‘Best of Rio’ is a series in celebration of the city’s rich and varied cultural tapestry. From architectural design to wellness retreats and art galleries, Rio de Janeiro is home to some of the most innovative and inspiring creations, and we are shining a spotlight on them.
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 unassuming modernity that mirrors the Carioca lifestyle; refined but never too proper, stimulated by the natural world but championing contemporary innovation. Nothing at the Hotel Arpoador appears ill-considered, while nothing is ostentatious.
We sat down with General Manager of the Arpoador, Daniel Gorin, to learn more about the concept behind the hotel and assortment of opportunities and services available there.
Daniel explains that,
“There was another hotel before called the Arpoador Inn and we did a total renovation. We changed the name to Arpoador only, so it’s the Arpoador now.”
At the helm of the architectural design of the renovation was Thiago Bernarndes, of Bernarndes Architectura. Daniel states that Bernarndes was ideal for the design of the renovation as,
“He already works with sleek lines, geometric forms. He’s an expert on proportion. He created something very cosy for our space, it was important to have something cosy because it’s a boutique hotel”
The elegant frontage is composed of natural matters; woods, stone, and glass look onto the lively beach, while amber-toned lights and equally affable staff welcome guests to dine al fresco on the hotel’s porch. While on the subject of dining; the Hotel Arpoador’s restaurant, ARP – of which Daniel describes as a ‘beach bar’ – is more than supplementary; serving a melange of cultivated traditional Brazilian cuisine and drinks and international dishes – the fresh acai bowls (made from organic acai berries and served with sugar cane molasses and tapioca pearls “which is the way it is in the north of Brazil”), seafood and shellfish, and caipirinhas will make it difficult to venture anywhere else for your meals or nightcap, though the concierge team are more than pleased to share their wealth of local jewels.
It is the first hotel that has the soul of Rio in his heart
Daniel explains that the menu is as considered as the architectural design,
“It’s an international menu made with local ingredients; so free-range eggs from a local producer, we have really amazing cheese from a local producer, we have homemade slow-fermented sourdough bread and natural yoghurt.”
Lifestyle is at the essence of the Hotel Arpoador and that’s what lends it such favourable appeal; it’s true to that of modern Cariocas and invites its guest to become an honorary one. Opportunities to learn how to paddleboard, take morning yoga classes that overlook the coastline, attend samba nights and picturesque hikes are all available via the hotel’s website. Even the layout of the Arpoador Hotel lends to the element of Carioca lifestyle.
Daniel states one of the best things that Diego Bernarndes has done is,
“the fact that he created a layout, that it connects the city to the sea. It has two facades; one facing the street and one facing the sea. That’s also the DNA, in our DNA is the city and sea, which is the characteristic that makes Rio a unique city, it’s a unique tourist city.
It’s the conjunction between nature and culture. Rio is neither the most, let’s say the biggest metropolis in the world. There’s London, New York, Berlin and neither the most idyllic city in the world, it joins those aspects of a city, both wildlife and nature, with the mountains, the sea, the waterfalls, but it’s also a very big metropolis city with 8 million inhabitants. So we believe that our hotel can be like an embassy that represents the different bodies of the city that houses it.”
Like the exterior, the interior can be described as modest, Daniel expresses that “someone once described it as ‘cosy minimalism'”. The neutral palette and sense of minimalism isn’t stark and austere, but rather considered and sustainable. Note that modesty doesn’t insinuate a lack of luxury, in fact, the Hotel Arpoador exudes luxury in its essentials; bespoke woven wooden headboards and baskets, linen bed and a fringed hammock dress the room. Even the music is carefully tailored for an inclusive experience. Daniel explained that,
“I always felt that hotel corridors can lead to express what the hotel’s about, and this is a lifestyle hotel. There are some touch-points when you feel like you’re on a boat; the corridors don’t have 90-degree corners, they have rounded corners and they are white, the floor is made from light Brazilian wood, it really does feel like you’re in a boat. I went to a retreat in Bahia where I was meditating all day and one meditation method was music meditation with Brazilian instruments – you know like a drum, a guitar, maracas – and when I came back I had the idea that when you’re in this long white corridor, like in a boat you should feel really relaxed at all times, so I created a playlist on Spotify that allows you to breathe this music and create a relationship with Brazilian music and Brazilian instruments.”
He describes it as an “electronic mantra, played by Brazilian instruments”, and it’s this poetic relationship with sensory value is that makes a stay at the Arpoador truly distinct, and this is something that he is proud of.
“I’m very proud that we created a unique product, it’s a unique hotel. If I could sum it up it’s an artisanal hotel, everything was made by hand. It’s artisanal in all its sense, the food is handpicked by a chef, even the facade was made by hand, and the uniforms worn by employees. It is the first hotel that has the soul of Rio in his heart.”
Photography courtesy of Leonardo Finotti.