- South America
- Sarah Brown
Belmond Copacabana Palace
The seafront palace remains synonymous with the rich elite and glamour, even if the surrounding neighborhood is losing its past shine to the more upcoming and contemporary Ipanema. Yet this only serves to show the continued success of this enormous classic-style hotel that boasts extravagant chandeliers, marble covering almost every surface and gleaming wood finishes. The walls in Copacabana Palace are mounted with photos of past guests that graced the Hollywood and music scene. With a beautiful swimming pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant inside, it’s not hard to see why this incredible hotel is a hit with the rich and famous. There is even a reserved section on the beach in front of the hotel for guests with complimentary loungers and fruit.
Av. Atlântica, 1702 – Copacabana, +55 21 2548 7070
Santa Teresa Hotel
Taking its name from the bohemian-feel neighborhood where it’s located, the Santa Teresa Hotel offers a unique experience away from Rio’s sandy shores. The hotel has the air of a tropical paradise yet provides all of the five star facilities that any guest could ever dream of. Once a coffee plantation, Santa Teresa Hotel was renovated into a luxurious retreat with one of the best spas in the city, gorgeous green gardens and rustically decorated with a helping of contemporary style. Inside the hotel is a wonderfully intimate bar so dimly lit that the waiters use torches to read the menu. The food there is delicious and the cocktails are dangerously smooth.
R. Alm. Alexandrino, 660 – Santa Teresa,+ 55 21 3380 0200
This restored mansion lies on the border of Ipanema on the hillside next to Cantagalo favela, its elegance and extravagance contrasting sharply with the slum next to it. Casa Mosquito’s minimalist design manages to combine glamour with an edgy twist, with hotel rooms named after unlikely Rio icons from the last few decades such as Madone Sata, a drag performer from the mid 1900s. The hotel itself oozes European glamour, largely thanks to the influence from the two French owners. The dazzling star of the hotel though is the jaw-dropping rooftop swimming pool and terrace that overlooks Ipanema beach, a spot that has become the location of various fashion shoots.
R. Saint Roman, 222 – Copacabana, +55 21 3586 5042
Fasano is quickly earning itself the reputation as Rio’s best hotel and one of the most sought-after among the rich and famous. The contemporary-designed hotel is perfectly located next to the stunning Arpoador, known for its crystal clear waters, and the long stretch of Ipanema’s beach with some of Rio’s best bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. The dimly lit corridors of the guest-only hotel provide an air of elegance, as do the discreet waiters and hotel staff that quietly and subtly take care of guests’ every need. The rooftop pool receives the highest praise for its unbeatable views and impeccable bar service.
Av. Vieira Souto, 80 – Ipanema, +55 21 3202 4000
La Suite’s location is a blessing for those looking for total seclusion. Tucked away in the Joatinga hills, the hotel provides a private retreat. This in turn means that everything is a planned taxi trip away, though. However, the secluded getaway feel is irresistible and it’s little wonder that La Suite is popular among the A-listers. With helicopter pads, antiques and chandeliers a dead giveaway of the exclusivity of the place, the hotel does try to maintain a homely feel with friendly yet distant staff. The huge windows throughout the hotel take advantage of the stunning views and provide a tranquil haven to escape from it all.
R. Jackson de Figueiredo, 501 – Joá, +55 21 3259 6123
If La Suite could be considered a hillside retreat away from the tourist spots, then Tuakaza just came along and trumped it. Located in the hillsides in Sao Conrado, it is only accessible by car, a drive that includes snaking up a long, winding road. The secluded nature of the hotel is the main part of the attraction and provides painfully beautiful settings to escape into. The hotel was designed from the work of Zanine Caldas, a famous master in wood craft. The rustic settings and gorgeous scenery is exclusive, catering for only a handful of guests at a time – the hotel has just six bedrooms with names such as Kiwi and Amora.
Estr. das Canoas, 2600 – São Conrado, +55 21 3322 6715