Best Place to Stay in Rio De Janeiro: Top 9 Hotels & Areas

Rio de Janeiro
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
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Looking for the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro? You’re in the right place. We are going to take you on a tour of some of the best places to stay in the city of Rio – as it is more commonly known. You’ll find properties in the best neighborhoods in Rio. Barra de Tijuca, Botafogo, Santa Teresa, Copacabana, and Ipanema.

If the words from Barry Manilow’s famous song Copacabana don’t get you up and dancing then the famous beaches, the live music, the restaurants and bars, the colorful views of the city will. They’ll have your mind in a spin as soon as you set foot in Rio, the city capital of the state of the same name.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the best places to stay in Brazil. It has famous landmarks such as Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Escadaria Selarón (Selaron Steps). There are beautiful beaches and a great choice of restaurants and bars. For budget travelers, and those who prefer high end, we are going to help you find the perfect place to stay in Rio.

Copacabana

Is Copacabana the most famous area in Rio? Maybe so, but is it the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro? Apart from the song, it is known for white sandy beaches and being the host of the beach volleyball at the 2016 Olympics.

Belmond Copacabana Palace

belmond copacabana best place to stay in rio de janeiro
Photo credit: booking.com

We’re kicking off in style with the Belmond Copacabana Palace, situated by Copacabana Beach. Is this one of the best hotels in Rio de Janerio? The Belmond is a 5-star luxury hotel, in Copacabana, as the name suggests. It opened in 1923 and a number of famous names have laid their heads down here since. Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, and the UK’s longest ever King in waiting, Prince Charles, have all walked through the door here. If you want to follow in their footsteps, what can you expect?

You’ll find spacious soundproofed rooms and suites, fit for a King, aptly enough. Sumptuous furnishings, floor-length drapes, minibars, wi-fi, iPod docks, and everything else you would expect for a 5-star establishment. Choose a room with city views or ocean views. Marble bathrooms with complimentary bathrobes allow you to refresh your aching limbs. Because this is a great place from which to explore the neighborhood. We wonder if Prince Charles used his complimentary pair of Havaianas flip flops that come with every room…

There are three superb restaurants on-site – you can dine on international cuisine including Italian and their Michelin starred Asian restaurant. The gym has a wide selection of weights, a spa, and you can play a game of tennis on the hotel’s court. As you would expect, there is a delightful swimming area with plenty of sun loungers and a pool bar. If you are traveling with children you can take advantage of the hotel’s babysitting service (extra charge).

Nearby attractions are plentiful. Within three miles you will find; Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens, Chacrinha State Park, and the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. The hotel overlooks Copacabana Beach but Ipanema Beach and Leme Beach are both nearby. Traveling slightly further you will find Rio de Janeiro Aquarium and the Modern Art Museum. The famous Selarón Steps are just over three miles away and the Pedra Bonita hike is six miles away. If eating in a Michelin starred restaurant becomes tedious, fear not, because you’ll find numerous restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.

Address: Avenida Atlantica 1702, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: couples, special occasions, celebrity spotters

Rating: 9.3/10

Hilton Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

hilton copacabana rooftop pool
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Stepping down in price range now but staying in the Copacabana neighborhood is the 5-star Hilton Rio de Janeiro. This is also a luxury standard hotel but not quite as grand as the Belmond, and it has a more laid back vibe. The rooms are stylish but less sumptuous than the Belmond. They are everything you’d expect from a Hilton. Rooms are soundproofed, with air-conditioning, wifi, minibars, coffee makers, bathrobes, and the suites have spa baths. Choose from a city view or ocean view room or suite.

It has a beautiful rooftop pool with stunning views of the city and the ocean. More for posing with a drink in hand rather than doing your daily laps this is a must-visit place during your stay in Rio. There is a lounge bar on the rooftop, serving food and drinks. The perfect place to enjoy a sunset cocktail. For those not staying in the hotel, you can use the rooftop bar, subject to booking. There are a further two bars (one located by the swimming pool) and a restaurant on the fourth floor which serves international cuisine overlooking the ocean.

Make your own smoothies in the superb breakfast room that offers something for all tastes. Fresh fruit, pastries, fresh waffles, and omelets. A big breakfast is an ideal way to set yourself up for a day of seeing the Rio de Janeiro sights. Guests love the breakfast here and some of the room rates include this, otherwise, you can indulge for $16 a day.

