From Beachfront to Hilltop: Best Luxury Hotels in Rio

Thanks largely to a currrency that has dramatically dropped in value since 2014, Rio de Janeiro is no longer the prohibitively expensive destination it was just a short time ago. And while luxury lodgings in the city are by no means cheap, you'll no longer need an A-lister budget to stay there,  and those who want to splurge on luxury lodgings in Rio will be well rewarded at any of our cherry-picked spots.

From lavish beachfront hotels such as our number one pick, Fasano Rio to hilltop hideaways in boho-chic areas such as artsy Santa Teresa or leafy, laidback Gavea, there are ample options to choose from for those to whom price is no object.

Now owned by Orient Express, the Copacabana Palace remains a byword for glamor and glitz in Rio de Janeiro, and those who can stump up for a seafront view at New Year will find themselves with a prime spot for enjoying the midnight fireworks spectacular.

Rio de Janeiro is a favorite hangout for celebrities, so don´t be surprised to find yourself sharing hotel corridors with the likes of Madonna, Will Smith, the Obamas, the Rolling Stones or any number of Brazilian soccer stars.

Book ahead, and you may even be able to find a great bargain on a luxury Rio hotel room - although be warned that Rio de Janeiro has recently been named as the city with the most expensive hotels in the world and, at peak times such as New Year and February´s carnival, prices spiral higher still.

Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is one of several big name regulars at this chic hotel on Leblon beachfront, and it´s not hard to see what attracts the A-listers to the hotel. While most of Rio de Janeiro´s boutique lodging options...  Read More

A seriously stylish accommodation option in the well-heeled, largely residential neighborhood of Gavea, La Maison Boutique Guest House has featured in the pages of style magazines in Brazil and overseas. The setting - a fabulous colonial...  Read More

Visitors to Rio de Janeiro often overlook the well-to-do residential neighborhood of Gavea in favor of more famous locations such as Ipanema and Copacabana, but anyone who values space, tranquility and proximity to nature over a famous postcode...  Read More

Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Anchoring one end of Copacabana Beach, Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is a favorite among business travelers and politicians visiting Rio. Although less luxurious than it once was, the hotel still offers smart, modern facilities and...  Read More

Quinta Azul Boutique
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

A relatively new addition to the ever-increasing boutique hotel scene in the scenic, historic hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Quina Azul Boutique enjoys a prime location just a few seconds´ easy stroll from the neighborhood´s main square...  Read More

Mama Ruisa
Photo courtesy of Aforondo/Flickr

French chic meets Brazilian cool at this super-stylish hillside hideaway in Santa Teresa. The vast colonial mansion sits in verdant gardens complete with large swimming pool, and the French owners have upped the wow factor still further with...  Read More

Rio de Janeiro may be synonymous with beaches, but savvy visitors to the city are increasingly venturing inland and up into the hills of Santa Teresa. This luxury hotel, complete with palm-fringed pool and acclaimed French restaurant, cemented...  Read More

The grande dame of Rio de Janeiro's hotels, the 1920s-built Copacabana Palace is still a byword for luxury and lavish living in the Cidade Maravilhosa. The hotel of choice for A-listers visiting Rio, Copacabana Palace had welcomed such...  Read More

Truly off the beaten tourist track, this hilltop hotel is located in Joatinga - a super-exclusive neighborhood known as the Beverley Hills of Rio. Each of the suites is unique,and all feature luxurious touches such as vast double showers and...  Read More

The first hotel to rival Copacabana Palace in the glamour stakes, Fasano Rio's prime spot on Ipanema beachfront makes it an ideal base for those with cash to splash. The discreet facade masks a wealthy of quirky design details - crafted by...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.

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