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Rio de Janeiro
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About Rio de Janeiro
Dramatic and teeming with life, 24/7, Rio de Janeiro perches between ocean and jungle and is both a great one-stop destination, and a perfect entry point into Latin America. Some of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro, can be found in the boutique city centre B&Bs, but if luxury is what you're after then the city does not disappoint, with plenty of stylish hang outs, either beachside or slightly further out of town.
Even with images from films such as City of God ingrained in the mind, the city’s truly breathtaking views do not disappoint. Rio is really quite something, with one of the world's most specular settings: a line of lights between high peaks, rainforests and white sandy beaches. From the bossa nova cafés of Santa Teresa to the caipirinha-soaked beaches of Ipanema and Copacobana, the city has so much to offer and a wide range of accommodation to match.
The locals have a reputation for good living and fun, and this is an easy place to eat and drink very well then dance the night away. Or to spend hours people watching. It's also a great place to surf or sail, and the dense rainforests are just a short journey from the centre of the city.
Cristo Redentor is one of Rio's most famous inhabitants, standing atop Corcovado, arms outstretched, looking out over the whole city. You can trace the train up to the Parque Nacional da Tijuca to share his view, or you can hike, but it's a long way up. Rocky Pão de Açúcar is another of Rio's high points - this peak is best reached by cable car, but you're also able to have a go at the virtually sheer rock face if you're here for an adventure.
Carless, colonial Ilha de Paquetá, in the bay is a great place for an escape, as is the Jardim Botanico. Some of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro will help if you're looking for art, history or culture which you'll find everywhere, from street art of the formal museums. The same goes for architecture.
Some Useful Advice
- You will need some basic Portuguese phrases to get by, especially in the smaller guesthouses, though English is spoken in the hotels.
- In high season (December to February) be wary of theft on the crowded beaches.
- Prices soar in high season, as does the temperature (35-40˚c) and visitors to the carnival in February will need to book hotels well in advance.
The Best Places to Stay in Rio de Janeiro for Luxury
- Right on Ipanema Beach, Fasano is a Philippe Starck-designed retro-chic paradise, with fifties and sixties furniture, and pacious airy bedrooms - many with two double beds placed to maximise ocean views. Staff even wear vintage uniforms! And there's a rooftop pool and bar to retreat to when you've had enough of the beach.
- The Santa Teresa Hotel is hipness HQ in Santa Teresa, serving up luxury boho chic. The loft suite the ultimate, but the verandah rooms are also excellent, and the restuarant serves acclaimed Brazilian-French gastronomy by French chef Damien Montecer.
The Best Boutique B&Bs and Guesthouses in Rio de Janeiro
- La Maison is in Alto Gavea, a somewhat off the beaten track part of Rio, surrounded by lush hillsides, with is actually just ten minutes north of Ipanema Beach. There are just five rooms, themed around travel. Stylish, romantic and unique.
- Casa Cool Beans serves the breakfast part of its B&B promise poolside, and in its pleasant variety of outdoor terrace and garden spaces. This is a good place for market shoppers, and there are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants to choose from in the local area.
- Casa Beleza has just two rooms and two suites, a small pool and a shady garden - with monkeys and a turtle. The fruit trees provide your breakfast fruit. There's wifi, but no television, and the English-speaking owners, a film maker and a musician, know and love Rio, and are happy to share their knowledge and tips.
The Best Places to Stay in Rio de Janeiro for a City Break
- Mama Ruisa is an elegant 19th Century boutique guesthouse in a prime location above the Lapa District overlooking the bay. Rooms are perfectly simple, in white and pale shade, with stunning views.
- The Ipanema Penthouse is a three bedroom apartment, with chic, all white bedrooms with private balconies, a rooftop pool and fantastic panoramic views of the city.
The Best Places to Stay in Rio de Janeiro for a Beach Break
- Rio Atlantica is a large hotel on the beach at Copacabana. Rooms and suites are modern and luxurious, and some of them also have spectacular views.
- On the coast, slightly out of town, La Suite's seven bedrooms have hazy views of the city's millions of lights. This cliff top luxury guesthouse has Warhol themed rooms an infinity pool and a fabulous restaurant.
The Best Places to Stay in Rio de Janeiro for Something Special
- Featured in songs, films and books, the Copacabana Palace is an iconic place to stay in Rio. There's all-out marble and chandelier bedecked grandeur in public areas, so the feeling is traditionally luxurious. The beachfront rooms are the best, with their terraces, and the pool, bar and restaurants are quite something.
