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Copacabana Palace Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

5.0 stars
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Copacabana Palace Hotel

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Copacabana Palace

Ah, Copacabana Palace. One of the most famous hotels in the world, and rightly so. Although the area around it has fallen foul of overdevelopment and become a bit seedy, this hotel is still breathtaking. It's absolutely enormous, glittering white, and has a huge outdoor pool. The walls are lined with black and white photos of the great and good who have stayed here, and you'll feel like royalty yourself as you wander the pristine white corridors. Rooms at the front are more expensive but face the beach, some of those at the back look out onto Copacabana backstreets, which shatters the illusion somewhat. [more ]

The ulitmate glam Rio experience

For decades, Copacabana has held the monopoly on super-glam lodging in Rio, with the enduringly glitzy and decadant Copacabana Palace. With savvy travellers increasingly choosing to make their base in more sophisticated Ipanema, however, the neighbourhood has long been crying out for something more than smart resort or business hotels. In 2007, with the opening of Fasano Rio (sister to Fasano Hotel in Sao Paulo), Ipanema finally had accomodation to rival Copacabana Palace in the glam stakes.

From the outside, Fasano Rio looks like a block of extremely pricey, well-kept apartments. The hotel name is virtually undetectable, and the only clues that this is a hotel are the immaculately-dressed doorman and the fact that each balcony appears identical to the next. Indoors, it's a different story. The interior has been created by French designer Phillipe Starck, and this place has 'design hotel' written all over it. Furnishings blend the ultra modern with furnishings reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, and every room is immaculately kitted out with Egyption cotton sheets, plasma screen TV etc . Even the corridors are an experience - the wooden doors are virtually hidden in the wooden walls, and don't expect to find the room number on the door - you'll find it lit up on the floor beneath each door instead. In the middle of each dark, wooden corridor you'll find a huge, 60s-pyschedelic-style, candy striped arm chair, which has a large candy-striped ball (for resting your feet on? Who knows?) attached to it. The corridors have a somewhat surreal feel to them, like something from a David Lynch film.

While the whole of the hotel is beautifully appointed, the real joy is the top deck - with its marble plung pool and amazing views out over Ipanema beach to the Dois Irmaos mountains, Leblon and Vidigal. There's a bar here (only for guests) selling amazing juices (try the pineapple, grape and coconut water) and cocktails as well as coffees and snacks. Prices, as you'd expect, are high. A great place to sunbathe by day, this is the glammest place to be at night - looking out over the twinkling lights below as the city passes by.

The hotel restaurant serves good but expensive Italian food (The Fasano family is Italian) and has already picked up several awards in Brazil. You'll also want to check out the hotel bar - Londra - which has been designed to resemble a hip London rock bar - framed vinyls on the wall, leather and zebra-print chairs for lounging - and is extremely popular with Rio's young, rich and beautiful - Gisele Bundchen is a fan, and the bar has a waiting list of several weeks. [more ]

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Further Ratings (Average 4.8 of 5):

  • 9.60 of 10

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