Hilltop Hideaways and Beachfront Beauty Spots: Rio's Most Romantic Hotels


For a romantic Valentine’s break that really sizzles, Rio de Janeiro ticks alls the boxes. This jaw-droppingly beautiful city is the ultimate lovers’ getaway, with its endless soft sand beaches, its year-round hot sunshine and its sultry samba beats. Rio  exudes sensual glamor, and there is endless opportunity to dance the night away at Rio de Janeiro’s many live music clubs and funky bars.  Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of the Brazilian summer, and sometimes coincides with Carnival, meaning the party spirit will be in full flow. 

The best Romantic Rio de Janeiro hotels are truly stunning, and range from iconic beachfront beauties such as the enduringly glamorous Copacabana Palace, to boutique hideaways.

Our top pick – the seriously stylish La Suite Rio –  is truly off the beaten track in a millionaire’s enclave overlooking the city, and is the perfect choice for anyone looking to escape the crowds.  The hillside neighborhood of Santa Teresa also has some of the best boutique lodgings in town, and while they lack easy access to the beach, they do have tropical gardens, attentive service and chic décor – usually at a fraction of the price of beachfront accommodations.


Gavea Tropical Boutique Hotel

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Visitors to Rio de Janeiro often overlook the well-to-do residential neighborhood of Gavea in favor of more famous locations such as Ipanema and Copacabana, but anyone who values space, tranquility and proximity to nature over a famous postcode would be well advised to check out some of the accommodation options in this scenic part of the city.

While there are fewer hotels here than in the beach neighborhoods, there are a number of stylish options to choose from, with Boutique Hotel Gavea Tropical being among the best of the bunch thanks to its leafy grounds, stylish decor, friendly service and abundant breakfasts.

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Visitors to Rio de Janeiro often overlook the well-to-do residential neighborhood of Gavea in favor of more famous locations such as Ipanema and Copacabana, but anyone who values space, tranquility and proximity to nature over a famous postcode…  Read More


La Maison by Dussol

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A seriously stylish accommodation option in the well-heeled, largely residential neighborhood of Gavea, La Maison Boutique Guest House has featured in the pages of style magazines in Brazil and overseas.

The setting – a fabulous colonial building set among fruit trees – is stunning in itself, and the French owners have injected a dose of Parisian boudoir indulgence to the interiors, which are nothing if not sensual. Deep red walls and supremely soft beds abound, and the five suites each have large balconies overlooking an inviting swimming pool.

For visitors looking to escape the rush and crush of Rio beachfront this is an excellent option, and there are plenty of good drinking and dining options nearby.

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A seriously stylish accommodation option in the well-heeled, largely residential neighborhood of Gavea, La Maison Boutique Guest House has featured in the pages of style magazines in Brazil and overseas.

The setting – a fabulous colonial…  Read More


Marta's Rio Guesthouse

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Copacabana beachfront is not known for its good value lodgings or its personal service, which makes this welcoming guest house such a find. The English-speaking owner Marta Miller offers personal tips and advice to all her guests, and the vast shared living spaces are decked out with artsy aplomb. Rooms are less spectacular, but the guesthouse scores serious brownie points for the large balcony with views right out over Copacabana. It’s just steps from the beach, and right at the Western edge, where ‘Copa’ meets Ipanema, making it handy for restaurants, shopping and nightlife as well as for varying your beach setting.

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Copacabana beachfront is not known for its good value lodgings or its personal service, which makes this welcoming guest house such a find. The English-speaking owner Marta Miller offers personal tips and advice to all her guests, and the vast…  Read More


Casa Mosquito

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Don’t let the name put you off – this French-owned boutique hotel between Ipanema and Copacabana is seriously chic.
Stylishly, but not stuffily, appointed, each of the suites is named for a famous Carioca (Rio local), with singer/actress Carmen Miranda and Bossa Nova tunesmith Vinicius de Moraes among those being honored. Shared spaces include a smart living room complete with abundant art, travel and fashion book; gorgeous tropical gardens; and a roof terrace with bar, pool, and views out to sea. Spa services are available. It’s a 10-minute walk to the beaches and Metro, and steep stairs mean this isn’t ideal for the frail, but adventurous luxury travelers will love the offbeat location.

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Don’t let the name put you off – this French-owned boutique hotel between Ipanema and Copacabana is seriously chic.
Stylishly, but not stuffily, appointed, each of the suites is named for a famous Carioca (Rio local), with singer/actress…  Read More


Mama Ruisa

Photo courtesy of Aforondo/Flickr

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French chic meets Brazilian cool at this super-stylish hillside hideaway in Santa Teresa. The vast colonial mansion sits in verdant gardens complete with large swimming pool, and the French owners have upped the wow factor still further with interiors that have more than a dash of panache. Each of the suites is unique in layout and decor, and the lavish breakfasts served outside under the trees are something to be savored for as long as possible. With a poolside setting this beautiful, you may find yourself spending a lot less time on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana than you had imagined.

