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Brazil Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Caesar Park
460 Avenida Vieira Souto
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2525 2525
reservas.cprj@caesarpark.com.br
www.caesarpark.com.br

Until the Fasano showed up, this was the only top-tier hotel in Ipanema actually fronting the beach, and it remains to be seen how long it can rest on its location laurels. Compared with its glossy new rival, the Caesar Park seems dull, and it's only just competent enough to justify its sky-high rates. Indeed, you are paying for that golden location—Posto 9, the beach where the young and beautiful spend all day strutting and posing on the sand. (The gay section is also nearby.) Caesar Park is primarily a business brand, however, and though there are tourists here, it's hard not to be self-conscious when you return trailing sand and caipirinha fumes. The buttoned-up front-desk attendants speak good English, service is prompt if not particularly solicitous, and you'll get Wi-Fi in the rooms for about $20 a day (the Copa Palace still makes you plug in for DSL). The 222 rooms are blandly contemporary (be sure to get one that's renovated), but the bathrooms are big and modern by Brazilian standards. If you need a break from the bustle of the beach itself, or need to work on your tan before venturing out, head up to the top floor, with its tiny outdoor pool and bar. Beware the hard sell and surcharges here: $7 for a bottle of water, a club floor that offers only bottled drinks and Nespresso coffee as an upgrade, and bellmen steering you toward "hotel taxis" that charge at least double what a regular metered (and perfectly safe) cab would cost. The bottom line: If the Fasano is booked, the Caesar Park is Ipanema's distant runner-up.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Cama e Café
264 Rua Almirante Alexandrino
Largo dos Guimarães
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2225 4366
reservas@camaecafe.com.br
www.camaecafe.com.br

Literally "bed and breakfast," this is a listing service for dozens of homes that rent out rooms in Santa Teresa, an up-and-coming artists' quarter well away from the Southern Zone's beaches. The area was once very upscale, fell into a rather handsome state of disrepair, and is now gaining a reputation as a bohemian-chic retreat, with quaint, serpentine streets, a rash of artists' ateliers, and imposing—if slightly shabby—architecture. Visitors seeking a full-immersion Rio experience can fill out a questionnaire with Cama e Café beforehand and are then e-mailed a list of properties to choose from; you can also just select from the Web site. Hospitality is very much part of the culture, so don't be surprised if you're invited out for drinks or dancing. Most hosts are artists, musicians, and writers—though if you're good, you can stay with the sisters at the Religiosas da Assunção convent.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Copacabana Palace
1702 Avenida Atlântica
Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2548 7070
Tel: 800 237 1236
reservas@copacabanapalace.com.br
www.copacabanapalace.com.br

Far and away the most famous hotel in the city, the Copa has long relied on the aura and mystique of its glory days, when guests like Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich strutted its halls and the beach outside. (Framed photos of those guests in the halls serve to remind.) Built in 1923, the stucco-fronted neoclassical edifice was modeled on two Côte d'Azur classics—the Negresco in Nice and the InterContinental Carlton in Cannes. But she ain't what she used to be, despite the updated furnishings and blush of glamour Orient-Express brought back when it took over in 1989. The grand old dame finds herself, quite simply, in the wrong neighborhood: There's no mistaking the transvestites who lurk around at night, nor the general state of shabbiness nearby. The 245 rooms are comfortable enough, especially the suites in the main building with their high ceilings, while those in the Tower Wing (built in the 1940s) have better views. Orson Welles would still recognize the decor: Turkish-style rugs, dark wood furniture, heavy drapes. Modernity comes in the form of TVs that rise from cheesy mirror-covered islands in the middle of the room. In short, you won't be wowed, but there simply isn't anything else as grand in the city. The single best feature is still the ground-level pool, situated in an interior courtyard, with views through the windows to the beach on one side and flanked by the restaurant Cipriani on the other. Bathers cannot but feel pretty fabulous, especially when live musicians start playing in the evenings.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel das Cataratas
469 Rodovia Br
Iguaçu National Park
Brazil 85853-000
Tel: 800 837 9051 (toll-free)
Tel: 55 45 2102 7000
reservas@hoteldascataratas.com
www.hoteldascataratas.com/web/ogua/hotel_das_cataratas.jsp

