By Beatriz Miranda and Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Over two years ago Ipanema gained a unique boutique guesthouse – or villa – the Casa Bromelia, launched by California transplant Lauren Quinn. After successfully building a brand, Quinn has expanded to be ‘Casa Bromelia – a Rio Travel Concierge’ and soon will be launching a Bromelia Swimwear line.
The Casa Bromelia is located on Rua Prudente de Morais, just one block from the famed Ipanema Beach, and is self described as ’embracing the simple pleasures of life’, and highlights Brazilian tradition and custom, while honoring the classic idea of “home away from home”.
As a travel concierge they also partner with enchanting accommodations in Santa Teresa, and offer a ‘real Rio’ experience through beach-based activities but also city and culture adventures.
Lauren Quinn explains how it all started for her in Rio, “I have been living and traveling abroad for the past fifteen years. When Rio and I met, I had forever imagined myself settling down in a tropical city and working in the travel industry. When Brazil became my home, my vision was to engage with an international community, while growing local roots.”
She adds, “‘Casa Bromelia – a Rio Travel Concierge’ developed organically as a vehicle for sharing my passion of Brazil with travelers who have little access to the real local culture. The Casa puts soul in their Rio de Janeiro. My guests feel safe before they leave home because I speak both their language and Portuguese.”
When thinking about the concierge side of the business, Quinn describes her approach. “My understanding of the sub-context of this city, also allows them to experience the Real Rio directly upon arrival. I manage all the little details of their trip – such as fabulous beach accommodation, local excursions, and personal concierge service while in Rio – so they can enter calmly into that tropical Brazil feel without a care in the world.”
However building a business in Rio or Brazil is not all sun and fun, and the hard work needed to be successful in the Cidade Maravilhosa takes time and patience, leg-work and experience. Quinn admits, “Building a business in Brazil is not as straight forward as it would be in the States or Europe.”
She adds, “You can not just find what you need on the internet or make an appointment and expect to be fully informed about anything. It is all about building relationships by conversing and engaging with local people. Without an element of soul, you will not be successful in Brazil.”
In addition, Quinn explains that her previous experiences abroad have taught her to adapt to different business environments. “Living in New Delhi, accustomed me to complicated bureaucracy. Living in Paris, seasoned me to navigate life in a different language”, shares the entrepreneur, who has also lived in London and Toulouse, in the south of France.
In regards to the future of the business, Quinn wants to start exporting Rio’s tropical lifestyle by bringing a bit of Brazil to those outside of the country. “The Casa Bromelia YouTube channel was launched recently to provide a glimpse into the Rio lifestyle and highlight city’s hidden gems. Soon I will also be launching a Bromelia Swimwear Line (available online and ships internationally)”.