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Rio de Janeiro hotels

For years, hotels in Rio de Janeiro abided by one immutable rule—that tourists cared more about location than quality. The result was a slew of dingy towers along the beach in Copacabana and Ipanema that offered few amenities and indifferent service. The dinosaurs still predominate, but happily, they no longer represent a monopoly. The most feted breakthrough came with the unveiling of the Hotel Fasano, which set a new standard for upscale, design-minded hotels in Rio. There have been other encouraging signs: Urban regeneration programs have turned once-neglected Botafogo into an up-and-coming backpacker enclave, and leafy Gávea and Cosme Velho are now home to a number of boutique hotels. In artists' quarter Santa Teresa, meanwhile, half a dozen mansions, most with verdant gardens and unparalleled views of the Sugarloaf, Mount Corcovado, and Guanabara Bay, now operate as style-minded hotels or B&Bs for those who don't care about being oceanside. One or two guesthouses have even opened in Rio's infamous favela slums. For sure, Rio's hotel scene remains in transition, and it's likely to take several more years before the city wholly sheds its reputation for poor value, but the trends are encouraging.

A note of warning: All hotels in Rio, and the rest of the country, double or even triple their rates over Carnaval and New Year's; most also insist on multiday minimum stays. You might find better deals by looking for vacation packages that bundle hotels with airfare. Apartment rentals are also an excellent and surprisingly affordable option, any time of year: Try Rio Flat Rental or Rio Apartments. Regardless, if you visit over these peak periods, be aware that lodging is likely to be your chief expense.

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Hotel Photo
Sheraton Barra Hotel & Suites, Barra da Tijuca

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...more

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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Sofitel Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana

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...more

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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

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)...more

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

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