Of Rio’s two most famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema, Copacabana is considered the superior one by locals. While a few energetic souls engage in biking, jogging, and impromptu volleying with a soccer ball, the main activities are lying in the sun and meeting-and-greeting. Although there are plenty of teeny-weeny bikinis with thong bottoms, ironically going topless is not permitted. Vendors roam the beach hawking food, drinks, and souvenirs.
The same laid-back ambience permeates Pestana Rio Atlantica’s expansive and inviting lobby. It features several sitting areas with citrus-colored walls and the sleek Lobby Bar, which tends to attract the hotel’s guests rather than people wandering in from the beach. The hotel’s elegant restaurant, Cais da Ribeira, overlooks the ocean.
The hotel’s oceanfront guestrooms offer spectacular views of the blue-green Atlantic, the mountains, and the strip of hotels and condos lining the waterfront. On the roof is the biggest pool on Copacabana, which is outdoors and provides panoramic views. A deckside restaurant serves drinks and light meals. The staff is polite and professional, doing its best to communicate even though few speak English.