- The Cachoiera Inn is two hours from the capital, in the buzzing resort of Buzios, the St Tropez of Brazil. Cachoeira means waterfall in Portuguese and there are nine here, as well as pools and a swim-up bar. There's a multilevel reef just off the coast, so this is a great place for divers and snorkelers - this is a great spot for meeting local turtles. Can you resist lying in a hammock under a palm tree sipping a caipirinha? Absolutely not.
The Best Places to Stay in Rio de Janeiro on a Budget
- Castelinho38 is a cheerful hotel in Rio's bohemian quarter, Santa Teresa. Rooms are large and colourful - some with sea views, and there's a lovely breakfast terrace and garden. The seven rooms start from £67 per night. This is also one of the best places to stay in Rio for families.
- Quinta Azul in the quiet hills of Santa Terese is a good value boutique pousada. The house itself is over 120 years old with thirteen comfortable rooms, close to restaurants and galleries and just ten minutes from the beach. Room rates start from £87 per night.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro, have a look at Sao Paulo or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Castelinho38 12 rooms from $67Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
A cheerful hotel in Rio's Bohemian Quarter, Santa Teresa. Large colourful rooms, suites, and triples, with sea views. Lovely breakfast terrace and garden. Excellent value, idea for families on a budget.Value chicSights nearby - Santa Theresa is Rio's bohemian quarter, Carioca Aqueduct, Museu da Chácara do Céu.Great walks - Good for walkers.Surfing - Suitable beaches nearby.Recommended by - I Escape
Casa Cool Beans 10 rooms from $84Rio de Janeiro (136 Rio de Janeiro-RJ (Santa Teresa))
Inexpensive, super-friendly B&B in a cool boho neighbourhood. Clean and simple white washed rooms with splashes of colour - most with two double beds. Multiple gardens, open-air areas, pool and sun deck have wonderful views and are perfect to chill out in. A great choie for groups of friends.Groups - An ideal spot for groups or families, most rooms have two double beds, and the garden is a great place to chill in the evenings.Sights nearby - Just 7 km from the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain, plus the B&B runs a shuttle service to the main sights.Restrictions on children - No children under 13.Swimming Pool - Lovely outdoor pool.Recommended by - Frommers, Fodors
Casa Beleza 5 rooms from $86Rio de Janeiro
A charming B&B nestled away in Santa Teresa. Just three rooms and two suites in modern retro styles by Brazilian designers. Lovely pool and a little garden of Eden with monkeys, butterflies, fruit trees and a pet turtle. Bohemian vibes make for a relaxing hideaway.Local exploring - Set in the historic quarter, Santa Teresa, a tranquil bohemian area yet close to the Rio de Janerio's main sights.Great walks - Wander the cobblestone streets of Rio's charming and historic Santa Teresa, packed with restaurants, bars and museums.Sights nearby - Just a 15 minute drive from the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor Pool in Gardens
Quinta Azul 13 rooms from $107Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
Good value, Quinta Azul is a boutique pousada, set in the quiet hills of bohemian Santa Teresa. With beautiful gardens the 120 year old colonial house has thirteen comfortable and well appointed rooms, close to the restaurants and galleries of the neighbourhood and just ten minutes from the beach.Outstanding location - Santa Teresa is famous for its winding cobbled streets and a haunt for poets, artists and musciansPrivate Hot Tub - Deluxe bedrooms have private JucuzziViews - Great views from hotelQuirky - An experience!
