Rio de Janeiro, with its renowned Carnaval, football, gorgeous beaches, and attractive inhabitants, stands as Brazil's top tourist destination.
While it is only a gateway to Brazil's vast beauty and cultural diversity, it is a must-visit destination if you are traveling to South America’s largest country.
Being born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, I have an inherent attachment to the city that is difficult to put into words. The vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and lively atmosphere all contribute to my personal LOVE for Rio ❤️
Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, Rio is a naturally beautiful city. Long sandy beaches are lined by promenades that host vibrant bars, fine restaurants, and boutique shopping experiences.
The mountains are home to a wide array of hiking trails, and the peaks offer incredible views over the city below. While the center of Rio can feel like a bit of a concrete jungle, even the brightly colored favelas have their own distinct beauty.
Play beach football and volleyball on the sand or surf the waves during the day, and enjoy vibrant Samba and dancing at night. Rio de Janeiro is home to some of Brazil’s most famous and best loved attractions.
If staying at great hotels is important for you... and you want the best Places to stay in Rio
de Janeiro, this is for you.
You will find here my top ideas for a PERFECT accommodation FOR YOUR in Rio.
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Places to Stay Rio de Janeiro
Let me ask you 2 questions:
Have you ever gone on one of those "group" trips where you are locked into other people's schedules?
Have you felt like accommodation was just another boring chain hotel you could find anywhere else? Yes, an Impersonal and Predictable hotel.
I have. And I hate it.
Choosing your Lodging for your trip is more than just choosing a place to stay.
An excellent hotel (and the right hotel for you!) allows you to travel more authentically, visit unique spots, and dig a little deeper into each place;
Finding the best places to stay for you is a very important part of our job ( and honestly, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this part of our job!)
I know that finding great accommodations can be challenging, but I have some wonderful options for you in Rio de Janerio that I'm eager to share.
So, let's dive in.
Best neighborhoods to Stay in rio de janeiro
The best places if you are visiting Rio de Janeiro are located on the avenues that run parallel to Copacabana, Ipanema beaches.
Not only can you leave everything at the hotel and pop down to the famous beaches to soak up the atmosphere, but you are within walking distance of the best bars, restaurants, and shopping. Plus, you can expect views of the ocean with the Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background.
From here, you also have easy access to important sites such as the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Lapa, which are just a short taxi ride away. The area is also well connected for public transportation as you are never far from a metro station.
Most of the city’s best hotels have established themselves along these stretches of beach, so this is where you will find spacious luxury accommodation with helpful English-speaking staff. Rooftop pools, Michelin star restaurants, and award-winning spas are all available in the area. Free wi-fi with decent speeds and air-conditioning are standard features.
MY TOP PICKS FOR Rio de Janeiro
Just a couple of things that I want to mention before listing our selection of best places to stay in Rio de Janerio.
First, Rio has plenty of excellent hotels, so you can almost always find a desirable room. But if you want the BEST hotels, book in advance.
Many locals and visitors from nearby Sao Paulo book rooms in the best hotels on the weekends to take advantage of their facilities. Consequently, it is a good idea to book well in advance when traveling to Rio. If you are traveling during Revelion, the Brazilian new year, or Rio Carnaval in February, book as far in advance as possible ( 8 - 1 year in advance!)
Second, I think it's important to mention that this list of places to stay in Rio de Janeiro ( as it is with our Guide About the best resorts in Argentina or Chile ) is based on Maria's and my personal preferences and not on a ranking (or an Affiliate program) -We or someone from our team have personally visited them and love them!
That’s why they are on this list.
If staying at great lodges is important for you... and you want the best Places to stay in Rio de Janeiro, these are my top suggestions.
Belmond Copacabana Palace
Brazil's iconic palace overlooking Copacabana Beach
The Belmond Copacabana Palace is probably the most iconic luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro, located directly opposite the famous Copacabana beach. It is one of the most glamorous hotels in the city, known for hosting parties for Rio’s wealthy elite and international celebrities.
I really LOVE this hotel ❤️
The Copacabana Palace is more than just a hotel, it's actually a really important part of Brazil's history and culture.
