PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

Rio de Janeiro 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.

$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.

$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
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.