Relax on the journey – you’re about to pre-book your hotel in Rio de Janeiro and save yourself a whole lot of hassle when you get there...
From Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, to Ipanema Beach and the world-famous Rio Carnival, this hot destination is packed with icons of nature, art, glitz and glamour. The sights, sounds and smells of this intoxicating place will linger in your memory for decades.
Rio is Brazil's second city and is located on the coastline of this vast nation in South America.
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Hotels in Rio de Janeiro cater for all tastes, styles and budgets...
There’s no shortage of luxury hotels and five-star hotels, which attract the rich, the famous and holidaymakers looking for a slice of luxury during their stay in Rio. And boy, do they get it. The best Rio de Janeiro hotels are supremely good at what they do, with gorgeous pool areas, fabulous restaurants and excellent facilities, such as spas, complementing the opulent and comfortable rooms on offer.
Stay by the beach to hear waves lapping and see the gorgeous people strut their stuff in skimpy swimwear on the sands.
It's easy to find a hotel from one of the big brands in Rio. Check out accommodation from Sheraton, Golden Tulip, Best Western, Tulip Inn, Pestana and JW Marriott.
Rio is an undeniably huge destination, but happily the main tourist areas are clustered around the curves of the ocean, from the airport and Rio Centro, past Sugar Loaf Mountain and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, and a little further west. Staying anywhere along this long strip of city will give you access to things to see and do.
It goes without saying that if you want a holiday packed with sand and sea as well as sightseeing, pick a hotel in one of Rio's beach resorts, the best and most exclusive being those in the Zona Sul, or south zone, and including Leme, Copacabana and Ipanema.
For pure city action, stay in the Centro (central) area, where you can really soak up the flavours of Rio. There’s a great range of hotels in this central area, with many bargain hotels just a little further along the coast and clustered around the airport.
There’s much to see and do in this bustling and intoxicating city, but few visitors fail to tick off these highlights…
Top five attractions
Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
One of the most iconic images in the world – a giant art deco statue of Jesus.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Named after the piles of sugar cane on Portuguese ships, there’s a cable car to the summit of this mountain for the most spectacular view of the city.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Picasso, Ernst and Rodin – just some of the names gracing this excellent collection of works.
Floresta da Tijuca
Take a tour around one of the largest man-made rainforests in the world.
Home to the most famous beach in South America, you can stay in this district or just visit for the day – either way, it's an essential stop on a tour of Rio de Janeiro.
The annual calendar of events is dominated by carnival, of course, though there’s much more to see throughout the year...
Carnival; February: Without doubt, the largest carnival in the world. Be prepared to be utterly mesmerised by the colour and spectacle of this immense street party. Hotel demand around Carnival is sky high, so be prepared to book up to a year in advance.
Festas Juninas; June: A Portuguese-influenced series of fiestas to celebrate three saints; a wonderful mix of colour and expression adorns every street corner. Be prepared to break into random dance routines with complete strangers.
New Year at Copacabana; December 31: Brazilians live for New Year, and the epic party that unfolds along Copacabana Beach is a spectacular showcase of the intense work that goes into this world-class event. Fireworks, live music, food and drink – it’s the definition of New Year.
Hangovers are more of an inevitability than an expectation.