The only hotel within Brazil's 657-square-mile Iguaçú National Park, the 1958-built Das Cataratas was nearly derelict when Orient-Express Hotels took over in 2007, spending the next two years painting the elaborate Portuguese colonial–style building a delicate pink; highlighting the lintels, porticos, and balustrades in brilliant white; and adding two restaurants, a spacious pool, and a new spa. The 193 rooms—stuffed with heavy wooden furniture, florid Portuguese tilework, and repeated subtropical motifs—feel a bit cramped, and the reception desk appears understaffed. What's unbeatable, though, is the location: The hotel's lawns slope down to a splendid lookout over Iguaçú Falls, its sound and fury overpowering. Activities include helicopter and boat tours, and a simple stroll down paths of the park after hours is a privilege afforded only to hotel guests. It's possible to observe night-herons, corzuela deer, and raccoon-like coatis bedding down for the night, before you return to the poolside outdoor restaurant and a feast of grilled tilapia, partridge, and duck ravioli served amid verdant gardens of palm, mango, and tropical apricot.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Fasano
80 Avenida Vieira Souto
Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3202 4000
rio@fasano.com.br
www.fasano.com.br

When the Hotel Fasano opened in 2007, it radically changed Rio's hotel scene, turning some of Brazil's costliest square footage on Ipanema's prized beachfront into a temple to high design. Efficient staff, connected by Secret Service–style throat mikes, seem genuinely dedicated to guests' enjoyment. Strict city zoning codes slashed the hotel's planned footprint, but designer Philippe Starck brought inspired touches (many ultimately realized by owner Rogério Fasano) to the comparatively limited space. Floor-to-ceiling drapes divide the discreet lobby from the hip ground-floor restaurant and languorously plush lounge—the latter scattered with corduroy sofas and vast tables hewn from natural-fall Amazonian pequia trees. Lustrous tropical hardwoods also clad the 91 rooms and suites, their flowing, asymmetrical lines luring the eye outward, where oceanfront balconies command an unparalleled view of Ipanema. The deft design touch extends into traditionally overlooked areas, such as corridors and portals, brightened with imaginative lighting and playful furniture. A crowd of moneyed Brazilians and European media types patronizes the hotel's darkly attractive bar—think aged leather club chairs, cowhide sofas, and walls decorated with gilt-framed Bowie and Clash LPs—all steeped in the aroma of good cigars and ribald fun. But only guests are admitted to the luxurious rooftop pool, where they gaze magisterially down at the public frolicking on the beaches eight floors below.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Fasano
88 Rua Vittorio Fasano
São Paulo
Brazil
Tel: 55 11 3896 4000
www.fasano.com.br

This brick building topped by a giant clock face has Armani, Versace, and Louis Vuitton stores as nearby residents, giving it perfect location and design scores. Inside, the "Mussolini modern decor" draws the local fashion crowd—"sometimes the lobby feels like a country club where everybody knows each other." Rooms have Egyptian cotton linens, and some have panoramic city views. Brazilian-inflected Northern Italian dishes at Restaurante Fasano "live up to their reputation," although "prepare for New York prices." "The staff are well polished."

(60 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Santa Teresa
661 Rua Almirante Alexandrino
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil 20241 260
Tel: 55 21 3380 0200
www.santa-teresa-hotel.com

This formerly derelict colonial mansion on a hilltop in Santa Teresa, a quaint district of imposing architecture and artists' ateliers, has been transformed into one of Rio's most elegant hotels. A magisterial lobby of pink-washed stone with indigenous Brazilian art leads to 44 ample rooms, each sparsely yet artfully decorated with lustrous tropical woods, silk drapes, and sunlight-filtering shutters. Service can veer between overattentive and indifferent, but in the rustic, candlelit restaurant, chef Damien Montecer brings a Gallic touch to African, Asian, and Mediterranean recipes. Guests can observe Santa Teresa's colorful street life through the Mogul-style blinds that shade the spa, or cool off in the 80-foot pool, with its view over Santa Teresa's stately villas to the glittering waters of Guanabara Bay beyond.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
La Suite
501 Rua Jackson de Figueiredo
Joá
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2484 1962
lasuite.rio@gmail.com
www.kiwicollection.com/property/la-suite-inn-rio-de-janeiro

