Rio de Janeiro's Best Hotels Feature Beach Views and Tropical Gardens

Synonymous with beaches and beautiful people, Rio de Janeiro is unarguably one of the most glamorous destinations in the world and our top pick - Copacabana Palace - remains the most famous hotel in South America.

But while the famous sands continue to attract the crowds, savvy travelers are also making a beeline for the breezy, bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa and its many stylish boutique hotels and welcoming guest houses, such as the funky Casa Cool Beans.  For the ultimate romantic escape, book a room at La Suite Rio - high on a clifftop in a super-exclusive enclave, this chic spot is a favorite of international fashion photographers.

In Centro, Copacabana and Ipanema, large chain hotels with all mod cons attract business travelers, while the grande dame of South American hotels, Copacabana Palace, continues to be the destination of choice for A-listers - rivaled in the glamour stakes only by Ipanema's sleek, Phillipe Starck-designed, Fasano Rio.

Budget travelers will need to plan ahead when heading to Rio - lodgings here are expensive even by Western standards, but the weakened Brazilian currency means that dollars, euros and other currencies stretch a lot further now than they did in recent years, and there are some good deals to be found if you book well in advance. A modest travel budget can be stretched further by self-catering facilities, and there is an excellent hostel scene in Rio, with many spots offering comfortable doubles as well as dorms. 

Up in the jungle-clad hills, the colorful, characterful neighborhood of Santa Teresa is packed with small guest houses, at prices that compare extremely favorably with beachfront locations. 

Hotel Arpoador
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


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...  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



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...  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

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

Quinta Azul Boutique Pousada
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



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...  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



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



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


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.