It is a place of political and artistic meetings, which has welcomed celebrities from around the world -but with a very Brazilian charm and glamour.
History & Culture in Brazil's iconic palace
This is a special year for the hotel as it is celebrating 100 years welcoming stars, presidents, and royalty.
Designed by French architect Joseph Gire to emulate the grand 19th century hotels of the French Riviera, the Copacabana Palace opened in 1923 and has been a favorite of glamorous guests to Rio ever since.
The Belmond Copacabana Palace gained international recognition as one of Rio’s cultural centers when it inspired the “Atlantic Hotel” in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Flying Down to Rio in 1933. Since then, it has boasted many international celebrities among its clientele including Orsen Welles, Brigitte Bardot, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Pavaroti.
The hotel’s reputation as one of the most famous party destinations in Rio was sealed with the opening of the Golden Room in 1938, with performances from stars including Ella Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, and Nat King Cole. The Belmond Carnaval Ball is still considered one of the hottest parties of the year.
The Copacabana Palace was fully refurbished in the 1990s, making the rooms modern and comfortable without losing the hotel’s early 20th-century charm.
You can choose between king-size bedrooms with ocean or city views, beach facing suites with their own living room and balcony, or penthouses with semi-private swimming pools and a dedicated butler service.
The 147 rooms are built around an enormous ground-floor outdoor pool, one of the hotel’s hotspots for sophisticated social events. There is a tennis court on the third-floor roof, a modern fitness center with a sauna, and an excellent spa. Among their most popular treatments is a 100-minute couples massage. Finally, there is the Copacabana Palace Theater, which is currently hosting a musical dedicated to the 100-year history of the hotel.
The hotel staff are polite and all speak excellent English. The concierge service is happy to help with anything travelers need, including booking trips to important Rio attractions such as Cristo Redentor and the Botanical Gardens.
Indulge the foodie in you.
As you know, food is always part of the experience for me when I travel.
And Copacabana Palace is THE PLACE to stay if you are a foodie. - Or at least the place to pamper yourself with a Luxurious dinner!
There are three good restaurants within the hotel, and guests tend to dress up to dine in.
The Michelin-star MEE restaurant serves pan-Asian cuisine, including spicy Malaysian curries and fresh sushi.
Cipriano serves classic Italian dishes and indulgent cocktails.
Pérgula works with both western and classic Brazilian gastronomy and is where the hotel serves their extravagant daily champagne breakfast.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The hotel is located right in the middle of busy Copacabana, where you will find everything that Rio has to offer, from tiny bars frequented by locals to classy champagne houses. This is also where you will find some of the city’s best shopping malls.
You have direct and easy access to Rio’s most famous beach, and the hotel provides sun chairs. They will also deliver fruit and coconut water to guests relaxing on the beach.
Other important Rio sights such as the Sugar Loaf Mountain, bossa nova bars, and Ipanema beach are just a short taxi ride away.
Boutique, Classy, Unique
"Clara, I appreciate the grandeur of this hotel, but I am inclined towards a more cozy and intimate accommodation for my visit to Rio."
Are you thinking like this?
Ok, I got it.
Then, Emiliano in Rio is for you.
The Emiliano is a small luxury hotel in Sao Paulo that recently opened a new branch at the southern tip of Rio’s Copacabana.
The boutique hotel is forward-looking and innovative in its design and prioritizes keeping guests close to nature.
Spectacular natural beauty is one of the main reasons you visit Brazil, isn't it?
Stay Close to Nature. It's natural design.
The Emiliano stands out when you walk around Rio’s concrete jungle for its striking design.
Wherever you are in the hotel, you feel like you are close to Rio’s natural beauty.
Whether you are in your ocean view suite, sipping a cocktail and admiring the city from the rooftop pool, dining in the jungle restaurant, or working out in the compact but well-equipped gym with widescreen views out over the Atlantic Ocean.
The entire front of the building is covered in intricately designed, organic-looking panels that control the amount of natural sunlight entering the hotel. The windows in many of the suites are adjustable in the same way.
The hotel boasts 90 suites and apartments. Each room is individually decorated but in a consistent organic style. Expect rough-hewn marble walls covered in woven fabrics and lots of natural wood furniture and features. The suites have ensuite bedrooms with grand bathrooms and large living spaces. Some of the larger suites even have a small kitchen.