On a good day, the leafy suburb of Joá lies just 20 minutes by cab from Ipanema; given Rio's congested traffic, however, the trip can easily take more than an hour. So forget about commuting to the city: Seven-room guesthouse La Suite, skewered on a headland above a delightful cove at Joátinga beach, is meant as a romantic getaway. The rocky fastness affords it almost 360-degree views of glistening ocean, the sands at São Conrado, and the towering face of 2,800-foot Pedra da Gávea, which rises near vertically from the rugged coastline; even Christ's statue is visible. You'd never guess from La Suite's nondescript entrance, but what lies within is a cathedral of over-the-top design, the kind of place Carmen Miranda might have decorated (actually, it was French owner François-Xavier Dussol and partner Rodrigo Harold, who set up the similarly extravagant La Maison guesthouse in Gávea). In the sitting room, the pièce de résistance, a 24-lamp black-crystal Baccarat chandelier by Philippe Starck, is almost overshadowed by a cornucopia of objets from French Indochina, such as Vietnamese silk-shaded lamps and bronze candlesticks from Thailand. The same theatricality extends to the rooms: Brilliant primary colors are matched by naturally tinted marble in the bathrooms; the floors are lustrous ipê wood. Given La Suite's stunning view and jaw-dropping interior, it's hard to drag yourself away. While breakfast is included, a chef must be called especially to prepare lunch or dinner, so you'll find yourself cabbing to Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca, or São Conrado, as dining options in Joá proper are limited. It's worth eating in just once, though, if only to admire the jungly patio at night, garlanded with white lights, a circle of palms surrounding a diminutive pool (a larger swimming pool sits on the slope below the house), or to dine on the terrace, gazing out at the lights of sultry nighttime Rio.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mama Ruisa
132 Rua Santa Cristina
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2242 1281
jmruis@voila.fr
www.mamaruisa.com

A colonial-style house in the leafy hillside district of Santa Teresa provides the backdrop for Mama Ruisa, a design-minded B&B that offers personalized service, well-crafted interiors, and stunning views of Guanabara Bay. French owner Jean Michel Ruis uses the building's burnished antique floorboards and whitewashed walls to maximize sensations of space. The vast sitting room, for instance, warmed by occasional splashes of vibrant color from heliconia blooms and tropical orchids, swallows six-seater sofas with ease and reduces three-foot-high pottery urns to mere ornaments. Ruis displays his irreverent collection of religious kitsch with relish, adorning the hotel's entrance with a shrine to Santeria, and prominently placing a naively hewn Bahian idol above a battered stucco statue of a saint. The seven rooms resonate with simple elegance, which outweighs occasional lapses, such as uninspired bathrooms and lighting ill-adjusted for reading. Each morning the friendly staff serves a filling breakfast on an iron-fenced balcony, preparing guests for a day's exploration of Santa Teresa's cobbled backstreets. Guests here aren't interested in the beach; afternoons are spent lazing in the delectable garden, where a brace of trees tower over the pool, and the hillside dips abruptly down, providing uninterrupted views across the bay to the hills of Niterói.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Marina All Suites
696 Avenida Delfim Moreira
Leblon
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2172 1100
Fax: 55 21 2172 1110
www.marinaallsuites.com.br/allsuites/

Leblon neighbors Ipanema, and it's a fun, well-off neighborhood bristling with sushi restaurants and upscale coffeehouses. This 38-suite family-owned hotel is located across from the beach and is one of Rio's best bets. A friendly staff, the celeb-magnet restaurant Bar d'Hotel (soccer god Ronaldinho is a regular), and a wide selection of suite options make for an enjoyable stay. The regular suites are fine, with their blond wood, tiled floors, and (often) kitchenettes, but it's the eight high-end suites named for gemstones that bring in the supermodels (Gisele and Naomi prefer the sunny Diamante). Its sister property down the street, Hotel Marina Palace, is a lot less charming, but its alfresco bar, Bar da Praia, makes for a great post-beach caipirinha, and an even better place to watch and meet locals.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Orla Copacabana Hotel
4122 Avenida Atlântica
Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2525 2425
reservas@orlahotel.com.br
www.orlahotel.com.br

