72 Hours in Rio: Where to Stay and How to Play
I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Rio de Janeiro with a group of travel agents for a fabulous adventure. I had been about 4 years ago for Carnival which was a fun but completely different experience so I was excited to go check out the city without the chaos of one of their biggest celebrations. Here are my tips for a quick jaunt (or longer stay) in the city. (Afterwards, I experienced Florianopolis and Sao Paulo - more on those later!)
Most people know I am a Delta guy, but I had an opportunity to fly LATAM from LAX down and had a wonderful experience. The lounge in Tom Bradley at LAX is spacious and actually far superior to the Sky Team lounge there. We met up for a glass of wine and snacks and boarded the plane. Their business class is spacious with large seats and nice room between them. The amenity kits are cute and the service onboard was overall exceptional. I always order vegetarian meals on planes which were pretty good - almost too much food. Some of the people I was traveling with ordered other meals and they were all impressed overall. LATAM has some amazing flight deals right now from the US where you can fly to South America paying a coach fair with free upgrade to business. Ask me about it if you are planning a trip!
As part of our trip, we stayed in two fabulous hotels through Leading Hotels of the World. If you don’t know them, LHW is a collection of authentic and uncommon luxury hotels. They have properties all over the world that meet luxury standards and are one of my first “go to’s” for clients. There is a standard among all their properties that ensures a fabulous stay with the standards you expect from a 5-star property even if not part of a chain.
Our first stay was at the gorgeous Hotel Fasano which would be my first choice for travelers to Rio that want sensational accomodations, a unique experience, and a perfect location. The photos below speak for themselves but this boutique property is everything you want in a stay from sensational food (they started in gastronomy) to some of the best service I have ever found in a hotel. The location is right in Ipanema - near the “pretty people beach” and gay beach. There is a ton to do around the property as far as shopping and places to eat and also a lovely pool area. Check out the pics:
We also stayed at a beautiful property about a mile away from Fasano called Emiliano. There is one in Rio and Sao Paulo which I will talk about in another post. While both are 5-star properties, I found Emiliano to be a little more “business” and the location not as great for what I would want. It is right in the midst of Copacabana which is more of a party scene for my taste. That being said, if that is what you are going for, this is a great option. The decor is a bit more modern mixed with 1950’s and has an interesting design aesthetic. While there, we did a cooking class, yoga class, and lots of activities that were fun - they can really customize the experience to what you want like Fasano. Take a look at some pics:
What To Do
If you have never been to Rio, you owe it to yourself to check out two of the biggest sites which I did on this trip. Even though I had been before, it was magical to see both of these places again. My group met with Passion Brazil to do a VIP tour of Sugarloaf and Corcovado which includes Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). At Sugarloaf, we kicked off the day with a glass of champagne before taking the cable car up (the way I recommend doing it!)
Views are stunning at the top and you don’t want to miss out on this site - a tour gives you the extra info of what you are seeing which is great.
Even though it was a rainy day, Christ the Redeemer, was stunning as always as well! You can’t leave Brazil without a pic there! Again, you can take a tour which is definitely the easiest way to see both sites - and you can easily do both in half of a day.
Want some more tips on Rio? Zap me an email. And stay tuned for more Brazil adventures!