Rio de Janeiro: Copacabana Palace
While New York has the Waldorf Astoria and London has The Savoy, Rio de Janeiro has the Copacabana Palace. This lavish hotel is undoubtedly the signature hotel in Rio and its attractive 1920s Art Deco exterior adds a touch of glamour to the more modern hotels that typify the Copacabana beachfront where it is located. Not only does the hotel have style but also history, and can claim Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and the Rolling Stones as some of the people who have walked through its doors and experienced its grandeur.
For a city-centre hotel, the facilities are very impressive: the hotel boasts a swimming pool, tennis court, full fitness centre and spa. Of course, literally just over the road is the famous Copacabana beach, where guests can enjoy a private beach service providing sun loungers, umbrellas, safe lock-ups for valuables as well as drinks and fresh fruit. If you’re feeling a bit more peckish then the Palace is one of the few Rio hotels to have a really good in-house restaurant, the Cipriani restaurant, which offers some of the best Italian fine-dining in the city.
Convento do Carmo, Salvador
Apart from Rio, the other city most tourists flock to on their Brazil holidays is Salvador de Bahia in the north-east of Brazil. Here, the historic Pelourinho district offers some lovely character properties. The best of these is undoubtedly the Convento do Carmo, which is set within a converted friary dating back to the 16th Century. The hotel has been converted very sympathetically, with all the rooms remaining as they originally were, with no re-aligning of walls or ugly modern features imposed, meaning each room has its own individual charm. The rooms themselves are set around a beautiful courtyard which provides an oasis of peace and privacy in contrast to the busy Pelourinho district outside.
When you do want to head out, the location right in the heart of the Pelourinho district means you are perfectly-placed to head out and enjoy the sights and sounds of Salvador’s unique Afro-Brazilian tradition. Brightly-painted colonial buildings line the cobbled streets and all the sights are within a short stroll, from the colonial Church of Sao Francisco to the Victorian Lacerda Elevator and the Mercado Modelo, as well as plenty of Salvador’s best bars and restaurants.
Iguazu Falls: Hotel das Cataratas
Heading away from the cities, Brazil’s other top-drawer attraction is the famous Iguazu Falls, which attracts thousands of national and international visitors every year. The small town of Foz do Iguacu has a disproportionately high number of hotels because of this, but many of them are disappointing compared to the natural majesty of the Falls themselves. That is certainly not the case if you are lucky enough to stay at the beautiful Hotel das Cataratas. Not only is the hotel itself absolutely lovely, but it is the only hotel actually located within the Iguazu National Park, just a stones throw from the falls themselves.
Das Cataratas is set within a beautiful Portuguese colonial residence so you get real character along with the high levels of comfort and excellent facilities. The hotel can also help organize all your trips to see the Iguazu Falls and offers its guest exclusive experiences such as walking tours through the Iguazu National Park even after it shuts to all the other tourists – perfect for that sense of exclusivity that you expect from a real luxury hotel.
Dan Clarke is a Director at Real World Holidays Ltd.