The beautiful spa (though it may not rival the spas of Ubud) offers a wide range of massages (extra charge) and is the ideal way to unwind after touring the neighborhood. There are lots of attractions within walking distance and a large choice of shopping. Choose from one of the many restaurants and bars you’ll find for a rest stop on the way back to your room. Or hit the gym after a day spent relaxing on the beach or at either of the two outdoor swimming pools at the Hilton. If you want to have a ride on the Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car, it is less than a mile away. The cost is approximately US $31 per person. For those looking for a physical challenge, you can take a guided climb up the mountain. This costs approximately US $40.

Address: Avenida Atlantica 1020, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: couples

Rating: 8.4/10

Ipanema

We’re moving to Ipanema for the next two hotels. Ipanema is a Rio de Janeiro neighborhood to the south of Copacabana. The song “The Girl from Ipanema”, was inspired by a local Ipanema girl named Helô Pinheiro. Arguably less touristy than Copacabana, if you like trendy boutiques and fine dining this could be the best place to stay in Rio de Janerio for you. It is one of the most expensive parts of Rio de Janeiro to live in.

Sol Ipanema Hotel

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The Sol Ipanema Hotel is not dissimilar to the Hilton in Copacabana. The air-conditioned rooms are modern and equipped with LCD televisions, wifi, and minibars. They have been refurbished with wooden laminate flooring. Choose a mountain, city, or sea view. The superior rooms include bathrobes and Nespresso coffee machines. Take room service in your room or dine at the on-site Italian restaurant with an extensive wine menu. Like the Hilton, there is a rooftop pool and cocktail bar for those sunset views that memories are made of. Note that the rooftop area is not accessible for wheelchair users.

You will be walking distance to so many attractions, restaurants, and bars, that you won’t have one minute to spare. The twenty-four-hour front desk is on hand to give you all the information you need to make the most of this up and coming neighborhood. They can also arrange beauty treatments and babysitting services. If you like to sit on the beach, this boutique hotel provides free beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and beach towels. Leave a spare hand for the Caipirinha though!

Ipanema is host to a regular Sunday market. The ideal place for souvenirs, from clothes to local craft ware. The sunsets from nearby Arpoador are famous. Arpoador is the place to be, for tourists and locals. Many congregate on this rocky peninsula in the early evening to make the most of the view of the setting sun. A lovely setting for a proposal, perhaps. The peninsula also offers good surfing opportunities if you fancy catching some waves. Other watersports include

Address: Avenida Vieira Souto 320, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Good for: couples, families, business travelers

Rating: 8.4/10

Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema

Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema

The Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema is at the western end of Ipanema. As well as traditional dorm rooms, you can select a private room and bathroom here. All rooms are air-conditioned and have free wifi. The rooms on the upper floors have views of the sea. Towels are not included in the shared rooms but you can hire them for just a couple of dollars. The hostel doesn’t have on-site dining although they do serve breakfast which is available for just US $3 per person. You won’t be surprised to know there are many restaurants and bars in the vicinity.

There are no facilities in Che Lagarto Hostel that you’d get in the big hotels, but the front desk is open twenty-four-hours and there is a laid-back lounge you can chill out in if you want to put your feet up for a few minutes. Computers with free internet access are available for your use. This hostel is great for those looking to socialize and guests particularly appreciate the free Caipirinhas offered each evening. Saúde!

Ipanema Beach is right outside the hostel, and Leblon Beach (which is the neighborhood to the west) is close too. To put the location into perspective see these walking distances to some popular sights:

  • Ipanema Beach – one minute
  • Leblon Beach – five minutes
  • Lake Rodrigo de Freitas – ten minutes
  • Copacabana Beach – thirty minutes

And by bus:

  • Copacabana Beach – twenty minutes
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue – forty-five minutes
  • Sugar Loaf Mountain- twenty-five minutes

Address: Paul Redfern Street 48, Ipanema

Good for: backpackers, solo travelers, party people

Rating: 8.3/10

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a neighborhood in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. Set atop a hill, it could the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro if you want stunning views over Rio. The wealthy flocked here in the 19th century onwards to build colorful and opulent buildings. Taking advantage of the views and the cooling sea breeze, this area with its quaint cobbled streets became more and more popular. Today Santa Teresa is home to boutique hotels, shops, art installations, and a good number of restaurants and bars. It’s also where you’ll find the Selaron Steps.

