Okay, it's not bargain-basement cheap, but prices at Arpoador Inn are extremely favorable in comparison with other beachfront lodgings. The location - right on the sands at the point where Copacabana meets Ipanema - is unbeatable for sunseekers and surfers, and transport links to the lively nightlife of Lapa are good. While rooms with a beachfront view are by far the most desirable, it goes without saying that they command a higher price than those with views of the back streets. Prices here drop considerably outside of peak tourist season, but it's likely to be out of the price range of budget travellers during New Year and Carnival.
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 Santa Teresa's reputation as a major tourist destination when it opened in 2009, and gained worldwide attention when Amy Winehouse made her base here during her 2011 tour of Brazil. It's now managed by Sofitel, but maintains a boutique feel. The artsy neighborhood is chock full of handicrafts stores and vintage clothing outlets, and its drinking and dining scene is one of the most celebrated in the city.
Copacabana beachfront is not known for its good value lodgings or its personal service, which makes this welcoming guest house such a find. The English-speaking owner Marta Miller offers personal tips and advice to all her guests, and the vast shared living spaces are decked out with artsy aplomb. Rooms are less spectacular, but the guesthouse scores serious brownie points for the large balcony with views right out over Copacabana. It's just steps from the beach, and right at the Western edge, where 'Copa' meets Ipanema, making it handy for restaurants, shopping and nightlife as well as for varying your beach setting.
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 building set among fruit trees - is stunning in itself, and the French owners have injected a dose of Parisian boudoir indulgence to the interiors, which are nothing if not sensual. Deep red walls and supremely soft beds abound, and the five suites each have large balconies overlooking an inviting swimming pool. For visitors looking to escape the rush and crush of Rio beachfront this is an excellent option, and there are plenty of good drinking and dining options nearby.
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 interiors that have more than a dash of panache. Each of the suites is unique in layout and decor, and the lavish breakfasts served outside under the trees are something to be savored for as long as possible. With a poolside setting this beautiful, you may find yourself spending a lot less time on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana than you had imagined.
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 - Largo de Guimaraes - and the strip of lively bars and excellent restaurants that surrounds it. The location is just part of the charm of this beautiful guest house - the swimming pool, leafy gardens and attention to detail in the indoor and outdoor decor all make this a pleasant option for a stay in Rio. While not right at the top end of the accommodation options, it´s prices compare extremely favorably with many less charming options along the beachfront.
Another fine example of Santa Teresa's impressive guest house scene, Casa Cool Beans attracts a mix of young backpackers and older travelers keen to share stories of the road over a few caipirinhas in the leafy garden. Housed in a handsome colonial-era buildings, Casa Cool Beans is a refreshing alternative to impersonal chain hotels, and its location in bustling Santa Teresa means that scores of bars and restaurants are within easy reach. Meanwhile, the lively nightlife of Lapa is just a hop, skip and a jump (or a quick bus ride) away.
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 celebrated guests as Madonna, Will Smith and the Obamas, and the service is as attentive as one would expect. The hotel's two restaurants are among the best in the city, while the addition of an upmarket nightclub and luxury spa have brought Copacabana Palace bang up to date.
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 French designer Phillipe Starck, the interior blends cool white minimalism with playful details such as candy-striped pod chairs on each corridor. The hotel's crowning glory is the rooftop infinity pool - order a cocktail at the poolside bar, sink into the warm waters and enjoy the views over Ipanema beach. If you really want to feel fabulous in Rio, this is the place.
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 spacious dressing rooms. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean and Rio's magnificently verdant mountains, the hotel's infinity pool has views that will truly take your breath away. The hotel is a favorite with the international fashion press, who regularly use it for photo shoots. Almost next door, a tiny beach is so secluded that couples will almost feel they have it to themselves.