By Brazil Nuts Director ADAM CARTER
“High” 4 Star Hotels Four Star Hotels span such a broad range we are going to talk in terms of High 4 Standard Moderate 4 Star options. About the High 4 Stars: At the very top is the Porto Bay Internacional; located a block from the Copa Palace this hotel brushes the category of “low 5 star” quality. Its Superior – and especially Deluxe Rooms – offer stunning beach views from its floor to ceiling windows. Very well priced for what it offers Moving down a notch we have four recommended properties, two in each beach. Staying in Copacabana, we like the brand new Arena Copacabana, a very stylish beachfront property with clean modern lines and a very nice rooftop pool area. We recommend the Standard or Deluxe rooms here to get the best views possible of the beach. Slightly less expensive and very different in style is the previously mentioned Olinda Othon, the only moderately priced “boutique-style” hotel on the beach. We call it “Le Petite Copacabana Palace” as it really has that 1940’s feel of the Palace (simpler of course!). You must stay only in the Deluxe Oceanfront rooms, and it is an excellent value. Also not to be neglected is the biggest hotel in Rio – also an Othon: The Othon Palace Hotel, situated dead center in Copacabana Beach. Now that the infamous “Help” discothèque has been torn down and the neighborhood revitalized, and the hotel itself is competing a total renovation, this option is a great choice, especially its Superior Rooms totally redecorated with jaw dropping views. We like this hotel a lot since its renovation. In Ipanema, there are two High 4 Stars of note. On the beach, just two blocks from where Ipanema turns into Leblon, is the Praia Ipanema. This hotel is all about three things: Beachfront location, large rooms and sensational view from every room. The lobby is small, the decoration rather old word style, but if you value the three above attributes, this is a fine choice. Finally, located in the epicenter of Posto 9, where the young and the beautiful (of all sexual orientations) gather, then Ipanema Plaza is a great option. Its a half a block back from the beach, the rooms are a little small and the views are nothing special, but this is really about location, location, location. Wonderful cafes and restaurants outside your door, and fashionable Visconde de Piraja a block a way. Moderate 4 Star Hotels There is a price drop – and only a slight quality drop – from high to Moderate 4 Star Hotels. The best options here are in the Leme section of Copacabana, the part at the very opposite of where Copa meets Ipanema. Its a quieter, more residential area that many prefer. Here there are two options: The Golden Tulip (formerly Luxor) Continental is on block back from the beach. Rooms are fair-to-middling but the renovated once (available upon request) are quite nice. The rooftop pool is one of the largest ones I’ve seen and the view is delightful. The lobby is cool and spacious. I like it a lot. Just around the corner, on the beach, is the traditional Leme Othon whose recent renovation has given it a real retro 70’s vibe, done in very good taste. Big lobby, big rooms (Superior and deluxe are right on the beach view). I also like this option in Leme. Only drawback: no pool.