As Brazil prepares to host the World Cup next year and the Olympics two years later – a feat few countries have ever attempted – Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana’s manager Frédéric Ribault discusses how its combination of French savoir-faire and Carioca charm will entice luxury travelers.
We provide the unique experience for the guest in every encounter through our gastronomy, the welcome and the friendliness of our Ambassadors.
Located at the most famous address in town: Atlantic Avenue, on a stretch of the street boasting the best view of Copacabana Beach, the five-star Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana offers guests the ultimate luxury travel experience, according to manager Frédéric Ribault.
“Welcoming the guests with attention and cordiality has become a characteristic of the hotel. The proposal of Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is to join the French elegance and the Brazilian warmth. Our executive floor, Club Millésime, offers a magnifique experience to the guest. The receptiveness at Club Millésime makes the client feel important. The check-in and check-out are exclusive, made on the eight floor. To toast the arrival, a cold glass of sparkling wine and a sweet treat from the hotel’s French patisserie,” he enthuses.
Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana’s unique location, on Copacabana beach and close to Ipanema, position the property as the perfect platform for visitors to explore the beautiful city of Rio. From securing tickets to spectacular attractions to directing guests to landmarks and hidden gems, the hotel boasts an excellent team of concierges, and the head concierge Silvio Mauricio Gomes is the former president of Les Clefs d’Or in Brazil.
The property’s other pull factors including its comfortable apartments with balconies, the MyBed concept, the executive floor with personalized Club Millésime services; the beach service, two pools and the award-winning cuisine, Ribault explains.
“Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is in a splendid location. It gives the guests a full view of Copacabana beach, one of the most beautiful in the world. It is also near Ipanema, a charming district full of attractions, immortalized in the song Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos ‘Tom’ Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes,” Ribault comments.
Since joining the Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana as manager a year ago, Ribault says his greatest achievements to date have been “the possibility of working on the evolution of a unique project my own achievement,” Rio+20, New Year’s Eve, and Carnival, while the highlight of his time at the helm has been “each satisfied guest and each satisfied Ambassador.”
The ratio breakdown of guests staying at the hotel is typically 70% business and 30% leisure, with 60% international and 40% domestic, he reveals.
With a magnificent offering of facilities, the hotel offers access to a section of Copacabana Beach, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, wellness facilities, saunas and a specialized convention and business center, all against an unbeatable backdrop of natural beauty and luxury.
The apartments all have balconies; MyBed, a unique concept of comfort while at rest; and air conditioning.
The property contains 243 superior suites, 68 luxury apartments, 33 Club Millésime Superior Suites, 14 prestige suites, 11 junior suites, 12 Club Millésime Luxury Apartments, two Club Millésime Junior Suites and two Imperial Suites. With luxury and comfort top of the agenda, the exclusive pillow menu features 10 different options, including the ‘reverie douceur,’ ideal for those who sleep on their stomachs.
One of the best in the city, the Imperial Suite offers a breath-taking view of Copacabana Beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain, with each unit spanning 220m² and the option to two suites to be connected, doubling that space.
Services include a butler, daily delivery of newspapers from various countries, an open bar service, fine chinaware, crystal glassware, silverware and Nespresso coffee-makers.
Imperial Suite #801 features a large entryway, living room, master bedroom, a dining room seating up to eight people, a small kitchen, two bathrooms, a powder room and eight balconies facing Copacabana Beach. Many well-known personalities have enjoyed the Sofitel’s Imperial Suites, including Liza Minnelli, BB King, Jane Fonda, Paul McCartney and Sylvester Stallone.
Positioned on the 8th and 9th floors, Club Millésime Lounge opens daily from 6am until midnight with its personalized, 24-hour butler service catering to any demand, from packing and unpacking guests’ bags to planning their dining and entertainment options, wake up calls, and travel itineraries, while free and unlimited access to WIFI and use of an iPad are additional draws. Guests have the opportunity to check-in and check-out at the Club Reception Desk or in their apartment.
The exclusive breakfast lounge opens from 6am to 11am, before light snack time from noon until 2pm, teatime from 3:30pm until 5:30pm, and evening wine tasting sessions from 6pm until midnight.
Attention to detail is paramount, and arriving at the rooms, women are presented with gifts of artisanal soaps prepared with relaxing salts, in addition to a letter with phrases by Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Meanwhile, at the lounge, guests receive personal service by the waiters, chefs and sommeliers.
Considered one of the most prestigious luxury hotels in Brazil, the property stands apart from others by being one of the only hotels in the city with terraces on all 388 rooms, offering one of the biggest convention centres with tailor-made events, boasting award-winning gastronomy, and having a unique and splendid location, as well as Rio’s biggest Imperial Suite, Ribault explains.