Casa Geranio

Casa Geranio
Photo credit: booking.com

Our first stop in Santa Teresa is Casa Geranio. A 3-star boutique-style bed and breakfast, located ten minutes walk from the nearest metro station. The individually decorated rooms have air-conditioning, minibars, wifi, and private bathrooms. The Carioca suite has a private swimming pool and gets booked regularly so you’ll need to be quick if you want this one. Room views can be of the city or of the lush inner courtyard.

At the B&B is a beautiful pool area, with loungers and a bar area. The infinity pool affords stunning views over the city. The whole B&B has a laid back oasis-style vibe and is perfectly located for exploring the neighborhood and the rest of Rio. Enjoy the homemade breakfast each morning before heading out to explore.

Within one mile of the property you’ll find the Santa Teresa Tram, the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, Cinelândia Square, the Lapas Arches (Carioca Aqueduct), and Rio Scenarium – a popular bar you must experience. The Selaron Steps are 0.2 miles from Casa Geranio. The nearest beach called Flamengo is just under one mile away. Copacabana Beach is approximately twenty-five minutes drive away.

Note: two dogs live on-site so you need to like dogs.

Address: Rua Joaquim Murtinho, 383, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: couples, solo travelers

Rating: 9.8/10

Villa Paranaguá Hotel & Spa

Villa Paranaguá Hotel and Spa
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If you are looking for a luxury hotel, Villa Parananguá in Santa Teresa could suit you well. This property possibly has one of the nicest pool areas we have seen so far. But first the rooms. Exceedingly stylish with contemporary furnishings, they are bright with large soundproofed windows and high ceilings. They are all air-conditioned with balconies, minibars, coffee machines, desks, and wifi. Luxury touches include 300-thread count Trousseau bedlinen, Nespresso machines, and a complimentary pair of Havaianas. Families will be glad to know they offer inter-connected rooms. Some of the suites come with ocean views.

Their spa opened in 2020 and offers a variety of massage and beauty treatments as well as a sauna. The restaurant on-site serves evening dinner, but light options are served for your pleasure through the day and can be taken by the pool. An excellent breakfast is included in all the room rates. Relax in the large swimming pool set in landscaped gardens. Lie back on a lounger and breathe in the scent of the homegrown herbs and spices that are used in some of the restaurant’s creations. For some gentle activity, enjoy a game of Petanque.

There are plenty of attractions in the local neighborhood of Santa Teresa but if you want to visit other regions, this boutique hotel is close to the Glória metro station and from here you can be at the beach of Copacabana in fifteen minutes as well as a multitude of other places. You can be in the neighborhood of Botafogo in five minutes, and that is the location of our last few properties so carry on reading.

Note: if you are a large group, it is possible to reserve the entire place for your stay.

Address: Rua Visconde de Paranaguá 71, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: couples, families

Rating: 9.9/10

Botafogo

The Botafogo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro is to the north of Copacabana. It is a coastal area nestled in the bay of Guanabara and is protected by and has splendid views of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Botafogo is arguably one of the least touristy areas we have looked at in Rio. Its more commercial/residential vibe means it has a wide range of bars and restaurants and could be the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro, with great transport links to other parts of the city.

Ibis RJ Budget Praia de Botafogo

Ibis Botafogo
Photo credit: booking.com

As the heading suggests, this is a budget hotel in Botafogo. Most people know what to expect from an Ibis, and this one in Botafogo is no different. Ibis isn’t a name most might associate with the colorful buzz of Rio de Janerio but here we have it.

The rooms here are clean and basic. They have everything you need, and nothing more. A bed, a bathroom, a television, free wifi, and clothes storage. Choose a room rate that includes breakfast or if you want to be more flexible and only eat breakfast in the hotel occasionally, you can add it on for US $5 per person per day. Breakfast is served in the on-site café and there is a twenty-four-hour store in the hotel where you can buy drinks and snacks.

Usually popular with business travelers, this Ibis in Botafogo is also a great base for a vacation stay in Rio. Remember we said that Botafogo has a wide variety of bars and restaurants? Many of them are within walking distance of this Ibis hotel. You’ll have numerous shopping centers under one mile and of course, the beach with Sugar Loaf Mountain providing the best photo backdrop opportunity.

