where to stay:
Hotel Fasano: A stay at Hotel Fasano will be nothing but trendy and fabulous. Enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop pool while taking in an incredible view of Rio and Ipanema Beach. You must get a room with an ocean view- absolutely worth the extra costs. The concierge staff will help guests with their every need from planning day excursions to making special accommodations at the hotel (their English is top-notch too!). Some say Hotel Fasano is the trendier, younger 5-star option to the Copacabana Palace. Room pricing begins at $500 USD/night. http://www.fasano.com.br/hotelaria/hotel/2
Belmond Copacabana Palace: Remember...it's all about the view! Overlooking Copacabana, which is slowly recovering its former elegance, this hotel has a classic, stucco-fronted façade with dark-wood furnishings and heavy drapes that hark back to the hotel's 1920s golden era. Sophisticated travelers are attracted by the ghosts of Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles. The 245 rooms are traditionally decorated, with original artworks. Suites in the 1940s- built Tower Wing have the best views. The hotel's restaurant, Cipriani serves well-crafted Venetian dishes, but it's more fun to eat by the pool, where locals go for Saturday's traditional feijoadastew. The magnificent, 25-metre pool is open round the clock. Room prices start at $418 USD/night. http://www.belmond.com/copacabana-palace-rio-de-janeiro/
Oztel: Contemporary artwork by local graffiti artists brightens up Oztel's concrete-and-white walls, with recycled fittings, brightly colored wall tiles and modern furniture create a hip and relaxed atmosphere. The long breakfast bar doubles as a cocktail bar in the evening, serving drinks and snacks to cool sounds. Situated on a busy road, the building is set back from the entrance, which helps reduce the road traffic noise. There are dorms for six to 14 people, plus six uniquely designed private suites. There staff at Oztel can arrange tours to the Doña Marta favela, football games, samba schools and Brazilian funk nights in Rocinha. Oztel is close to bars and restaurants, but you'll need to hop on a bus to get to the beach- in 15 or 20 minutes you'll be in Ipanema or Copacabana. Room pricing for dorms begin at $23 USD/night or private rooms at $80 USD/night. http://www.oztel.com/br/site/php?idPagina=2
where to eat:
Academia de Cachca: Caipirinhas are Brazil's greatest gift to the world of drink. It is a rum sour made with crushed sugar, limes, and cachaça (the national white rum distilled from cane sugar). The Academia de Cachaça has 2,000 different examples of cachaça, the oldest dating back to 1875, a Fazenda Capão Grosso. The Academia is something of an institution and over 11 years it has become a great visitor attraction and a source of pride to Cariocas. It is a wonderful restaurant tucked away, where you can enjoy specialties such as shredded beef with cassava cream purée or a melting cheese sauce, or fillet steak sliced and cooked in ginger.
Chumasco Lanchonete: Lanchonetes are cheap and cheerful help-yourself, buffet-style bars. At Chumasco Lanchonete, there are 50 dishes offered along a central buffet, including dozens of salads and varied tidbits, as well as more substantial chicken, beef, and fish dishes.