If you plan to spend most of your time on the beach or playing at night, rather than inside a hotel, this property on the edge of Copa (closer to Ipanema) is attractive for its access to restaurants and shopping. The 115 boxy rooms aren't exactly no-frills, but they're minimum-frills, with free Internet, refrigerator, and cable TV but very little space. Get a deluxe for the ocean view or risk a vista of a neighboring wall. Extra-nice for the low rates is the mini rooftop resort with its petite pool, sauna, tiny gym, and sun-soaked tables. The restaurant serves a good buffet breakfast and more—but you'll be out the rest of the time.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Portinari Design Hotel
17 Rua Francisco Sá
Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3222 8800
reservas@hotelportinari.com.br
www.hotelportinari.com.br

One of the first hotels in Rio to squeeze into the "designer boutique" bracket—just—the 66-room Portinari is located down a side street in Copacabana. Various Brazilian designers decorated one or two floors each, and the looks vary from minimal modern to pastels and florals: Do some research before requesting a room so you'll know what you're getting. None of it is breaking new design ground, but it's elegant and more imaginative than the competition. We like the second floor, by Gustavo and Sandra Pena, with its strident reds, mellow whites, elegant drapes, and humorous round windows. The Carioca-pride theme is carried over to the lovely rooftop restaurant by designer Chicô Gouveia, with china painted with reproductions by prominent Brazilian artist Cândido Portinari. There's also a little fitness center with a hot tub up there.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites
3150 Avenida Lúcio Costa
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3139 8000
www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1452

Shaped like a pair of gigantic white tubular pinecones, this Sheraton opened in 2003 and has major pros—and cons. Barra is the fastest-growing neighborhood in the city, with vast malls (one has its own monorail), condo complexes, and theme parks, and it's where much of Rio's new money has settled. But it's a major schlep into Leblon and Ipanema, costing a bundle in cab fare (there's no metro). On the bright side, the endless beach (ten miles long) is fine and pristine, and you're right on it. (You'll see many surfers and kite surfers here.) Also, each bulge of the "pinecone" represents an ocean-view balcony—all 292 rooms have them. And the rooms are big and quite glam in a corporate way, with their beige and rust palette, curvy built-in wooden furniture, and super-connectivity (something you can't take for granted in Rio). The pools are great, the gym is bigger than average, and there's even a squash court. Finally, the rates are super-low for the quality, especially for travelers with Starwood points to spend. Another Sheraton property, the Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort, actually sits on the sand and is closer to Leblon and Ipanema. The small beach is a pleasure, but its setting, below a favela—or shantytown—is iffy.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Sofitel Rio de Janeiro
4240 Avenida Atlântica
Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2525 1232
reservas.sofitelrio@sofitel.com
www.sofitel.com/sofitel/fichehotel/gb/sof/1988/fiche_hotel.shtml

Once the pride of Copacabana, the former Rio Palace Hotel has had its ups and downs since Frank Sinatra headlined its opening-night party in 1979. After a decade in the doldrums, its fortunes changed when the Sofitel chain took it over in 1996, investing heavily to reposition the aging oceanfront property as Copa's premier hotel for tourists and business visitors alike. Bizarrely, city ordinances prohibit change to the building's dispiritingly dated exterior, whose gray-green facade dominates the southernmost stretch of Copacabana's beach. Within, however, Sofitel has introduced tasteful art and occasional design flourishes, while the 388 ample rooms, each with private balcony, are scented with lemon and verbena, washed in autumn tones, and decorated with handsome, well-made furniture. Glass paneling between shower and bedroom lets natural light flood the normally cryptlike bathrooms. Guests can maximize their UV quotient by shuttling between the hotel's two swimming pools, work out in the well-equipped health club, or cool off in the frothing surf, just yards away, where a Sofitel tent brings five-star service to the sands. It's a solid beachside luxury choice, less scene-y than the Fasano, less corporate than the Caesar Park. By night, much-feted French chef Roland Villard prepares lobster, sea bass, and Amazonian tambaqui fish, served to a sophisticated public in the sensuously silk-draped in-house restaurant, Le Pré Catelan.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Tivoli São Paulo–Mofarrej
1427 Alameda Santos
Cerqueira César
São Paulo
Brazil 01419 001
Tel: 55 11 3146 5900
reservas.htsp@tivolihotels.com
www.tivolihotels.com/hotels-portugal/destination/spaulo/hotel_tivoli_sao_paulo_mofarrej_brazil/list.aspx