For once, this is a hotel where you definitely want to dine in. Award-winning French chef Roland Villard leads the kitchen brigade at the stylish and inviting Le Pré Catelan, deemed to be one of the best French restaurants in Brazil.
The restaurant has clinched a raft of prestigious awards, including Best French Restaurant in Rio de Janeiro by Veja Rio, Época magazine and Água na Boca and Best French Restaurant in Brazil by Gula magazine, and it has received the highest classification of three stars by the guides Quatro Rodas and Frommer’s Rio Day By Day 2011.
“Successes among the clients are the Gastronomic Trip through the Amazon and the Rice and Beans menus, apart from the famous foie gras and escargot trilogies and the delicious French pâtisseries. The restaurant also offers the experience of sitting at the Chef’s table, “Table du Chef”, and sampling a sequence of dishes suggested by the Chef and paired with wines from the restaurant’s special wine cellar,” Ribault comments.
Created in 2008, the exquisite ‘A Trip through the Amazon’ menu is one of the restaurant’s main draws, combining French preparation techniques with typical ingredients from this Brazilian region. Consisting of 10 dishes, the menu includes crab pastry with Bacuri chutney, tapioca Sagu pearls marinated with Caipirinha; Moqueca blinis and grilled shrimp with Brazilian nut cream; Tucunare fish brandade on coconut milk; and Pirarucu fish in Caju crust and Tucupi in Jambu sauce.
First unveiled in 2011, the Rice and Beans Menu features dishes including rice roll with crayfish and green papya, acai vinaigrette over crispy rice spaghetti; Feijão-manteiguinha blinis, tomato and mozzarella salad with tuna cream and Basmati rice pesto; and Carnaroli Rice and Feijão-verde risotto, grilled shrimp and olive oil bisque. To create the menu, more than 20 different types of grain were researched, culminating in new dishes uniting basic ingredients with the distinctive French preparation method.
The bar at Le Pré Catelan is clad in Mother of Pearl imported from the Philippines, while additional touches include stylish chairs made of a special resin, stainless steel and wood that were created by renowned architects Charles and Ray Eames and Swarovski crystal light features.
The restaurant possesses an extensive wine cellar with an ample number of prestigious labels from around the world such as the sophisticated Bordeaux, the Loire, the Burgundy, the famous reds from Côtes du Rhône and Alsace, while the Table du Chef is a unique and exclusive service in which the client participates in a dinner that has been exclusively prepared for him in the office of the renowned chef Roland Villard. A type of sampling menu, with no plate limit, is offered by the chef and the client receives a diploma at the end of the gastronomic marathon. The restaurant’s record to date has been 42 dishes.
The restaurants, bar and room service offer everything from a sophisticated mixture of Brazilian products to typically French creations and international cuisine. The Atlantis restaurant, where breakfast, a gourmet buffet at lunch and an à la carte menu at dinner are served, and the Horse’s Neck Bar ̶ boasting the longest list of Belgian beers in Rio ̶ also offer spectacular views of Copacabana beach.
Served between 6AM and 10:30AM, breakfast at the 80-seater Atlantis provides a great start to the day, featuring breads, brioches and waffles prepared in the hotel’s own bakery, tapas, salads, cold cuts, a cheese table and hot dishes.
To maintain the highest level of customer service at the hotel, “employees are at the epicentre of Sofitel and the Ambassadors program was designed exclusively for Sofitel staff. The brainchild of Sofitel HR Department and designed for 25,000 employees, the program enables teams to benefit from individual follow-up, on a professional and personal capacity, so they become brand ambassadors. The three-part program is designed to attract and retain talent, thanks to specialised training courses and opportunities for career evolution,” Ribault explains.
A modern space, Sofitel’s convention center boasts 10 meeting rooms, offering the capacity to hold up to 2000 people. Gearing up to welcome guests for the World Cup and the Olympics, the property invested in renovations at the start of this year, to the Convention Centre, the skylight and the Atlantis restaurant.
“The skylight area became a lounge annexed to the restaurant and we plan to host art exhibitions in this area. The Atlantis restaurant is undergoing other changes, including its plans to become a Mediterranean speciality restaurant,” Ribault comments.
“Our guests are looking for more than a stay, they search for an experience. Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana offers the best of French savoir-faire with Carioca charm. We provide the unique experience for the guest in every encounter through our gastronomy, the welcome and the friendliness of our Ambassadors,” he adds.