La Maison 5 rooms from $119Rio de Janeiro (Gávea)
Tranquil boutique retreat set in a lovely hillside mansion. Stunning views from the private terraces of equally stunning travel-inspired rooms. A fantastic pool with flamboyant cocktails to get you in the mood for the nightlife in nearby Ipanema. Stylish, romantic, unique.Hideaway - Set in a unusually quiet part of town although actually only two miles from great beaches.Sights nearby - Don't miss admiring the view from the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet
Guesthouse Maria Santa Teresa 6 rooms from $150Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
This homely, quirky property makes guest enjoyment its chief priority. Hotel comes with pool, bar, cigar room and evening entertainment to ensure a fun, but relaxed stay in Rio. Distinctive design features and a rooftop terrace with great views make this a hotel with heaps of character.Full of characterGreat walks - Good for walkers.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorSights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Casa Mosquito 9 rooms from $171Rio de Janeiro
A charming Portugese house cum boutique hotel in the hills above Copacabana with excellent sea views. Chic Franco-Brazilian rooms with private balconies, sprawling terraces, several dining areas, and excellent food. Perfect for families for exclusive use or as an intimate honeymoon spot for couples.Views - Great views from hotelGroupsFamiliesLocal markets - Sunday hippy market on Praça General Osório.Recommended by - I Escape
Mama Ruisa 7 rooms from $173Rio de Janeiro
Elegant 19th century boutique guesthouse in a prime location above the Lapa district and overlooking Guanabara bay. Simple, but beautifully decorated rooms in white with splashes of delicate colours and balconies with stunning views. A really charming spot.Families - The laidbacked host and quiet setting makes this a great hideaway for families, with a pool and plenty of room to run around.City Style - A french chic hotel with light airy suites and fantastic views, set in a bohemian part of town close to Rio's hip nightlife.Great walks - Explore the colourful cobbled streets of Santa Teresa with its authentic Brazilian restaurants and vibrant atmosphere.Sights nearby - Visit the Christ the Redeemer for epic city views.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet
Rio Atlantica 247 rooms from $216Rio de Janeiro
A large hotel on the beach front in the Copacabana area. Luxurious rooms and suites, all contemporary with all the mod cons and spectacular sea views. Fantastic roof top terrace has a pool and lounge area, excellent Portugese restaurant, and well equipped spa and gym.City StyleViews - Great views from hotelBeach LifeSights nearby - Jardim Botânico.
La Suite by Dussol 7 rooms from $287Rio de Janeiro (Joa)
Out-of-town clifftop guesthouse with celestial ocean views. Super stylish contemporary rooms with panoramic views, classic furnishings, and modern art. Infinity pool, an excellent maison d'hotes, and within striking distance of one of Rio's best kept beaches. Romantic, also family friendly.Romantic BreakLuxuryViews - Great views from hotelLocal exploringRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Santa Teresa 40 rooms from $333Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
Bohemian chic at this luxury hotel in the enviable location of Santa Teresa. Brazilian designs combine with the utmost designer elegance - rich wooden furnishings, soft sandstone and unrivalled views from the fabulous loft suite. A very special place to stay with a wonderful restaurant.City Style - A neo-colonial former coffee finca in Rio's boho chic Santa Teresa, exuding ethnic Brazilian swag through interiors and art.Total relaxation - An indulgent getaway with glorious modern spa, fantastic cuisine, and unrivalled service, in an arty laid back part of town.Sights nearby - Visit the Selaron Steps, one of the most iconic attractions in Rio and the work of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón.Local markets - Splugre in the trendy monthly Rio Antigo Market.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection, Relais & Chateaux
Ipanema Penthouse 3 rooms from $424Rio de Janeiro (Ipanema)
A three bedroom apartment in Ipanema. Chic all white bedrooms with private balconies, lovely roof top swimming pool, fantastic panoramic views of the city. Ideally suited for a family or group of friends.Sights nearby - Christ the Redeemer.Great walks - Corcovado mountain.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
Copacabana Palace Hotel 241 rooms from $433Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana)
A landmark hotel of iconic status on the beach front. An Art Deco facade, luxurious creamy rooms and suites, health club, and fabulous beachfront brasserie. A Five Star hotel with the glamour of historic Rio. Chic, historic, and still hip.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.City StyleSights nearby - Edmundo Bittencourt Square, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Pasmado Viewpoint.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Casa 32 from $470Rio de Janeiro
Intimate 3 suite boutique hotel and neo-classical treasure trove. Previously enjoyed by the likes of Le Corbusier - testament to its splendour. Baroque carvings, murals, and hand painted rococo tiles. A truly magnificent spot in Rio with great facilities.City StyleSwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolLocal markets - Good for local colour.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - I Escape
Fasano 89 rooms from $611Rio de Janeiro
Retro-chic designer hotel on the beach. Minimalist without being stark - rich wooden floors and neutral tones with splashes of beach yellow. Stunning sea views from private balconies and delicious Italian cuisine. A sophisticated beach resort for romantics and families.Honeymoons - The ideal indulgent honeymoon- ocean front suites offer spectacular views and the top-notch restaurants never fail to impress.City Style - Retro inspired contemporary design with epic coastal positioning, knockout spa, wonderful cuisine and suave rooftop pool.Sights nearby - Visit the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Corcovado.Swimming Pool - Stunning pool with sea view.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Kiwi Collection