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Rio de Janeiro
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About Rio de Janeiro
Dramatic, teeming with life 24/7, Rio de Janeiro perches between ocean and jungle, and is both a great one-stop destination as well as 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 hangouts, 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 really is 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, 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, plus the dense rainforests are just a short journey from the centre of the city.
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.
Where To Stay
- Botafogo is the best place for those who want to take advantage of the city's bustling nightlife.
- If you're here for the museums and culture then staying in Lapa is probably your best bet.
- Those visiting for business should try and find a room in Centro, or as close to as possible.
- But if you fancy spending your days on the beach then Copacabana's the place to be.
What Not To Miss
- Cristo Redentor (aka Christ the Redeemer) is one of Rio's most famous inhabitants, standing atop Corcovado, arms outstretched, looking out over the whole city. You can take 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 - filled with a beautiful display of tropical plants and trees.
- The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), set in a glorious Art Deco building, houses a wide variety of cultural exhibits as well as three theatres, libraries and a cinema. A great place to pass by for a few hours.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro are ideally located if you're looking for art, history or culture, which you'll find everywhere - from street art to the formal museums. The same goes for architecture. But remember to book them well ahead especially if you plan to visit for the Carnival.
- Right on Ipanema Beach, Fasano is a Philippe Starck-designed retro-chic paradise, with fifties and sixties furniture, and spacious airy bedrooms - many with two double beds placed to maximise ocean views. The staff even wear vintage uniforms! What's more, 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 is the ultimate, but the verandah rooms are also excellent, and the restaurant serves acclaimed Brazilian-French gastronomy by French chef Damien Montecer.
- Y002 is a super-trendy design spot, featuring stylish contemporary rooms with plenty of glass and muted tones. You'll love the magnificent views on offer, whilst you can als tuck into splendid Brazilian cuisine at the restaurant
The Best Boutique B&Bs and Guesthouses
- La Maison is in Alto Gavea, somewhat off the beaten track, and surrounded by lush hillsides, yet onlly only 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, and fruit trees providing your breakfast fruit. There's wifi, but no television, whilst the English-speaking owners know and love Rio, and are happy to share with you their knowledge and tips.
- Casa Amarelo is a French designed guesthouse in the heart of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood. Offering simple yet elegant individually designed rooms, you can come back after a day out sightseeing to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool.
- The 8 room Les Jardins De Rio is a contemporary spot, with smart suites in white, located just a short distance outside the centre of town. What's more, it's adults only and there's a lovely pool to relax by - perfect for a romantic city break.
- Guesthouse Maria Santa Teresa is a quirky intimate property, with 6 colourful and charming rooms as well as a rooftop terrace. Unwind in the pool, the bar or the cigar room, whilst there's also evening entertainment put on for the guests each night.
- Casa 32 is an intimate 3 suite boutique stay brimming with neoclassical features - think baroque carvings, murals and rococo tiles. There's a lovely outdoor pool whilst breakfast, lunch and dinner are also available upon request.
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 Villa enjoys a dreamy location in the hills overlooking Rio. Featuring stylish contemporary rooms and balconies boasting splendid views all around, you won't believe the price - with accommodation from just £48 per night!
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.
- Nestled in the hills above Copacabana, just a short distance from the coast, Casa Mosquito is an intimate boutique house cum hotel. Boasting 9 comfortable Franco-Brazilian rooms with private balconies, there's top-notch food served up and even an in-house masseuse!
- Just 5 minutes away from Ipanema Beach, Ipanema Inn is a stylish contemporary spot with minimalist rooms in muted tones. Located in the centre of town, you can head off sightseeing in the morning before hitting the beach in the afternoon.
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.
- Altos de Santa Teresa is a top spot for a romantic trip away. With smart, spacious suites and a pool offering views overlooking Rio's dramatic cityscape, it's truly delightful.
- Nestled in the hills overlooking Rio, Casa Marques Santa Teresa boasts 6 swish contemporary rooms with gorgeous views. Ideally situated to make the most out of both the city and its natural surroundings, you can come back after a long day to relax in the pool or treat yourself to a massage.
- Tuakaza is an utterly spectacular hideaway, in a secluded setting and boasting stunning views. With 6 charming rooms as well as an infinity pool, you'll fall in love with the place.
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.
- Set in the quiet hills of Santa Teresa, Quinta Azul is a good value boutique pousada. The house itself is over 120 years old, with thirteen comfortable rooms, and is close to restaurants, galleries and just ten minutes from the beach. Room rates start from £87 per night.
For An Apartment Or Villa
- If you've decided that you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with out partner, Booking.com.
- Rio is never exactly chilly, but if you want the best weather then visit from December to March - with the average daily temperature around 25-27°C and the sea also being wonderfully warm.
- For a quieter and cheaper visit, plan to come in spring or autumn. The weather is still lovely but not overly hot, and you can be assured that the streets and beaches will be far less overcrowded than at other times of the year.
- International visitors can fly into Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, located 12 miles north of the city centre. British Airways fly direct from Heathrow, with the journey time around 11hrs30.
