Rio's legendary Copacabana neighborhood receives more visitors than any other part of the city, and it's home to the largest concentration of hotels.
But while many Copacabana hotels offer glorious views from roof terraces and beach-facing rooms, these views come at a high price, and many of these well-located lodgings charge a startlingly high rate for barely mediocre rooms. (There are exceptions, including the legendary grande dame that is Copacabana Palace, but you'll need a mega-budget if you want to join the elite ranks that stay at these exclusive spots.)
Those looking for inviting accommodation, with beach views and accessible pricing, may have a tough time finding it in Copacabana (in fact, in Rio overall). But Marta's Rio Guesthouse is a very welcome exception to the rule.
Children receive a warm welcome at Marta's Rio Guesthouse — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Occupying a penthouse apartment in an Art Deco building just one block from the beach – close to Copacabana's border with Ipanema – this pousada (the name given to small, independent guesthouses and boutique hotels in Brazil) offers spectacular beach views from its vast terrace: the sweeping vista takes in the length of Copacabana beach and out to Sugarloaf Mountain.
With just six rooms, the intimate guesthouse offers a far greater level of personal attention than Copacabana's larger hotels can offer, and English-speaking owner Marta Miller goes out of her way to ensure guests make the most of their stay.
A great source of information about where to eat and what to see and do in Rio, Miller makes all her guests at home, and families are very welcome.
Guests have use of a well-equipped kitchen and can enjoy their meals at a grand dining room – the artsy fixtures and fittings, including many antique pieces, are another standout feature – or on the vast deck with that view.
Breakfasts are always a treat, with fresh breads, jams, jellies, cheeses, cold meats and eggs, as well as cereals, coffee and freshly squeezed juice. And thankfully, Miller is always present to answer any questions or queries her guests may have.
The location could not be better. It's just steps to the legendary beach, where guests can sunbathe, sip a caipirinha at a beach bar or try their hand at stand up paddle – a popular activity at this stretch of beach.
It's also just a short walk to Ipanema with its smart bars and restaurants, boutique stores and beautiful beach. A nearby metro makes it a cinch to get around the city.
With prices that are less than that of many hotels in the neighborhood – rooms start at around R$340 in low season – Marta's Rio Guesthouse offers exceptional value for Copacabana.