Important to mention about the suites: If you stay at Emiliano, ask for a suite with views of Pāo de Açúcar and Copacabana Beach, they are significantly better than the other!
The Rooftop Pool & Restaurant
The rooftop pool & restaurant is a big reason to stay here.
Among the most standout features of the Emiliano’s design are the L-shaped rooftop swimming pool that forms a tropical refuge from the busy street below and the living tropical wall in the hotel restaurant.
You will feel like you are dining in a rainforest!
The restaurant serves classic French cuisine made using fresh local ingredients designed by Chef Camilo Vanazzi. Expect decadent seafood alongside classic filé mignon. The Wellness Breakfast is much lighter, consisting of fresh fruit platters and detoxifying juices, though a full continental breakfast is also available.
Again, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The Emiliano is at the southern tip of the Copacabana overlooking the historic military fort. The beaches are a little quieter here than in the center of Copacabana, and the hotel offers sun chairs and beach service.
In the hotel you can rely on the on-call butler for everything from room service to travel bookings.
Good to know: This is a medium-sized hotel, BUT runs a large staff suitable for a grand hotel so that there is always expertise and capacity on hand. The whole team speaks excellent English.
The hotel does cater more to professionals and couples, but families will also feel comfortable here. It is possible to book adjoining apartments.
If you're someone who loves exploring the natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro, then the Emiliano Hotel is the perfect place for you to stay.
Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
A Luxury Resort in Rio
If you love the type of "Resort" hotel, this is the hotel for you.
The Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is perfectly placed if you want to enjoy both Copacabana and Ipanema beaches on your doorstep and you want to stay in a Resort in Rio.
This 1950s style luxury accommodation also boasts spectacular views of the Sugar Loaf mountain from its spacious rooms and high-end facilities.
The Fairmont offers ten different categories of accommodation, totalling 375 rooms and 53 suites. All rooms are spacious, with the largest covering a generous 2,000 square feet, and are decorated in blue tones inspired by the sea.
I highly recommend upgrading to gold when you stay, you won’t be disappointed.
The Gold lounge provides a hotel within a hotel.
If you book a suite on the Golden Floor, you can expect a grand private lounge, large spacious balcony, and a variety of other exclusive services. These include private check-in and check-out and access to the Golden Lounge for breakfast and happy hour drinks.
The concierge service for all guests is superb. The helpful multilingual staff can organize exclusive experiences, book tables at the best restaurants in town, and go above and beyond with things such as a babysitting service. You can also bring your fur baby to the Fairmont.
The Fairmont offers superb facilities to all their guests whether they want to sweat it out, relax by the pool, or sample the best local cuisine.
The hotel has a modern fitness center that is complemented by the Fairmont Spa, which offers a range of facial and body treatments, relaxing messages, and both dry and steam saunas. The spa makes its own signature products from natural ingredients found in the Amazon rainforest.
The Fairmont has two swimming pools, including a rooftop infinity pool with spectacular views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain. The hotel also offers beach service for both Copacabana Beach and Arpoador and Diabo beaches in Ipanema.
THE FOOD, for foodies.
There are several dining options onsite. The largest is Marine Resto, with an open kitchen where you can see the chefs preparing fresh seafood and grilling premium meat in a josper charcoal oven. The Spirit Copa Bar delivers wonderful tapas and also personalized cocktails. Coa & Co Cafe is all about the brown stuff and there are scores of different local beans to choose from. The Tropik beach club delivers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and live music.
Between Ipanema and Copacabana Beach
The Fairmont Rio De Janeiro Copacabana is a superb 5-star hotel, which sits at the point where Copacabana and Ipanema beaches meet. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy all Rio’s best beaches on your doorstep. Once you check-in, the only thing you need to worry about is enjoying yourself thanks to the hotel’s comprehensive services.
Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro
Big attention to details
If you are looking for modern luxury and style, plus discreet staff that will anticipate your every need, will enjoy Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro. Located where Aproador meets Ipanema beach, it is ideally located for enjoying the pleasures of Rio’s affluent South Zone.
