Rome has seven hills, and Rio has at least seven beach neighborhoods, with over 55 miles of beaches total. The most popular Rio hotels are set along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Most months of the year, the water lapping Rio's beaches hovers around a Caribbean-like 82º. It doesn't bite you when you wade in. It caresses you.
Recommended Rio Hotels: Copacabana Beach
The JW Marriott Rio (check rates) is American-owned and run.
Helpful staff at the Sofitel Rio (check rates) speak French, English, and Portuguese. The Sofitel is alluringly set at the far end of Copacabana, where it meets the adjoining tourist neighborhood of Ipanema.
Copacabana is traditional and "uptown" in feeling, but Ipanema seems trendier and more "downtown," with bars and cafés on many corners.
Recommended Rio Hotels: Ipanema Beach
The artsy Santa Teresa district, set in Rio's hills 15 minutes from the beach, houses the lovely Hotel Santa Teresa (check rates). The exquisite organic design of this intimate retreat appeals to romantic aesthetes seeking a quiet getaway.