Location, location… and now luxury. The Portuguese chain Tivoli overhauled this 220-room concrete business hotel one block from São Paulo's main drag (Avenida Paulista), two blocks from its best museum (the MASP), and in its top restaurant area (Jardins), finally giving the perfect address the swank it deserves. The glass-enclosed lobby is surrounded by vegetation that makes it feel more tropical retreat than big-city high-rise. Tucked beyond the slick Narã Bar and Lounge is a cozy pool area with a multitude of lounging options among the cushiony daybeds, beach chairs, and chaise longues. The orange-tiled pool itself is oddly overheated but perfect for admiring over a complimentary caipirinha. (Order the tangerine version with pouco açucar—lightly sweetened.) Earth-tone rooms are spacious if utilitarian, though a Nespresso machine and Brazilian-themed turndown service (Havaianas flip-flops and a treat like a chocolate-honey pão de mel) add a homey touch. Catalan chef Sergi Arola's first restaurant outside Spain, Arola Vintetres, has a high-end tapas menu; the twenty-third-floor restaurant is already a hot spot with Paulistas. Overall, service is extremely considerate if occasionally flawed: Dial "3" for everything becomes dial "3" for nothing if no one answers, as happened twice to our reviewer. But as long as someone picks up the phone, requests are fulfilled with speed and flair.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Unique Garden Hotel & Spa
Estrada Laramara
Serra da Cantareira
Brazil
Tel: 55 11 44868700
www.uniquegarden.com.br

This estate 35 miles outside São Paulo is truly one-of-a-kind. The 25 accommodations—some gingerbread-style, others dramatically modern villas (all plushly done, albeit with a peculiar fusion of English country house style and Brazilian fazenda, or farmhouse, design)—are set amid hilly acres of lush gardens that are in bloom year-round. Staff treat guests with the attention usually reserved for longtime friends, and the place has a tranquil feel. On-premise organic plantations supply the produce for the restaurant's menu. Among the spa's novelties are six-hand massages and treatment kiosks scattered throughout the grounds. 

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Uxua Casa Hotel
Quadrado
Trancoso
Brazil
Tel: 55 73 3668 2277
info@uxua.com
www.uxuacasahotel.com

Every summer, Brazil's fashion and finance sets steal away to Trancoso, a colonial village on the Bahían coast (imagine the Hamptons in vivid colors). Those who don't already have their own fabulous digs in the area more than make do at Uxua Casa Hotel, built by Dutchman Wilbert Das, the former creative director of fashion label Diesel. With just nine guest quarters scattered around a lantern-lit garden, this posada tucked discreetly off the main square makes high style of rusticity. Casitas have thatched roofs, cement floors, king-size beds with fine linens, and a catalog's worth of vintage furniture and Bahían folk art. Sumptuous bathrooms incorporate reclaimed tree trunks. At the beach, a five-minute stroll away, the hotel runs a lively bar and lounge, where locally crafted daybeds front a gorgeous strand. Staff may be snooty or sweet, depending on who's on duty, but with luck you'll run into barman Morgan Biagio, who makes a mean passion fruit caipirinha. One tip: Don't miss the breakfast banquet, which should keep you satiated well past lunch.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Corcovado
60 Rua Erere
Cosme Velho
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil 22241-130
Tel: 55 21 3511 5381
info@villacorcovadorio.com
villacorcovadorio.com

Restored by an Anglo-Brazilian couple, this colonial-style mansion in Cosme Velho (from which a funicular ascends to Christ's statue atop Mount Corcovado) straddles four acres of private jungle on the edge of Tijuca National Park, alive with the whistles and croaks of tropical birdsong. Its fortress-thick walls, washed in brilliant white and roofed with terra-cotta tiles, rise with the land's contours, opening to a warren of reception rooms, terraces, verandas, and sun-filled nooks. (The house even has a disco, complete with pulsating ceiling lights and restored seventies neon.) The three spacious, light-filled rooms are simply accessorized: a single statue, woven basket, or tribal mask augments the handcrafted sideboards, benches, and tables. The solicitous hosts prepare breakfasts laden with tropical fruit, mix caipirinhas, and even provide emergency toiletries for those arriving luggage-less. At the mansion's palm-ringed pool, guests can gaze up at Christ through the boughs of the flamboyant and jackfruit trees.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.