- From the airport, take the bus into the centre of town.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
The Villa 11 rooms from $62Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
Excellent hotel in the hill-towns of Rio, overlooking the city and the Atlantic. The hotel's highlights include stylish rooms, a rooftop pool and stunning views of the Corcovado Christ Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay. Superb value for money.Local exploring - Just a short way from the centre of Rio, it's perfect for exploring the historic city.Value chic - Stylish accommodation at a very reasonable price.Surfing - The beaches surrounding Rio are hotspots for surfing.Sights nearby - Less than two miles from Christ the Redeemer.
TuAkAzA 6 rooms from $393Rio de Janeiro
A charming hideaway in a lush secluded setting. Just six rooms boast spectacular views from the floor to ceiling windows and private terraces. Unwind next to the infinity pool or with a drink in the cosy lounge. The ideal spot for those looking for some tranquility amidst the bustling city.Hideaway - A tranquil abode in a quiet corner of Rio.Sights nearby - Make the iconic trip up to Christ the Redeemer and enjoy the spectacular view.Great walks - Take a walk through the tropical Jardim Botanico.Views - Great views from hotel
Santa Teresa 40 rooms from $354Rio 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
Altos de Santa Teresa 8 rooms from $97Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
Casting its eye over the dramatic cityscape of Rio, Altos de Santa Teresa is a delightful hotel. It's suites are smartly adorned with stylish furnishing and tasteful artwork. Relax in the pool and absorb in the breathtaking views over the city. Perfectly suited to couples visiting Rio.Romantic Break - It's stunning situation overlooking Rio adds to the aura of the place, making it a great spot for a romantic break.Local exploring - Perfect launchpad for exploring the historic city of Rio.Sights nearby - Just over a mile from the statue of Christ the Redeemer.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Fasano 89 rooms from $650Rio 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
Yoo2 143 rooms from $123Rio de Janeiro
A trendy design hotel boasting spectacular views from the rooftop pool. Rooms are contemporary through and through with sleek fixtures, plenty of glass and indulgent bathrooms. Feast on Brazilian cuisine in the restaurant and sip on superb cocktails in the hip bar. A stylish choice.City Style - Contemporary cool complete with rooftop pool, chic bar and excellent restaurant.Sights nearby - Marvel at the magnificent 18th century San Clemente Palace.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool.Views - Great views from hotel
Casa Beleza 5 rooms from $91Rio 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
Mama Ruisa 7 rooms from $184Rio 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
Casa 32 from $514Rio 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
Copacabana Palace Hotel 241 rooms from $461Rio 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
Rio Atlantica 247 rooms from $229Rio 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 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
Casa Cool Beans 10 rooms from $90Rio 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
Guesthouse Maria Santa Teresa 6 rooms from $159Rio 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.
Quinta Azul 13 rooms from $113Rio 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!
Casa Amarelo 7 rooms from $130Rio de Janeiro (Santa Teresa)
Charming French designed guesthouse nestled into the heart of Rio's historic Santa Tereza district. The individually designed rooms are characterful with simple, elegant furnishings. After a day exploring the city, relax by the pool and take in the views out over Rio.Sights nearby - Walk to nearby sights such as Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro and Passeio Público.Local markets - Explore the bustling markets and streets of Santa Tereza.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolTraditional
Casa Marques Santa Teresa 6 rooms from $179Rio de Janeiro (3780 Casa 01)
Casa Marques Santa Teresa enjoys a hilltop location overlooking Rio de Janeiro. It features smart and contemporary accommodation with views. Completely unwind in this peaceful spot.Sights nearby - Rio's legendary Christ the Redeemer statue is just over a mile away-an absolute must visit!Great walks - Go trekking all over the Corcovado mountain and enjoy some breathtaking views of the cityViews - Great views from hotelSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet
Ipanema Inn 56 rooms from $131Rio de Janeiro (Ipanema)
Contemporary and chic, Ipanema Inn reflects the modern sophistication of Rio de Janeiro. The minimalist rooms feature comfortable furnishings and muted tones. Right in the heart of the city, it's perfect for exploring Rio. In the evening relax at the bar with an exotic caipirinhas.Local markets - On the first Saturday of every month there is a gt market on Lavradio Street in Rio.Sights nearby - Explore the deactivated aquaduct of Lapa.Surfing - Five minutes walk from Ipanema Beach.Lively area - In the thick of the action.
Casa Mosquito 9 rooms from $182Rio 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
La Suite by Dussol 7 rooms from $305Rio 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
Castelinho38 12 rooms from $72Rio 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
Les Jardins de Rio 8 rooms from $169Rio de Janeiro (Cosme Velho)
Smart, modern boutique hotel just a short way out of the centre of Rio. The rooms are comfortable and appointed with modern furnishings. A great launchpad for exploring the city with a pool to retreat to if guests need a break.Views - Incredible views over Guanabara Bay and Christ the Redeemer from the rooftop terrace.Local exploring - Perfect for exploring the sights and sounds of Rio.Surfing - Some of the nearby Rio beaches are great for surfing.Sights nearby - Ten minutes walk from the Church São Judas Tadeu.
Ipanema Penthouse 3 rooms from $451Rio 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