Set between idyllic golden beaches, the sparkling blue of the Atlantic Ocean and towering mountains shrouded in lush tropical forest; it is easy to see why Rio de Janeiro is nicknamed the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ (‘The Marvellous City’) by locals and tourists alike.

Famed for a party atmosphere like no other city on earth, Rio offers travellers the opportunity to experience the unequalled joie de vivre of Brazilian quotidian life. From the pristine sands of Ipanema and Copacabana, the kaleidoscope colours of the charmingly chaotic favelas sprawled across the mountainside and the serene features of Christ the Redeemer perched atop Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janeiro is a patchwork of such iconic sights that even the most well-travelled explorer cannot fail to be astounded by its beauty. Having long been the playgrounds of the rich and famous, Copacabana and Ipanema – the world’s most famous city beaches, are emblematic of the relaxed and carefree carioca lifestyle. Such is the majesty of the sunset over Ipanema beach that every night a crowd gathers on the rocky outcrops of the bay to applaud it. For those seeking activity, playing beach volleyball or joining in with a football match on the sand is the perfect way to spend an afternoon on the beach like a local, whilst for the sun-worshippers, there is no better place to be than in the sheltered bays of this magnificent urban coastal paradise.

Founded by Portuguese settlers in 1565, as one of Brazil’s oldest urban centres, Rio is also a city of enormous historic interest. Besides the exquisite Imperial Palace, famous for having once served as the seat of the Portuguese Monarchs living in exile during the Napoleonic Wars, Rio is home to an abundance of structures that tell the story of Brazil’s colourful history. From the crumbling walls of old Portuguese forts dotted along the Rio coastline, to the strikingly avant-garde Metropolitan Cathedral – Rio is a city in constant artistic and social evolution. Some of the highlights of the city include the Central do Brasil bank building, the colourful and bohemian Santa Teresa neighbourhood, the baroque Candelária Church and the stunning classical-looking Lapa arches. As the host of the most celebrated Carnival on the planet, Rio pulses to the rhythm of Samba music 365 days of the year and the Samba clubs in Lapa are well worth a visit. Truly a city that never sleeps, the nightlife here is unmatched by anywhere else in Brazil and drifting down the twisted streets of the old town you’ll be enveloped by the sounds of classic rock n roll, jazz, old-school bossa nova and the hip-hop beats of Rio’s dynamic urban music scene. Just outside of the city can be found the historic town of Petropolis whilst the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin is only found in the forests an hour from the city and is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts.

Whether it’s a relaxing beach break, a week of partying to the rhythms of the Samba clubs, catching a football match at the Maracanã, time spent exploring the exuberant nature of the city’s surroundings or a leisurely wander around the points of cultural interest; Rio de Janeiro has it all. Unmatched in terms of vistas and its festive spirit – The Marvellous City is simply impossible not to love.


Our favourite luxury hotels

Belmond Copacabana Palace - Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Belmond Copacabana Palace

The Belmond Copacabana Palace is an art deco jewel set on Copacabana beach.  Perfectly located for guests wishing to experience both the beautiful sands and the urban jungle of Rio, a stay offers the unique opportunity to rest in luxury. The hotel offers a sanctuary of calm to escape the electric hustle and bustle of Rio.  Rooms are elegantly furnished with the suites a particular highlight. The hotel boasts 3 amazing restaurants, including the Michelin Starred MEE and the iconic Cipriani Restaurants. The large outdoor pool is a place to been seen alongside celebrities and enjoy a caipirinha.

Hotel Fasano - Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hotel Fasano Rio

Located on Ipanema Beach, the uber cool Fasano Rio is the first building to be designed by Philippe Starck in Brazil and is a celebration of the Bossa Nova era of Brazilian design from the 1950s and 1960s. The stunning infinity pool overlooks Arpoador beach with views of the Dois Irmãos Mountains and Corcovado. Rooms are elegantly decorated boasting private balconies with contemporary high-quality wood and leather furniture. The Fasano Al Mare offers a refined menu Mediterranean cuisine with Brazilian flair while the Baretto-Londra bar is a place to be seen.

Hotel Emiliano - Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hotel Emiliano

Located on Copacabana beach, the Hotel Emiliano Rio offers 90 stylish rooms, creating a mixture of high-level city luxury with the restfulness and intimacy of a boutique beach resort. The hotel is designed around incorporating the vibrancy of Rio into a spacious, light and exclusive environment. All the rooms are unique and individually designed to ensure they embody the intimate and comfortable design concept of the hotel.  The hotel rooftop offers an infinity pool overlooking the Copacabana stretch with a panorama spanning from Leme to the Copacabana Fort.

Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

The towering Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana stands directly in front of Copacabana Beach, providing a touch of 1950s glamour inside. This bygone glitz and charm is spread across 375 rooms and suites, two pools, a restaurant and two bars. All rooms and suites feature thick, plump beds, shiny parquet flooring and warm gold lighting with varying views of the city that include the Arpoador rocks, beach and ocean with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance. Rio’s Spirit Copa Bar servesg tiraditos, pinchos and tapas while seafood and prime grilled meats are Marine Restô’s specialty.

Hotel Santa Teresa MGallery - Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Santa Teresa Hotel Rio MGallery by Sofitel

Nestled in the middle of Santa Teresa, the historic and cultural heart of Rio, this luxurious antique gem dates back to the 1850s.   The rooms and suites are designed using contemporary architecture with references to Brazilian history.  The outdoor pool is encompassed by greenery & tropical fruit trees overlooking the Guanabara Bay. For those looking for some relaxation and a chance to indulge, then the award winning La Spa offers a range of L’Occitane therapies to sooth the senses.  At Térèze restaurant the menu offers a taste of the local cuisine with some elegant French influences.

Hotel Grand Hyatt - Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro

Situated in the heart of Barra da Tijuca, the Grand Hyatt lies between the ocean, lake and the mountains and stands opposite the Reserva Beach. This minimal, open-planned and contemporary hotel works to reference Brazilian history and culture whilst remaining cutting edge. Spacious bedrooms with complimentary locally produced Granado toiletries ensure you have a relaxing stay. The vast pool complex surrounded by greenery provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Rio. Three restaurants featuring Italian, Brazilian and Pan Asian cuisine ensure a fine culinary experience.

Hotel Miramar by Windsor- Luxury holidays to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Miramar Hotel by Windsor 

The Miramar Hotel by Windsor is in the heart of Rio on Copacabana Beach. The granite-bottom infinity pool has been designed to reflect the sea it overlooks and is particularly beautiful at sunset which can be fully appreciated from the rooftop bar. Rooms are airy and spacious, the sea view room categories offering floor-to-ceiling windows to overlook the stunning ocean from the comfort of huge beds. The hotel also has a well-equipped gym and a beach service is available with towels, chairs & parasols. For dining, the hotel offers culinary delights at the awarded restaurant Alloro Al Miramar.

Hotel La Suite - Luxury holiday to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

La Suite

Located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Joatinga, 30 minutes from Ipanema, this cliffside retreat is the stylish pioneer of the boutique hotels in the city. Each of the 7 brightly coloured suites offers amazing views of the ocean which can be appreciated from their own private balcony and are styled with exotic antiques and contemporary design features. The restaurant in the hotel is excellent and here are two outdoor pools in amongst vibrant tropical gardens. La Suite’s infinity pool is situated in a lush green garden while there is a private beach within walking distance.