Italian immigrant Vittorio Fasano arrived in Brazil in 1902 and opened a brasserie in Sao Paulo, which quickly became the talk of the town. This was the start of a family dynasty that saw the Fasano name dominating stylish eating in Sao Paulo. Fasano Confectionary in Barao became a byword for high society tea in the 1930s.
In 2007, the family acquired their hotel building designed by French architect Philippe Starck. They combined the Frenchman’s signature style with their own Italio-Brazilian sophistication to create something that is effortlessly cool and elegant.
Today the Fasano empire had nine hotels and 26 restaurants.
The rooms at Fasano are very comfortable with huge beds, designer Sergio Rodrigues chairs, and spacious contemporary bathrooms. But guests will book mainly for the location and the services. Wealthy locals will often book rooms on the weekend just to relax by the rooftop pool and take advantage of the concierge service.
During the day and at sunset, the place to be is the rooftop pool and bar. The infinity pool tips into the ocean below and the bar serves sandwiches and cocktails. If you prefer to venture out for a few hours, the hotel provides bikes, surfboards, and beach service.
If you prefer to stay in, book a treatment at Spa Fasano. In addition to the expected spa treatments, Fasano also offers special treatments such as Reiki and ritual Chandra massages. The spa has a fitness center, sauna, and a beauty parlor if you want to prepare for a night on the town.
The restaurant, which is frequented by local business people and couples as well as guests, is known for its fresh and adventurous seafood and fine Italian dining. The Baretto Londra bar features dark leather armchairs and an old boys club feel with DJs and live music on the weekends.
Fasano starts with one of the best locations in the city, on some of the most expensive real estate in South America, but is elevated by carefully designed experiences.
Don’t expect the exuberant welcome that Brazil is known for. Instead, the staff are intent on anticipating what you need while being as discreet as possible. You will never wait for a drink, but you also won’t be distracted by overly friendly staff. This is why the hotel is popular with the likes of the Beckhams and Beyonce.
Chic in Leblon neighbourhood
The Janeiro hotel opened in 2018 and is the latest project of Brazilian lifestyle entrepreneur Oskar Mestavaht. It is supremely chic and manages to balance urban comfort with a closeness to nature. This is why the hotel has already received Wallpaper’s Best Urban Hotel award and a Tatler award.
Janeiro is located a bit further away from the crowds of Copacabana and Ipanema, in upmarket Leblon, one of the best neighborhoods in the city. Here the beaches are less crowded but equally beautiful and there are more sophisticated bars and restaurants. To visit Ipanema, grab a bike from the hotel as safe bike paths cover the distance.
The hotel exudes a futuristic 1970s design that is more enticing than it sounds. There are 18 floors, each of which only has five rooms. Every room has at least partial ocean views, and some also offer amazing views of Cristo Redentor.
Room design takes advantage of natural light and provides blackout windows. The large bedrooms feature furniture made from sustainable Freigo wood, and the adjoining bathroom and dressing room keeps the living area clean. Yoga mats and blocks are provided in every room as standard.
Janeiro has several dining options onsite, all inspired by the local flavors of Rio and the healthy Rio lifestyle. Enjoy a breakfast of fresh fruits and proteins in the Janeiro restaurant, which also manages room service catering and special events.
The Cedilha restaurant is on the ground floor and open to the public. It is a bright and airy place for brunch or lunch, and a twilight lit haven for evening dining and drinks. Expect fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients from local small vendors, plus plenty of Brazilian flavor. Omakase offers a Japanese taster menu.
The rooftop of the hotel features a plunge pool, deck, and both outdoor and indoor bar. It is the perfect place to spend the late afternoon and early evening.
Experimental and Stylish
Janeiro has been developed by one of Brazil’s most creative minds in fashion, and he has brought the same obsessive attention to detail, style, and aesthetics to this endeavor as he has his clothing lines.
While the rooms aren’t big, they are designed to feel zen and close to nature. The hotel offers maximum comfort and service while you explore the wonders of Rio. Find out more.
