By Maria Lopez Conde, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Nestled between two of the most iconic beaches in Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana and Ipanema, the Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Hotel has been offering five-star service and luxury accommodations with a French touch to travelers since 1997. Widely considered to be one of the best hotels in the Cidade Maravilhosa, the hotel caters to those who are in town for either business or pleasure.
“The location of Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is unique: on Copacabana beach and beside Ipanema,” explained Leticia Woodrow, marketing coordinator of Rio’s Sofitel, adding that this distinguishes it from other opulent hotels in the city. “It is considered one of the most prestigious Brazilian luxury hotels, combining French savoir-faire with Carioca charm,” Woodrow said.
An impressive landmark with eight floors, the Sofitel has lovely views of Copacabana beach and the neighboring Sugarloaf Mountain. With 388 rooms (including suites), eleven event halls, ten meeting rooms, two restaurants and pools, as well as a bar, the hotel has the infrastructure to offer a wide range of services to all kinds of travelers.
For families on holiday, the Sofitel offers a kid’s program with several complimentary items and services. Video game consoles and pillows for small children are available to families upon request. The hotel also has its own signature bed and a personalized service, Club Millésime, for those looking for additional comfort.
Business travelers are well catered to with ten meeting rooms and eleven conference halls, as well as a large Board Meeting Room. The hotel offers guests and non-guests the ability to lease conference rooms and halls for corporate events, that can be fully customized according to the client’s needs, as part of the Inspired Meetings program. A similar service is offered to those celebrating weddings or hosting fairs.
With avant-garde gourmet dishes and stylish décor, Le Pré Catelan restaurant is the jewel in the crown of the Sofitel Copacabana. Headed by Chef Roland Villard for the last fifteen years, the restaurant has received critical accolades as one of the best fine dining establishments in Rio by publications like Veja Rio, O Globo and international tourism magazines.
Le Pré Catelan, which recently went through a renovation that cost nearly R$1.7 million in 2007, offers tasting menus that combine traditional Brazilian ingredients with French cooking methods for a lavish culinary experience.
On the restaurant’s innovative menu, decadent French foie gras meets Tambaqui fish from the Amazon and the Brazilian northeast’s moqueca(fish stew) effortlessly, tied together with pastry chef Ariel Lettieri’s delicious creations. The restaurant’s bittersweet chocolate soufflé with raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream received the title of Rio’s best dessert in 2010 from Veja Rio.
In preparation for the international sports events the city is hosting in 2014 and 2016, the award-winning hotel is investing in renovations to provide better facilities for an increased flow of tourists, as well as making plans to expand.
“At the beginning of this year some areas of the hotel went through renovations,” said Woodrow. “We invested in renovations for the convention center, located on level E. We also renovated the skylight and the main restaurant, Atlantis,” she added.
The Sofitel brand currently has 125 locations world-wide, owned by the France-based Accor, and is also planning to convert Ipanema’s Caesar Park Rio de Janeiro, which it currently manages, to Sofitel So Rio de Janeiro. It is scheduled to open as a boutique hotel ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Accor also plans to build a branch in São Paulo, but no opening dates have been announced.