The grand dame of Rio de Janeiro is indisputably the luxurious Orient-Express hotel, the Copacabana Palace. This storied Art Deco gem opened its doors in 1923 and has hosted some of the most famous personalities in the world from Fred Astaire to Madonna.
Simply walking through the lobby, past the expansive pool (surrounded by chic sunbathers) or along the elegant hallways you’re transported back to a more elegant travel landscape than exists in many cookie-cutter chain hotels.
Not stuck in the past, the hotel offers a range of modern amenities including an ample work-out facility, beautiful spa, WiFi throughout the property, and a very hip pool-level bar, the Bar do Copa. Note: the bar is free for guests and worth checking out but note the cocktail prices are sky high and you’ll have to reserve a table to actually sit down.
The location is superb: Directly across one of the most famous beaches in the world. Just cross the street and see how Cariocas (residents of Rio) actually live. Playing, strolling, eating, flirting, exercising, and more, directly on the strand or at one of the innumerable cafes strung along the edge of the sand. It’s an approximately $6 cab ride to the gay beach and handful of gay and gay-friendly bars, cafes and restaurants in the nearby neighborhood of Ipanema.