Planning Your Rio de Janeiro Getaway
Rio de Janeiro is a colorful and crowded introduction to Brazilian life and culture. On the streets of the city you will encounter Samba, Capoeira, Pagode, Bossa Nova, Funk and a vibrant urban culture that seems comfortable in its beautiful surroundings.
But the best areas along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches have a nostalgic glamor and sophistication that set them apart from the rest of the city. Couples dress up for dinner and champagne houses are more popular than super clubs. This makes it a great location for couples and travelers who want to experience the authentic beauty of Rio de Janeiro while also being able to escape some of its intensity.
My don't miss places in RIO DE Janeiro
OK, you probably have now decided where you want to stay on your trip to Rio de Janerio.
(Or no but I hope you habe some idea, at least!)
Now, let's talk about what you can't miss.
If you are visiting Rio de Janeiro, don’t miss…
Rio’s beautiful beaches are famous for their white sand, warm blue waters, and the attractive people in tiny swimsuits who enjoy spending the day in the sun. Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach are the two most famous stretches of sand in Rio. They are also magnets for the best bars, restaurants, and commercial establishments.
For more relaxed beaches and greenery, head to Barra da Tijuca, which has 14 kilometers of beach. Located in the west zone, this is one of the best surf spots in the city.
Probably the most iconic monument associated with Rio is Christ the Redeemer, a Swedish soapstone art deco statue that stands 98 feet tall. It is located on Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park and is an essential photo stop for first-time visitors.
SugarLoaf Mountain is a 296 meter peak rising out of the mouth of Guanabara Bay and is one of several monolithic mountains that dominate Rio’s skyline. Take the glass cable car that runs between the peaks of Pao de Acucar and Morro da Urca for panoramic views.
SAMBA IN LAPA
In the city center, Lapa is known as the party heart of Rio with bohemian bars and hidden underground clubs. There are many tourist attractions in the area including the Roman-style Arcos da Lapa, the sprawling Passeio Publico park, and the futuristic and forward looking Museu do Amanha. It is also not far from Vila Santa Teresa, a romantic hilltop suburb that feels like a rural village.
Ilha de Paquetá is a car-free picturesque island located in the middle of Guanabara Bay and one of the best things to do in Rio. Forget the crowded city and enjoy quiet beaches, colonial architecture, and the large and distinctive African baobab trees that grow here.
Rio has a large and impressive Jardim Botânico that covers 137 acres in the center of the city. It is home to more than 8,000 different plant species including unique specimens from the Amazon rainforest. It is also a great place to meet some of Brazil’s community of pocket monkeys.
The colorful Escadaria Selaron may be the most photographed spot in all of Rio, with 250 steps taking you through an ocean of stunning mosaics that pay tribute to the people of Brazil.
Your Dream Trip to Rio de Janerio
Could you imagine this:
Traveling to South America’s hidden corners, creating your unique Itinerary, experiencing the best food, enjoying authentic experiences, and pampering yourself with the best accommodation without compromising comfort.
AND even better than this....
Enjoying extraordinarily a personalized trip-planning process, saving you countless hours, expertly coordinating the nitty-gritty logistics of your trip.
YES, It is possible. We can help.
Born and raised in South America, we know how to enjoy the best of Brazil without compromising on security or comfort.
😊 We’ll help you create that trip of a lifetime with unique lodging.
Are you in?
Here are 3 of our suggested itineraries to South America to visit Rio de Janeiro.
✨Charming South America : Brazil, Argentina & Peru Highlights 14 Days
✨Exclusive Amazon & Highlights of South America: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Rio, and Amazon Lodge 14 days
✨Wonders of South America: Brazil, Argentina, Chile & Peru Highlight in 21 days.
When you are ready to start planning book your Consultation Call with us.
( We typically require a small itinerary design fee. The design fee enables us to dedicate truly personalized attention to each of our travelers and is fully applicable to the final cost of your trip.)
Your dream trip to South America is waiting 😉
Ps. Curious about our service? Take a look to How we work and what to expect when booking your trip with us here.
As a travel company, we have a direct relationship with our hotels and guides, allowing us to get differential rates; However, the main reason travelers book through us is to gain access to our profound South American expertise and extensive network throughout the countries.
Our service is ideal for travelers who appreciate expert assistance and meaningful, personalized experiences.