Styled by him with furniture and paintings both found in Brazil and Europe, the space which used to belong to the Espirito Santo bankers’ family is peaceful, slick and tasteful. One of the assets is that it features one the most amazing views on the city and the bay, combining the sugar loaves, the Ipanema beach, and the Corcovado.

“Around the view we’re trying to create the best personalised service and the best food. Our chef is Vinicius Fracaccio who worked for 2 French chefs here in Rio: Claude Troisgros and Roland Villard. His cuisine is a mix of French and Asian influences with the best Brazilian fresh products found on the market.” continues François-Xavier.

Two swimming pools and seven rooms are available. I was given the beautiful yellow room. “My initial inspiration for the rooms was to use the colours of precious Brazilian stones and after I realized that a hotel in Rio had already used the idea, I went for the names of the colours only. The challenging part was to find marbles for the bathrooms matching with the colours of the rooms.”

Bruce Willis is set to have slept at La Suite after he arrived in helicopter (the hotel features a heliport on top). Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Mario Testino are some of the photographers who have all shot at La Suite. Needless to say that I felt privileged.

With the success of these two spaces, By Dussol the holding company behind the projects, is about to expand. They have recently bought an old and historic hotel of Rio: the Hotel Paris that will become Le Paris scheduled to open at the end of 2013, on time for the 2014 World Cup and later for the 2016 Olympic Games. More central, it will follow the same spirit and design as La Suite and La Maison.

The hotel’s infinity pool offers sweeping ocean views, whilst the other swimming pool is nestled amid tropical plants by the inviting terrace. The grand salon is a space of sleek design, adorned with a crystal chandelier designed by Philippe Starck, and framed by large windows offering sweeping sea views. The library plays host to art books, photographs and magazines, encouraging rest and relaxation.

As a conclusion François-Xavier gave me tips for the best 5 things to do in Rio:
– Experience the beach at Arpoador and Posto 9 in Ipanema.
– Discover Centro a mix of history and modernism.
– Spend a night in Lapa to feel the crazy partying atmosphere.
– Go on a boat tour in the Guanabara Bay to see Rio from the Ocean.
– Go on top of the Corcovado in early morning through the Tijuca forest (the biggest urban forest in the world) for the emotion of seeing the most amazing urban/nature scenario in the world.

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