If you're looking for a huge resort hotel in Rio de Janeiro or its scenic surrounds, you may find yourself having to look harder than expected. Resorts have not become a focal part of Rio's accommodation scene, although there are a few resort-style lodgings to be found.
Barra da Tijuca, the modern, expansive suburb located to the west of Ipanema and Copacabana, is the place to come for large scale hotels with pools, conference facilities and family-friendly accommodations, with the Sheraton being among the big names to open large scale hotels here. Often attracting business visitors and their families, Barra da Tijuca is close to convention centers but also has some enticing leisure attractions - including vast numbers of US-style shopping malls and entertainment complexes and, more excitingly, a white sand beach that stretches for some 14 kilometers. As the focal point for the 2016 Rio Olympics, it's set to benefit from improved links and a host of big name hotels.
Sheraton also operate a resort hotel closer to central Rio, at Sao Conrado, which benefits from its own private beach. The proximity to the vast Vidigal favela may make some visitors uncomfortable, but door to door taxis should mean safety is rarely an issue. Whether the glaring rich-poor divide sits uncomfortably is another issue, but there is no doubt that this hotel. one of the largest in Rio, offers a good standard of accommodation and plenty of family-friendly facilities.
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Photo courtesy of Ipanema Inn
Sheraton Rio comes as close to having a private beach as is possible for any Rio de Janeiro hotel. The hotel is located to the west of Ipanema and Leblon, beneath the pacified favela of Vidigal, that clings to the mountainside. The hotel's section of beach is little visited by anyone other than guests, while those looking to sun themselves on more famous sands will find it just a quick cab ride to Ipanema. This is one of the largest hotels in Rio, with several pools, restaurants and facilities such as play rooms for kids, making it a solid option for families visiting Rio.
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.