Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

By Brazil Nuts Director ADAM CARTER

When choosing a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, the typical visitor will have start by making three key decisions

The first one is in which part of Rio to stay. In the past this was simple: Either Ipanema for style, beautiful people and bossa nova vibes; or Copacabana for variety of lodging options, a sensationally wide beach and a broader cross section of Rio society. 
(Note: In fact, just in the last two years, this traditional dichotomy  is blurring as Copacabana has undergone a fantastic renaissance of sorts, with drastically improved landscaping, urban revitalization and eradication of most of the unseemly street characters who cruised the area. Copa today – in addition to being the area with the greatest variety of lodging options – is remerging as its vibrant, stunning and colorful old self. Don’t let your Brazilian friends scare you away from it with outdated stories and opinions!)

Today there is a growing interest in the third option “beyond the beaches” in the increasingly chic hilltop (though definitely landlocked) neighborhood of Santa Teresa, with its charming cobblestoned streets, cafes and galleries and stunning views over Guanabara Bay. This is in part a reflection of Rio maturing as a destination that is not just sun and beach, but one that also offers easier access to its historical, cultural and off-the-beaten track locally flavored attractions (more on this in future postings). While definitely worth a look, suffice it to say 90% of visitors still gravitate to the beaches in order to maximize their sunning opportunities. But if your Brazilian itinerary includes other beach destinations beyond Rio, and you like a very local vibe, Santa Teresa may be an option to consider.

The second consideration – if you have settled on one of the beaches as your base – is whether your hotel is ON the beach or a few blocks back. This is closely tied to your BUDGET and an important decision to make, as there is a very reasonable trade off to make in terms of giving up on direct beach access and saving up to a couple of hundred dollars. 
Sure its great to be beach front, but if your room is a Standard (the least expensive category), you may not have a beach front view; for that you may need to upgrade to a Superior or maybe Deluxe Room. In such case, a good hotel one to three blocks back may offer an excellent alternative and value. It’s all about what is important to you.

The third decision is about style (that is; are you looking for a charming boutique property or will any well located, reasonably appointed property suffice). 
In fact I confess that this third factor is a bit of a red herring as there really are NO such boutique charmers in Rio beyond some small inns found in Santa Teresa. 
The only three are at the beaches and two of these are the most expensive in town, if not all Brazil: the Fasano in Ipanema and the Copacabana Palace in Copacabana. The lone moderately priced “boutique-ish” hotel would be the Olinda Othon in Copacabana. (more detail on these three in the following section).
But I just bring up this factor so that we can quickly address it and move on, as many travelers agonize too much over this issue, hoping to find the charming inns and B&B’s they loved in Europe in Rio. Sorry to report it is really not an option. In fact, Rio has a fine but rather limited hotel stock to select from, and most are 20-30 years old, built for comfort more than style. You will find the more charming properties as you continue your trip outside the major cities, in Buzios, Paraty, Floripa, Minas and the Northeast.

About Travel to Brazil Blog - BrazilnutsTours

Brazil Nuts Tours was started in 1985 on the proposition that travelers needed a travel company that combined the highest level of customer service, unmatched product expertise and competitive rates. Over the years, we have succeeded in our mission, and have developed a reputation as the experts in travel to Brazil and South America. Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff has helped thousands of travelers discover the Brazil they really wanted to see, from Rio’s beaches and samba clubs through the pristine wilderness of the Amazon to the sun-drenched shores of Bahia and everywhere in between. Customer Service Our knowledgeable staff will customize your perfect itinerary free of charge; simply fill out our Trip Planning Sheet, send it to us and you’ll have an answer, generally within 24 hours Innovative Programs We were the first travel company in North America to develop and promote Pantanal programs. We were also the first to design culture tours focusing on African-Brazilian culture. And, our "Rio Like A Native", "Salvador Like A Native" and "Manaus Like A Native" programs are unequalled for the inside look they provide into the Brazilian experience. Nobody offers more interesting programs to more of Brazil than us. Support & Price We have our own office in Brazil responsible for negotiating the very best hotel and service rates possible, and then handling all our clients' needs once they arrive in Brazil. Proven Success We are the company of choice for any kind of travel needs to Brazil: Leisure Travel: Guide books and articles in travel publications consistently rank Brazil Nuts as the experts.: Guide books and articles in travel publications consistently rank Brazil Nuts as the experts. Corporate Meetings & Incentives: We handle more corporate events in Brazil than any other US travel company. From seminars for top management in Sao Paulo to an incentive program for 250 salespeople in the Amazon, we do it right.: We handle more corporate events in Brazil than any other US travel company. From seminars for top management in Sao Paulo to an incentive program for 250 salespeople in the Amazon, we do it right. Congresses & Trade Shows: Brazil Nuts has been a part of many major congresses or events in Brazil over the last three years, responsible for arranging rooms blocks, social events and PCO functions for thousands of demanding clients from around the world.: Brazil Nuts has been a part of many major congresses or events in Brazil over the last three years, responsible for arranging rooms blocks, social events and PCO functions for thousands of demanding clients from around the world. Products We pride ourselves in providing the most authentic and innovated programs to our clients. Although we specialize in travel to every corner of Brazil, our most popular destinations are: Rio De Janeiro Salvador da Bahia Amazon Iguassu Falls Pantanal Fortaleza
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