Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro

Contemporary cool among the A-listers and a historic stalwart in the Brazilian city.

Hotel Fasano

What's so special?

Located on Ipanema beach, the Fasano is contemporary and cool, with A-listers flocking to stay here. The guest-only pool is so popular, locals book rooms at the weekends just to access it.

How they rate it

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"The Fasano has usurped the Copacabana Palace as the A-list's hotel of choice," says Doug Gray in The Daily Telegraph. "The standard rooms aren't exactly the biggest in the city, and you certainly don't want the Courtyard View' if you can avoid it, but relaxing in an original Sergio Rodrigues chair watching the sun set... over Ipanema beach from the oceanfront balconies is something magical."

All in all, "the location is as good as it gets, the luxury is palpable and the service far above average, but such creature comforts don't come cheap".

The menu

The Fasano Al Mare restaurant is "one of the most adventurous Italian restaurants in the city", with dishes including seafood ravioli or spaghetti with fresh lamb.

The cost

Rooms cost from £440, but rise to £640 per night for an ocean view. Find out more at www.fasano.com.br,or call 00 55 21 3202 4000.

Copacabana Palace


What's so special?

The city's most famous hotel has been a Rio stalwart for over a hundred years. It has grown old gracefully and a recent refurbishment means it can compete with newer hotels. You also get to enjoy a reserved section of the famous Copacabana beach.

How they rate it

"Visitors to the iconic white-fronted hotel, which has accommodated everybody from Marilyn Monroe to Nelson Mandela, can expect the heritage features of the Art Deco hotspot with contemporary updates," says Alexandra Davey in Cond Nast Traveller. "The king-sized beds and their crisp, pillow-covered linen dominate the standard rooms," says The Daily Telegraph. "More marble, as well as Bulgari toiletries, are to be found in the sleek bathrooms, and the towels, like the bed linen, are luxurious." Children will love the huge pool and the rooftop court makes for an unusual tennis match.

The menu

There are three excellent restaurants tochoose from serving Asian, Italian and international cuisine.

The cost

Prices start from £312 for a standard room do request a sea view. Visit www.copacabanapalace.com, or call00 55 21 2548 7070.

The best rooftop cocktail bars


"There's only one thing better than a cocktail at the end of a hard day's sightseeing a cocktail in a fancy hotel rooftop bar," says Will Hide in The Times.

The top-floor A'YA Lounge in the Four Seasons at Sultanahmet in Istanbul (Fourseasons.com) has "awesome views of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque". Treat yourself to the signature cocktail, the Prison Rose', "named because the hotel is set in a former jail".

In Rome, "if you wanted to get any closer to the Colosseum than the bar and restaurant terrace of the Palazzo Manfredi (Palazzomanfredi.com), you'd have to be a gladiator", says Hide. The house Manfredi Cocktail' is a blend of Baileys, Tia Maria, crme de cacao, cream and white chocolate and costs €16 (£13).

The roof-top bar of El Fenn (El-fenn.com) in Marrakesh offers views stretching to the Atlas mountains on a clear day. "The riad has a labyrinthine interior through which you journey to the roof, where you canpull up a cushion and order mint tea or a £9 mojito."

Escape the heat and chaos of Florence in the summer with a drink in the terrazza at the Hotel Continentale (pictured, Lungarnocollection.com). It is situated on top of a medieval tower and offers "perfect views over the city rooftops".

The Negroni cocktail was invented in Florence, "but if you want to order one with a twist, ask for a Negroni Spagliato (€16)".

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.