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French chic meets Brazilian cool at this super-stylish hillside hideaway in Santa Teresa. The vast colonial mansion sits in verdant gardens complete with large swimming pool, and the French owners have upped the wow factor still further with…  Read More


Quinta Azul Boutique Pousada

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

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A relatively new addition to the ever-increasing boutique hotel scene in the scenic, historic hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Quina Azul Boutique enjoys a prime location just a few seconds´ easy stroll from the neighborhood´s main square – Largo de Guimaraes – and the strip of lively bars and excellent restaurants that surrounds it.

The location is just part of the charm of this beautiful guest house – the swimming pool, leafy gardens and attention to detail in the indoor and outdoor decor all make this a pleasant option for a stay in Rio. While not right at the top end of the accommodation options, it´s prices compare extremely favorably with many less charming options along the beachfront.

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A relatively new addition to the ever-increasing boutique hotel scene in the scenic, historic hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Quina Azul Boutique enjoys a prime location just a few seconds´ easy stroll from the neighborhood´s main square…  Read More


Santa Teresa Hotel RJ MGallery by Sofitel

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Rio de Janeiro may be synonymous with beaches, but savvy visitors are increasingly venturing inland and up into the hills of Santa Teresa.
This luxury hotel, complete with palm-fringed pool and acclaimed French restaurant, cemented Santa Teresa’s reputation as a major tourist destination when it opened in 2009, and gained worldwide attention when Amy Winehouse made her base here during her 2011 tour of Brazil. It’s now managed by Sofitel, but maintains a boutique feel.
The artsy neighborhood is full of handicrafts stores and vintage clothing outlets, and its drinking and dining scene is one of the most celebrated in the city.

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Rio de Janeiro may be synonymous with beaches, but savvy visitors are increasingly venturing inland and up into the hills of Santa Teresa.
This luxury hotel, complete with palm-fringed pool and acclaimed French restaurant, cemented Santa…  Read More


Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro

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The first hotel to rival Copacabana Palace in the glamour stakes, Fasano Rio’s prime spot on Ipanema beachfront makes it an ideal luxury base for those with cash to splash.

The discreet facade masks a wealthy of quirky design details – crafted by French designer Phillipe Starck, the interior blends cool white minimalism with playful details such as candy-striped pod chairs on each corridor. The hotel restaurant, which specializes in Italian seafood dishes, is first rate, and the bar – Londra – is a favorite hang out for celebrities visiting Rio.

The hotel’s crowning glory is the rooftop infinity pool – order a cocktail at the poolside bar, sink into the warm waters and enjoy the views over Ipanema beach.

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The first hotel to rival Copacabana Palace in the glamour stakes, Fasano Rio’s prime spot on Ipanema beachfront makes it an ideal luxury base for those with cash to splash.

The discreet facade masks a wealthy of quirky design details -…  Read More


Belmond Copacabana Palace

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The grande dame of Rio de Janeiro’s hotels, the 1920s-built Copacabana Palace is still a byword for luxury and lavish living in the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ (Marvelous City).

The hotel of choice for A-listers visiting Rio, Copacabana Palace had welcomed such celebrated guests as Madonna, Will Smith and the Obamas, and the service is as attentive as befits a hotel whose staff are accustomed to attending the whims of the very rich and very famous.

The hotel’s three restaurants are among the best in the city, while the luxury spa has brought Copacabana Palace bang up to date.

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The grande dame of Rio de Janeiro’s hotels, the 1920s-built Copacabana Palace is still a byword for luxury and lavish living in the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ (Marvelous City).

The hotel of choice for A-listers visiting Rio, Copacabana Palace had…  Read More


La Suite by Dussol

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Truly off the beaten tourist track, this hilltop hotel is located in Joatinga – a super-exclusive neighborhood known as the Beverley Hills of Rio. Each of the suites is unique,and all feature luxurious touches such as vast double showers and spacious dressing rooms. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean and Rio’s magnificently verdant mountains, the hotel’s infinity pool has views that will truly take your breath away. The hotel is a favorite with the international fashion press, who regularly use it for photo shoots. Almost next door, a tiny beach is so secluded that couples will almost feel they have it to themselves.

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Truly off the beaten tourist track, this hilltop hotel is located in Joatinga – a super-exclusive neighborhood known as the Beverley Hills of Rio. Each of the suites is unique,and all feature luxurious touches such as vast double showers and…  Read More


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Lucy Bryson

Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.




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