Spotlight on Juliana Guzmán
Aside from the year-round sunshine, vibrant city life and the famous beaches, Rio is also a luxury real estate mecca for global and local investors alike. One person who knows a little something about Brazil’s market and luxury Rio de Janeiro apartments is our very own co-founder Juliana Guzmán. Having relocated from Colombia to our ‘Cidade Maravilhosa‘ eight years ago, we sit down and discuss moving to Rio and how Rio Exclusive started. The location – the lavish living room of Rio Exclusive’s most luxurious penthouse in Copacabana – where else? Check it out:
Q: When did you move to Rio and why haven’t you left anymore?
A: I first came to this city for holidays in 2007 and I instantly fell in love with its rich culture, its overwhelming nature, and its warm people that remind me of my fellow Colombians. At that time Rio de Janeiro was – and still is – thriving with opportunities, so I had no doubt this was where I had to stay.
Q: Did Rio meet your expectations?
A: It exceeded them! In Rio I met Arnaud Bughon, my now husband, and together we founded Rio Exclusive. We were the first company in Rio de Janeiro to introduce luxury apartment rentals on a short-term basis and with a lot of hard-work, the company grew fast. We are now expanding and growing and all seems to be set for me to stay here for a very long time.
Q: How did Rio Exclusive start and why did it become so successful?
A: Well, Arnaud and I had a lot of friends and acquaintances who owned apartments in Rio. Yet they didn’t really live here, so those properties were left empty for several months a year. It was then easy to realize that matching those empty apartments with the countless amount of people who had a hard time finding a rental in Rio was an awesome profit opportunity. Meanwhile the people who owned the apartments felt that we were taking good care of them while they were making profits too. In our first year, 2007, we were already managing 40 properties. We then went on to become Rio’s largest luxury real estate company, all that in less than a decade. The thing is we built from scratch a market that didn’t exist back then.
Q: What is Rio Exclusive’s concept based on?
A: We know our clientele is very discerning. We handpicked Rio’s most luxurious apartments based on their prime location, design-forward layout, security and exclusivity. We then combine this with bespoke concierge services from private chefs and drivers, to butler and daily maid service. When you rent a luxury apartment in Rio, guests are looking for all the luxuries of staying in a hotel, with the privacy and independence of staying at home. That’s what Rio Exclusive is all about: providing the best of both. This is made possible by our highly skilled, international team of local experts, fluent in 8 languages. Whether you are in Rio for business or pleasure, our team will do whatever we can to help; from event organizing to photo-shoots to private tours and restaurant recommendations. The final result is that when clients return home, they start recommending us to friends and family, and then our network keeps growing. And of course the clients themselves always want to come back too.
Q: What are the next steps in the business?
A: We now have other similar companies that are based on the same concept of Rio Exclusive while covering other markets: Brazil Exclusive and Latin Exclusive. So that means we are now focusing on a much larger area with an equally wider clientele. It’s been quite challenging to expand our business this further, but as we see it successful initiatives are about permanently setting higher goals. Plus we are already well under way with preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. With 7.5 million tickets available, 205 countries participating and over 10,000 athletes; Rio will be in the spotlight of attention for a global audience.
Q: Do you have a favorite place in Rio, like a restaurant you’d recommend to Rio Exclusive’s clients?
A: I love Zaza Bistro in Ipanema for its delicious, healthy menu of typical Brazilian dishes with a twist. They also serve a great cocktail. But for a special occasion, you can’t beat Oro; it’s definitely the best restaurant in Jardim Botânico and probably the best in Rio. They have an amazing 9-course menu that gives you a wonderful mix of traditional Brazilian food and world-class haute cuisine.
Q: Do you have a final message for Rio Exclusive’s clients and potential clients?
A: I’d like to say that Rio is already amazing enough regardless of what type of accommodation you’re getting. Yet for those who don’t want just an ordinary stay at an anonymous hotel, for those looking to experience this marvelous city to the fullest while living like a local, we have the perfectly tailored choice in the form of a luxury rental in Rio.