On March 1, Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival returns with its mix of beachy, big-city aplomb. But away from the bacchanal’s epicenter, on the Pacific Ocean, a calm oasis awaits. Next month, the new eco-friendly boutique hotel, JANEIRO, from Osklen designer Oskar Metsavaht officially opens to the public. With just 53 rooms featuring blond freijó wood and Travertine limestone, it’s a welcome respite from downtown Rio. “In a hotel you should feel comfortable,” says Metsavaht, who splits his time between Rio and New York. “It shouldn’t be high-profile; it’s not for show business.”
Located in the quiet residential neighborhood Leblon, JANEIRO embodies the district’s laid-back energy. Rooms are outfitted with wicker swings, views of the Cagarras islands’ white cliffs, and locally sourced décor, like blown-glass lamps made from recycled bottles. It’s located on the beach near the storied (and more touristy) Ipanema. During the design process, Metsavaht’s emphasis was natural light-the more, the better. He notes the location’s ambiance offers a feeling of home while being within "walking distance from art galleries and restaurants, and just one block from the great metro to go downtown or to other neighborhoods.” The hotel boasts a ground-floor bar, an in-house restaurant specializing in grilled seafood, and an omakase dining options for groups of 6-10. JANEIRO, it’s worth noting, is also a prime spot to wear Osklen’s Spring 2019 collection, an ocean-themed assortment of comfy-casual beachwear with maritime prints.
Thirty years ago, the doctor-turned-designer entered Brazil’s fashion landscape with winter sportswear, ultimately shifting into the luxury space in the early aughts. Osklen, his resulting line, was dubbed "Brazil's first global luxury brand” by Forbes in 2012. A through line of Metsavaht’s work has always been sustainability. (A fun tidbit: His surname translates to “forest guardian” in Estonian and Finnish.) Osklen utilizes organic cotton, Pirarucu fish leather, and strives to be eco-conscious, always. JANEIRO abides by this approach as well. “I think any designer would love to create a hotel,” he says. “It defines elegance of style in another platform: One is for wearing and the other is for hosting.”