Despite the fact that I’ve explored Rio de Janeiro before, this trip has definitely introduced me to some new amazing spots. The Fasano hotel where we were staying had THE best infinity pool that offered a great view of the often breathtaking sunsets on Ipanema beach. This is one of Rio’s most pristine beaches, where people watching – especially near the super photogenetic Arpoador rocks – is taken to the next level (Marc Jacobs has been spotted here a few times!).
As for outdoor activities (and why on earth would you stay indoors in Rio? :)), the helicopter flight and private visit of the Christ statue that Louis Vuitton had planned for us turned out to be once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I will never ever forget. Taking in Rio from above makes you fully appreciate its beauty. Between the all-white architecture, clear blue waters, lush greens, and the impressive Sugarloaf mountains, you really had to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real. As for the Christ Statue: I would really recommend going as early as possible, so you can experience the rising sun peeking through the clouds before the large crowds arrive.
If you want to escape the craziness of the city, the Jardim Botânico has everything you’re looking for. Huge banana trees as far as the eye can see, cute ponds, and even cuter monkeys; it’s really quite impressive. One of my favorite hangouts in the gardens was Parque Lage; Louis Vuitton understandably chose this ancient palazzo as the venue for the afterparty, but it’s equally ideal for a quiet afternoon picnic in paradise. We also stopped by the Vista Chinesa, but I wouldn’t particulary recommend going there if you’re only in Rio for a short time; sure, it offers a nice view of the city, but I found it waaaay too touristy.
Rio is the perfect city for picking up local handmade treasures, as craftsmanship is still very much appreciated here. Brazil has lots of great fashion designers, and one of my all-time favorites is Adriana Degreas. All of her swimwear is super flattering, just as her matching kimonos (am I the only one who thinks a matching beach set is to die for?); if you want to buy one piece from her, go with her most recent interpretation of the catsuit, because OMG! :) Further, I also really like the handmade bamboo clutches from Glorinha Paranaguá; since her shop must be one of the smallest in Rio, not nearly everything is on display, so don’t be afraid to place an order for the custom made bag of your dreams.
If you’re currently in the process of decorating your home (yup, that’s me), you’re in really big trouble in Rio, as there are so many interesting interior design stores. The most exclusive one is Loja Interni, which is located somewhat off track, but really worth the detour; they have a very nice selection of high-end minimalistic pieces and handmade ceramics. It doesn’t hurt either that their shop offers a nice view of the Christ; it’s definitely surreal to see while you’re browsing through their goodies! A bit more affordable are these two cute places in Santa Teresa: Tum Ceramica has a very beautiful range of handmade ceramics, clean white on the outside, but with the typical vibrant Brazilian colors on the inside. Tucum has an equally nice selection of homewear, and also offers really cool handmade jewelry and accessories. Another one of my favorites is Copa&Cia, as they have the most gorgeous bambou table settings and all things for lazy brunches and cosy garden parties!
Now for FOOD! I’m a big fan of the Brazilian cuisine, as they really know how to make the most of all their local ingredients. The night before the show, Louis Vuitton hosted a dinner at the Bazzar restaurant; the portions were quite small but very tasty, with lots of fresh fish and healthy farm-to-table dishes. For desert (or any meal really) you have to stop by Mil Frutas: they have THE most incredible flavors! The original combinations, made from delicious local Brazilian fruits, will blow your mind, and the best part is that you can taste as many as you want! For someone who is not the best at deciding on food options, this is a dream. :) Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa has been frequently praised for serving the best local dishes, and I’d totally recommend it. Also in Santa Teresa, Cafecito offers great breakfasts with the local specialty of tapioca de carne seca, and the cute nearby market with a great range of handmade jewelry, is an added bonus (and while you’re in the neighbourhood, don’t forget to snap a pic on the famous Selaron Steps!).
And finally, before you head home, why not soften the prospect of a long plane right by getting a massage and hydrating facial at the Fasano Spa? It will make your skin feel dewy and refreshed, ready to show off your beautiful tan once home. O Rio, you’re the best. XO Sofie