La Suite, Rio de Janeiro
This seven-room hotel offers an alternative to the jam-packed Ipanema and Copacabana.
Location: Set in a former private house, 165 feet above the Atlantic, in Joatinga, a gated community 10 minutes' drive south of Rio.
Pedigree: Created by former investment banker Francois-Xavier Dussol, who opened La Maison, Rio's first boutique hotel, in 2004, quickly garnering a fan base of fashion and beau monde types.
Style Design: Each of La Suite's rooms is painted a different shade--acid green, poppy pink, lavender, saffron--with an überluxe bathroom clad in matching marble (yes, yellow and purple marble). All have private terraces with sea views. There's a small plunge pool, two cabanas, and an infinity pool on the way.
Service Amenities: Either Dussol or his partner, Rodrigo Harold, is always on site to greet guests; other staffers are eager and friendly, but speak only Portuguese. The dreamy breakfast includes exotic tropical fruits, smoothies, and house-made French pastries.
Rooms to Book: Our favorite is the spacious Black Suite, where cascading bead curtains surround the platform bed. The suite features two black-marble bathrooms and a generous terrace. It's also the only room with two huge walls of windows facing the sea.
501 Rua Jackson de Figueiredo, Joatinga; 55-21/9557-5986; doubles from $390.