Sun, sand, sea, joy and… Olympic Games is what you can expect from August 5 on Rio de Janeiro. One of the most hot and charming cities worldwide will host this year the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Visitors from all over the world will travel this summer to watch one of the major sports events ever. And we want to present you a selection of the best luxury hotels to stay during this event that will enable you also to enjoy the best that this city can offer.
This article is an insider’s guide to the top places to stay for the Rio Olympics, featuring the city’s best hotels for access to Copacabana beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain views.
1 Hotel Fasano / Rio de Janeiro
In the heart of affluent Zona Sul and on the boundary of the stunning Arpoador and Ipanema beaches, Fasano peers out over the most attractive stretch of sand in the city. As Rio views go, it doesn’t get much better than that afforded from the rooftop pool and bar. Originally a Philippe Starck co-venture, São Paulo’s Italian-rooted Fasano Group took over control in 2007 and combined the Frenchman’s signature style with some Italo-Brazilian sophistication.
2 Hotel Santa Teresa / Rio de Janeiro
Embodying all the charm of the beautiful, bohemian neighbourhood in which it stands, the Santa Teresa Hotel has the air of a hillside retreat, but packs in all the amenities of a five-star hotel. It’s a perfect fit for anyone keen to see a different, altogether less sandy, side of Rio. Found behind huge iron gates off the main road, this converted mansion, once part a former coffee plantation, is deceptively large, its rustic features preserved and shot through with a dash of contemporary Brazilian style.
3 Belmond Copacabana Palace
The Palace is a rare example of how to grow old gracefully in this anything-goes beach neighbourhood. The dozens of black-and-white photos of Hollywood, rock ‘n’ roll and, indeed, genuine royalty that line the corridors of this gorgeous, neo-classical hotel hint at the opulence that has been ingrained in it over the years. Vast chandeliers, copious amounts of marble and forests-worth of polished Brazilian wood set the tone in reception, a theme continued in every corner of the 147-room behemoth.
4 La Suite by Dussol
This seven-suite mansion set in Rio’s secluded Joatinga hills was the stylish pioneer that set the standard for boutique hotels in the city. The privacy, exclusivity and immaculate views across the ocean, not least from the infinity pool located under the house, make it easy to see why Hollywood A-listers are among the names in the guestbook. French owner François Dussol took the original, Zanine-designed family home and modernised it, swapping wood for concrete and adding huge windows to make the most of the location.
5 Mama Ruisa
This sumptuous, tropical boutique hotel has a palm-lined swimming pool and impressive views over the downtown area, but the colonial splendour of the huge bedrooms is the real draw. Put simply, Mama Ruisa is a gorgeous slice of late-19th century Brazilian architecture. The white mansion’s solid, ipê wood floors and high ceiling rooms are surrounded by lush tropical gardens with a simple, attractive swimming pool. The main lounge is a lesson in style, too.
6 Casa Mosquito
A lovingly restored mansion in the hills behind Ipanema, Casa Mosquito blends the edgy and the elegant with aplomb. French owner Benjamin Cano has instilled a very European sense of glamour in the villa, such as that it would not feel out of place in the hills of Ibiza. Billowing linen curtains and white-leather day-beds set the tone, but the contemporary edge to the reception and lounge, complete with its in-vogue burnt cement floor, isn’t allowed to overtake the building’s original features that crop up, most notably in the bedrooms.
An unusual, well-hidden hillside retreat immersed in the best of Rio’s impressive geography, Tuakaza is well away from the main drags of Copacabana and Ipanema, and has unblemished beach views and buckets of individual charm. Built in the 1960s as a private residence, Tuakaza’s original design was the work of Zanine Caldas, Brazil’s famous ‘master of wood’. Huge trunks and planks of ipê and massaranduba wood thrust up and jut out of the hillside.
8 Casa Amarelo
The iconic Casa Amarelo is among the very best of its kind, offering calm luxury with just enough of the city buzz to leave guests in absolutely no doubt that they are in Rio. This striking, yellow 1904 mansion represents all that is great about the neighbourhood’s eclectic architecture. Complete with quaint turrets, vast terraces and a tiled winter ‘garden’, an antique lift trundles guests up from a street-level corridor and into the heart of the eccentric property, where Gelis’ own Robert le Herós fabrics take centre-stage.
9 Pestana Rio Atlantica
Smack bang in the middle of Copacabana Beach, the Pestana could barely be better located for all that the neighbourhood has to offer. Following a refit in 2012, the hotel now boasts a decent Portuguese restaurant and a trendy rooftop cocktail bar and pool, while customer service has also been hauled into the 21 century. In the rooms, the beds are large and comfy and the front-facing balconies offer unrivalled view of the beach all the way up to Sugarloaf Mountain.
10 Pousada Jardim da Marambaia
Built very much in the style of a Mediterranean villa, the pousada’s blue and white walls and wrought-iron balconies overlook a pretty pool surrounded by tropical flora. Inside and out, Indonesian teak is the material of choice for the huge beds and pool loungers alike, as well as a vast dining table stretching the length of the covered outdoor terrace. The rooms are simple but comfortable, the front-facing suites all featuring the idyllic view across the mangroves to the 42-kilometre Restinga da Marambaia spit-bar.
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