The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


The Maze

“Jazz nights attract people from all over town.”—Bill Hinchberger, founder, travel portal. Inside Tavares Bastos favela (shanty town); brainchild of Bob Nadkarni, who worked as a sculptor on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey; 10 rooms, all with double bed and private bath; roof terrace; Guanabara Bay views. Jazz/bossa nova nights most Fridays. Regularly used for film shoots. Rua Tavares Bastos 414, Casa 66, Catete; tel. 55 (21) 2558 5547.

Terrasse Hostel

“One of Ipanema’s newest hostels; at the epicenter of the gay quarter, but mostly straight clientele.”—Bruno Agostini, editor, Viagem e Turismo magazine. Charming building, one block from Ipanema Beach. Five shared dormitories; four private rooms (one single, three doubles); guests share bathrooms; breakfast included. Good choice for solo travelers. Rua Farme de Amoedo 35, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2247 6130.


Ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro

“Ideal for bar hoppers, not beachgoers.”—Bruno Agostini. Downtown, on the edge of Lapa near Tiradentes Square; 200 rooms; clean, modern accommodations in a rundown neighborhood; opened in 2007 by Accor, which runs Sofitel Rio. Near Carioca subway station. Rua Silva Jardim 32, Centro; tel. 55 (21) 3511 8200.

Pousada Girassol

“Inside a peaceful villa on bustling Copacabana Avenue.”—Bruno Agostini. A refuge in Rio; friendly owners; courteous service. Ten rooms, all with en suite bath, accommodate two to five people each. Travessa Angrense 25, Copacabana; tel. 55 (21) 2256 6951.


“Overhauled ‘castle’ next door to Lapa and the clubs.”—Bill Hinchberger. Circa-1865 eclectic mansion on a Santa Teresa back street. City views from terrace; mango and guava trees in garden. Nine rooms, all with private bath and queen-size bed; one mini apartment can house five guests. Rua Triunfo 38, Santa Teresa; tel. 55 (21) 2252 2549.

Ouro Verde

“Where Copacabana meets Florida’s South Beach.”—Bruno Agostini. Protected 1950s art deco building; 63 rooms. Avenida Atlântica 1456, Copacabana; tel. 55 (21) 2543 4123.


Relais Solar

“Caters to small groups—business retreats, film crews, and visiting artists.”—Bill Hinchberger. Reformed colonial mansion in bohemian Santa Teresa; verdant surroundings. One bungalow with private veranda; two large rooms with private bath; two standard rooms with shared bathroom. Standard rooms available only when booked with bungalow or large rooms. Ladeira do Meirelles 32, Santa Teresa; tel. 55 (21) 2221 2117.

Best Western Sol Ipanema

Opposite the Posto 9 lifeguard station; one block from Garota de Ipanema bar, where composer Vinicius de Moraes found inspiration for his bossa nova classic “The Girl from Ipanema.” New Year’s Eve and Carnival packages available. 90 rooms; sea view costs about 20 percent more. Avenida Vieira Souto 320, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 2525 2020.

Sofitel Rio de Janeiro

“Privileged location opposite Copacabana Fort and between Rio’s two most famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema.”—Sérgio Tauhata, hotel editor, Guia Quatro Rodas travel guide. All 388 rooms refurbished in 2007; in-room DVD players and plasma TVs. Superb French cuisine at Le Pre Catelan. Avenida Atlântica 4240, Copacabana; tel. 55 (21) 2525 1232.

Rio 180º

Refined inn on the hills of Santa Teresa. Eight exquisitely decorated suites with panoramic views of “Christ the Redeemer,” Pão de Açúcar, and Guanabara Bay. Moroccan restaurant, pool, sauna, and meditation area. Rua Dr. Júlio Otoni 254, Santa Teresa; tel. 55 (21) 2205 1247.

Marina All Suites

“[Brazilian supermodel] Gisele Bündchen prefers the 592-square-foot (55-square-meter) Diamante suite, which has stunning ocean views.”—Sérgio Tauhata. Boutique hotel, adored by celebrities. 30 standard suites, with optional kitchen unit, sofa bed, and ocean view. Eight spacious “design suites” created by famous Brazilian architects (most have ocean views). Three additional suites available in 2008. Tip: Chill out at the Bar d’Hôtel to see and be seen. Avenida Delfim Moreira 696, Leblon; tel. 55 (21) 2172 1100.


Copacabana Palace

Haunt of the glitterati since 1923; 147 rooms and suites in main building; 75 suites in annex. Guests renting the 1,076-square-foot (100-square-meter) penthouse suites on the sixth floor enjoy 24-hour butler service and their own rooftop swimming pool. Cipriani Restaurant (Italian) rated among Brazil’s five best by Guia Quatro Rodas. Extravagant Carnival ball. Avenida Atlântica 1702, Copacabana; tel. 55 (21) 2548 7070.

La Suite

“All seven rooms impeccably decorated; like you’re sleeping at the Casa Cor design show.”—Sérgio Tauhata. Former residence at Joatinga Beach, the Beverly Hills of Rio. All rooms have private terraces and ocean views; sumptuous breakfast of homemade pastries and tropical fruit. Rua Jackson de Figueiredo 501, Joatinga; tel. 55 (21) 2484 1962.

Fasano Rio de Janeiro

“Interior decoration by Philippe Starck, the Pelé of hotel designers.”—Sérgio Tauhata. Opened in mid-2007, Rio’s hottest luxury hotel. 82 rooms, half facing the sea; ten suites. Bar and infinity pool with panoramic views of Ipanema Beach. Avenida Vieira Souto 80, Ipanema; tel. 55 (21) 3202 4000.


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