Along Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Ipanema Beach and a short distance from the Pedro do Arpoador lies the idyllic Hotel Arpoador. A fine example of Brazilian design, the Hotel Arpoador has an unassuming modernity that mirrors the Carioca lifestyle with ease- refined but never too proper; championing both the natural world and contemporary innovation; considered yet never ostentatious.

The site of the boutique destination was formerly another hotel, the Arpoador Inn, but under the direction of General Manager Daniel Gorin, a total renovation has seen Hotel Arpoador acquire must-visit status in recent years. Working alongside architect Thiago Bernades, Gorin transformed the space into Rio’s premier lifestyle-driven hotel.

A triumph of architectural prowess, the Hotel combines sleek lines and geometric forms with considered interiors for a feeling that is at once modern and comforting, a balance that Gorin himself describes as ‘cosy minimalism.’ An elegant frontage built of wood, stone and glass looks out onto a lively beach, with amber toned lights throughout the building to mirror that distinct glow of the Rio sunshine.

Gorin notes that the building itself does not merely seek to highlight the beauty of Rio’s varied landscape, but to mirror it to some extent. With a dual facade that looks out onto both the sands of Ipanema and the streets of the city, Bernandes successfully connects these two aspects of Rio’s identity, building this juxtaposition into the DNA of the Hotel. As such, Gorin suggests we might view the edifice as an ‘embassy’ for the city that houses it.

Such thoughtfulness is carried through into every aspect of the hotel. Corridors feature curved corners and light wood floors to mirror the calm quality of the inside of a boat, whilst fringed hammocks decorate bedroom suites for a sense of island getaway in the heart of the metropolis. Inspired by a trip to a meditation retreat, Gorin goes so far as to soundtrack the hotel with a carefully tailored playlist, designed to act as an ‘electronic mantra’ of Brazilian sounds to inspire peace within his guests, for a complete sensory experience that is truly distinct.

The Hotel’s ‘beach bar’ ARP, meanwhile, offers visitors a cultivated, traditional Brazilian menu of fresh açai topped with tapioca pearls, delicious seafood and classic caipirinhas alongside more international fare, but always championing local produce – from free-range eggs sourced from nearby farms to slow-fermented sourdough bread baked in house. The delights of ARP’s menu mean you might be tempted not to venture outside of the hotel’s boundaries. But should you wish to explore, the dedicated concierge staff will be more than willing to share their knowledge of the best local jewels - or arranging Carioca inspired activities- from sunrise yoga overlooking the Atlantic, to Samba dancing at the sunsets, for a truly holistic experience of the Rio lifestyle.

This sense of lifestyle is what drives Gorin, who wishes for his guests to feel truly at home within his hotel, and as such, within the city of Rio. He prides himself on the ‘unique’ nature of the hotel, one that is entirely artisanal – from the woven wooden headboards in every bedroom, to the locally crafted uniforms worn by staff and even the hand-built frontage. An insistence on beautiful design, attention to detail and a championing of Brazilian materials wherever possible combine to produce a distinctly Carioca vision of modern luxury, for a hotel that - as Gorin puts it- perfectly captures ‘the soul of Rio.’

Images by Leonardo Finotti