Rio Exclusive is Rio de Janeiro’s premium service for luxury apartment rentals. Many flock to this city to experience the white sand beaches, incredible dining and pulsating nightlife, staying at one of the city’s fantastic hotels lining Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema beaches. But, for those in the know, and for those who have been to Rio many times, there comes a time when you need more space and want to experience the city like a local, a Carioca.
Rio Exclusive offers countless options of private apartments for rent, ranging from small, cozy one bedrooms to sprawling penthouses around the city. I was a recent renter here and had heard about the service from a friend, an avid traveler who knows Brazil quite well. I come to the city often and myself have experienced almost every hotel property dotting the beaches and hills. This time was different. This time, I wanted to feel more integrated into the fabric of the city.
I contacted Rio Exclusive and told them what I was looking for. I needed a four bedroom space that could house myself and my team, one that served as both a place to sleep, and also a place to relax, hold meetings and simply soak-up that Brazilian sun I’ve grown to love over the years. And, Rio Exclusive suggested just the place – Penthouse 132, just off the beach, in exclusive Leblon.
Located in a private building with doorman and secured elevator, the penthouse was exactly what I needed. I was set to stay five nights, and to bring my team from New York to experience the place and city as well. The owner was in France at the time we were in Rio, so Rio Exclusive set-up the rental – acting as a private concierge from start to finish. They offer everything from airport transfers to itinerary suggestions and reservations at some of the city’s best clubs and restaurants.
The apartment featured four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a huge kitchen, living area, beautiful terrace, private pool and views over the entire city.
Rio Exclusive suggested we hire someone to come-in for cleaning and cooking services. We hired a local woman, who was friendly, attentive and an excellent chef – whipping-up some of the best Brazilian tapioca crepes for breakfast that I’ve ever tasted. She maintained the kitchen, handled laundry and was sure to make our stay that much more lovely.
The amazing perk to renting an apartment through Rio Exclusive instead of staying at a hotel is complete customization and privacy. There’s something to be said for not having to deal with other hotel guests, but being completely in your own space where anything and everything you want is at your fingertips. Penthouse 132 was the perfect venue.
Everything about the aesthetic of the place was perfect – crisp, clean white sheets, walls and wooden accents placed around each room.
The apartment was also a perfect place to have large dinners. In my case, I hosted dinner for my team. For those with friends and family, you’ll find Rio Exclusive’s apartments to be perfect for intimate dining experiences. I hired a chef from my absolute favorite restaurant in Rio, Capim Santo. Known for their delicious Brazilian fare hailing from the northern state of Bahia, Capim Santo’s catering services were just what we needed for such an event.
They arrived promptly and took over the kitchen in a flash, bringing-in all their equipment and ingredients for the unbelievable dinner they had in store for us. I was contacted ahead of time by the director of operations who worked with me on creating a customized menu for us. They even made allowances for guests’ allergies and special requirements.
A bar with fresh fruit was set-up in the living room. Caipirinhas were the star of the show – and the Capim Santo team offered traditional, cashew and passionfruit flavors. Brazil’s favorite cocktail was enjoyed thoroughly that evening.
Capim Santo even provided glassware and utensils – everything down to napkins.
Having a well-stocked bar in your private Rio de Janeiro penthouse is a dream for any traveler.
The bartender was friendly, energetic and modified his masterpieces to our guests’ liking.
What an absolute treat.
And, then, the food arrived. Bahian cuisine is probably my favorite from all the regions of Brazil. We started with cassava balls stuffed with “Serra da Canastra” cheese.
The fish satay in lemongrass root with green papaya salad was a hit.
The food poured out of the kitchen effortlessly – it was hard to keep up.
The traditional dish of Bahia is mocqueca. Capim Santo created a seafood moqueca and served it over rice in a coconut shell.
One of my favorite dishes was the lemongrass blinis with smoked salmon and guacamole.
Each morsel was perfection.
We finished the night with an array of desserts, each one unique in flavor and texture. There was hot mango soup with ginger and ice cream as well as Brazilian truffles served on a spoon, the perfect bite-sized moment to end the meal.
All of these experiences could really only be had if I rented a private apartment. I couldn’t have done this in a hotel. Rio Exclusive gave me access to options – which really is the ultimate luxury.
Aside from our apartment, Penhouse 132 in Leblon, the Rio Exclusive offers places in Copacabana – like this one.
Gloria. (another rental in Leblon pictured below)
Barra – and more. You won’t find a better service in the city. And four those looking to visit other areas of Brazil, Rio Exclusive offers homes, villas and other accommodations across the country.