Concierge.com's insider take:
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.
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