The best hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Author: Alexandra Forbes
Photography: Luke Burgess
A seafront mansion in Copacabana that once housed the Consulate of Austria was torn down to make way for the Emiliano, which promises to be Rio's chicest boutique hotel when it opens this month. The design by renowned architect Arthur Casas pays homage to Brazilian modernism, and its look and feel of '50s glamour is enhanced by vintage furniture upholstered in shades of green. The façade is lined with panels of perforated ceramic tiles called cobogós, typical of the era, which open to reveal stunning ocean views. While the lobby restaurant is open to the public, the panoramic rooftop pool and bar are for guests only. Ave Atlântica, 3804, emiliano.com.br
Premium suite at Vila Galé.
In the heart of the old Lapa neighbourhood, best known for its vibrant nightlife and samba bars, this Portuguese-owned four-star hotel occupies a fully renovated heritage mansion with an imposing pink and white façade. Red velvet Chesterfields, clawfoot tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and crystal chandeliers add to the colonial feel. A large pool in an inner courtyard is its best feature. Rua Riachuelo, 124, +55 21 2460 4500, vilagale.com
Grand Mercure Riocentro
Grand Mercure Riocentro lobby.
This new hotel, across the road from the entrance to Olympic Park, has a panoramic rooftop pool and restaurant with "180-degree views of the ocean, mountains and forest", says high-profile chef Morena Leite, whose menu is inspired by this landscape and Brazil's unique habitats, or "biomes". The airy, light-filled lobby features a huge modernist-inspired mosaic wall and retro furniture. Ave Salvador Allende, 6555, Jóa, +55 21 2484 1962, accorhotels.com
The boutique hotel chain with outposts in Paris, LA and Bordeaux opens its first South American address this month in Rio's bohemian hilltop neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, not far from its more luxurious older sister property, the Santa Teresa RJ MGallery by Sofitel. Mama Shelter's 54 graphic and colourful rooms occupy two houses overlooking the sea and have cheeky design features - beer crates double as nightstands, for instance. Though removed from the buzz of the city's beaches, the old-fashioned charm of Santa Teresa's cobbled streets and mosaic of colourful old houses is highly appealing. Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, 5, Santa Teresa, mamashelter.com
Belmond Copacabana Palace
Copacapabana Palace's exclusive black pool.
Rio's grande dame is 93 years old and as memorable as ever. Rooms and suites - most overlooking a glamorous pool and Copacabana Beach - have been refurbished in white and soft greens and blues. Framed photos of old Rio landscapes, black and white signed portraits of past guests, and attentive staff evoke the hotel's storied past. Ave Atlântica, 1702, +55 21 2548 7070, copacabanapalace.com.br
La Suite's longue room.
Set in Joá, a leafy residential neighbourhood in the hills overlooking São Conrado Beach, this '60s mansion-turned-guesthouse has seven suites styled with flair and bright colours. The communal living room and deck hanging over the cliff have sweeping views. This is a favourite for couples wanting a quiet city stay, buffered from the party down below. Rua Jackon de Figueiredo, 501, +55 21 3259 6123, bydussol.com