Address: Praça Joia Valansi, 24 Botafogo, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: solo travelers, business travelers, those on a budget

Rating: 7.8/10

Hotel Plaza Spania

Hotel Plaza Spania
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Hotel Plaza Spania is a few minute’s walk from Botafogo Beach. Although the twenty rooms are basic like the Ibis, we would suggest that this is a step up from the Ibis in terms of decor and facilities. The rooms here, although not as spacious as some we have seen, are all air-conditioned with a flat-screen television, free wifi, and a minibar too. The bathrooms are light and modern.

There is no restaurant here although they do serve a buffet breakfast which is included in all the room rates. Stepping outside the door, you are not too far from a choice of eating and drinking options. Botafogo Beach is just a few minute’s walk away.

The Botafogo Praia Shopping is really close and is a haven for shoppers. It’s one of the most famous shopping centers in Botafogo and as well as a selection of restaurants there is a movie theater here. The Casa & Gourmet Shopping center is under a mile away so you can see that this area is not lacking in the shopping department.

You are just under three miles from the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon which we mentioned before. This is a lake offering a lovely location for a daily jog or a gentle stroll. You can hire bikes here too and cycle round the seven-kilometer path. Hire a boat or a canoe to get out on the water. If you are lucky you will spot some of the local Capybaras.

Address: Rua Muniz Barreto, 554, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: solo travelers, families, budget travelers

Rating: 8.5/10

Barra da Tijuca

This neighborhood is quite a way from the others we have looked at. On the southern coast, it is approximately twenty kilometers west of Ipanema. Barra da Tijuca is known for its long stretch of sandy beaches, lakes, condos, and shopping centers. It could be the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro if you like to have big malls nearby.

Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro

Grand Hyatt Barra da Tijuca
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Our last hotel is the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro. Located right on Barra da Tijuca Beach, enjoy the sand between your toes or partake in the water activities here such as surfing, bodyboarding, and jet skiing.

The Grand Hyatt is quite grand, and each of the air-conditioned rooms has flat-screen televisions, free wifi, minibars, and air purifiers. All the balconies offer either a garden view or an ocean view. The large bathrooms all have separate tubs as well as shower and bathrobes for you to snuggle in afterward. Book a room with Club access to take advantage of the executive lounge which offers a daily breakfast and various beverages including evening cocktails. If you don’t choose a room that includes breakfast you may add it on for US $15 per person per day.

A spa and a gym on-site will take care of all your pampering and workout needs. Indulge in the steam room or sauna or try a yoga class. There are two outdoor pools complete with loungers and umbrellas. If you want the sand between your toes then the hotel provides beach equipment (check for an extra charge).

There are plenty of beachside bars and restaurants for when you are feeling peckish or just want to relax with a drink taking in the beautiful views. If you want to eat at the hotel you can choose from a selection of eateries including a multi-award-winning Japanese restaurant. The gastro bar and lounge, with views to the sea, offers pool service from 11 am to 7 pm.

Nature lovers will enjoy the Marapendi Nature Park area nearby, a green oasis in the city. It offers plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, and bird spotting. Despite being further along the coast you are not that far from the main attractions of Rio de Janerio. For example, Christ the Redeemer can be reached in under forty minutes. If you need help arranging city excursions, the concierge is always on- hand.

Address: Av. Lúcio Costa, 9600, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro

Best for: families, couples, business travelers

Rating: 8.8/10

Rio de Janeiro
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Which is the best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro?

If it is your first stay in Rio de Janeiro we would recommend staying in Copacabana. You will be best placed for the iconic attractions. Stay at the Ipanema end to get the best of both worlds.

Where is the safest place to stay in Rio de Janeiro?

Each neighborhood we have looked at are safe places to stay in Rio. There is an active police presence in all of the tourist resorts If you stick to well-trodden tourist areas and are sensible at night your vacation should be trouble-free.

How long should I stay in Rio de Janeiro?

As long as you can! There are so many things to see here we would recommend one to two weeks. If you can stay for two you could stay in different areas each week.

Best play to stay in Rio de Janeiro for families?

We like Ipanema for families. It’s a great area in Rio that has a little bit of everything. If you want a more commercial vibe with big malls and entertainment then Barra da Tijuca is for you.

Best play to stay in Rio de Janeiro for couples?

For couples looking for a romantic getaway, look at Santa Teresa for its boutique hotels and views. Or Ipanema for the sunset views on the peninsula. If you have the budget, splash out on one of the luxury hotels like the Belmond Copacabana Palace.