Belmond Copacabana Palace RioAt the Copa, Copacabana
Why we love it: While the Copacabana Palace is indisputably the ritziest abode in town, this hotel knows how to show you a good time. We really dig a place that doesn’t take itself so seriously, but yet finds that balance where the service is impeccable and rooms are five star quality. The penthouse suites have terraces that overlook the beach, where a morning cappuccino is sublime. In the madness of Carnival, they build a bridge from the hotel over the street that gets you directly on the sand, in their own special VIP section away from the rest of the riff raff. Outside of Carnival, we like it for the daytime chill outs by the pool and lunch at Pergula restaurant, and in the evening, staying in is equally attractive with chic Asian cuisine at MEE.
What to know: Located right across from the Copacabana Beach, the hotel is the epicenter of the very attractive local society types and world-travelers. If you are traveling alone to Rio, this is the place to stay. The hotel is old school décor but beautifully restored and worthy of the Belmond portfolio. If you can splurge on a suite, it’s a worthwhile spend. Ask for a room facing the water either way.