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First Timer in Brazil - SAO/RIO/IGU/SSA

First Timer in Brazil - SAO/RIO/IGU/SSA

Old May 14, 18, 2:50 pm
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First Timer in Brazil - SAO/RIO/IGU/SSA

Despite nearly 4 million miles flown and over 80 countries visited in the last 40 years, I've never actually been to Brazil (or indeed anywhere in South America). So I finally decided to use this southern winter to head over there with the missus in August. We've done a LOT of research (probably too much as much of the advice is contradictory) and narrowed down our trip to 10 days spread over Sao Paulo, Rio, Iguazu Falls and Salvador.

However, I am struggling to make decisions related to hotels in particular. The more I read here on FT and on TripAdvisor, nothing seems to evoke more passion than the suggestion of the "right" and "wrong" neighborhoods in Sao Paulo and Rio for tourists. So I figured I'd raise some questions here and see whether some sort of consensus can be built as I make my bookings. We don't have a "budget" per se, but we are both very value conscious so we would rather stay in a cheap and cheerful place than overpay for questionable luxury. Ideal situation is a good deal at a popular place in the off season.

1) Sao Paulo

This is basically just our gateway in/out of Brazil. We'll be arriving on a Saturday evening 1700hrs at GRU and leaving for Rio on Monday at 1100hrs from CGH, giving us essentially 1 full day and 2 nights there. No particular plans as to what we want to do - perfectly happy to just go to a shopping mall or park or something for a few hours while we work off the jetlag and ease ourselves into the Brazil spirit. We're not into bars or discotheques or similar so nightlife and potential walking around after dark is not an issue. I'm also a big city boy with years of experience living and working in places with safety reputations as bad or worse than Sao Paulo, so I know how to conduct myself and minimize threat of being targeted as dumb tourists. Since we are leaving from CGH, somewhere relatively convenient to there would also be a plus (but as its an 11am flight it isn't a dealbreaker either way).

Given that I have a stack of Hilton points as well as status with Hilton, the Sao Paulo Morumbi property looks like an excellent option at around R$400 / 20000 pts, except that the location seems to be a bit away from where most people recommend for tourists. Other chain hotel options with points/status include Priority Club at the IC or the Staybridge Suites. Or any other recommendations for good value independent hotels? I don't have any significant points or status with SPG/Marriott/Hyatt/Accor.

2) Rio

This is where I'm very keen to have a good hotel experience. We will be here for 3 nights/4 days and looking at properties near Copacabana / Ipanema.

The Hilton Barra has good reviews but one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it is not the place for first time tourists. Hilton Copacabana would be ideal, but I'm not going to spend 67000 pts per night to stay there. They seem to have zero award availability for standard awards all year round.

One property that caught my eye with excellent reviews is the Best Western Premier Arpoador. I have a bunch of BW points and Platinum status there from work travel so this would be a more exotic opportunity than I ever expected to burn them. Any feedback on this one? Any other independent properties that come recommended in those parts of town?

3) Foz do Iguacu

2 nights here with a mid-afternoon arrival and a mid-morning departure, so effectively just 1 full day to visit the falls and the park. I saw the Belmond Cataratas and if the price tag were not R$1200+ I'd be sorely tempted. However, there seem to be no major western chain properties other than a downtown Ibis, so looking for a well recommended independent option. There seem to be a number of spa/waterpark/resort type properties around the area which seem decent standard. The town doesn't seem very large or far from the falls, so location is less critical. This will be more of just somewhere to grab a bite and a shower as I expect we will be out at the park/falls all day.

4) Salvador (Bahia)

Completely open on suggestions for this one. We picked it as a destination since the general reviews of it as a tourist destination seemed to be extremely positive and it struck us as somewhere that had more to offer than just a beach resort. It was actually a toss up between here and Manaus but poor flight options and schedules to/from Manaus tipped the scales. We've planned 2 nights in Salvador, but totally open on where to stay and what to do. We'd rather be in the town than at the beach however. Suggestions gratefully appreciated.

Any other comments/suggestions/advice/whatever for Brazil in general is gratefully appreciated!
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Old May 14, 18, 4:16 pm
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4) Salvador, Bahia

here's a pretty good overview of places to see in Salvador, set to the local music Canto da Cidade (Song of the City) by Daniela Mercury. Dare anyone to sit still and not dance!



The distance from "in town" (by which most tourists mean the colorful and lively Pelourinho/Santo Antonio historic district, not the actual downtown business district)
and "the beach" (the busy, interesting, closest, Porto da Barra urban beach--best people watching in the world, and an awesome sunset---
--- is about 10 minutes by local bus.
************************************************** ************************************************** **************************
HOTELS
If you want to stay in the historic district, perhaps consider the Pestana Convento do Carmo Bahia ( https://www.pestana.com/en/hotel/pes...vento-do-carmo ), one of the nicest hotels in Salvador, in a historic building in a quiet area away from the movement and music.
The Fera is new-ish ( Fera Palace Hotel ) and quite nice. Easy walk to the historic district. Easy bus to Porto da Barra beach.
Alternatively, a few minutes away, near the Teatro Castro Alves and the Praca Campo Grande at the beginning of the Corredor de Vitoria, is the --I think it's called the Wish Hotel these days (changed names a few times over the last 20 years), used to be a Sheraton many years ago.
There are a number of pousadas in the Santo Antonio neighborhood, from basic to fancier, which overlook the bay. (Casa de Amarelindo, Aram Yami, Casa de Portas Velhas, etc) And there are a few basic but comfortable hotels at Porto da Barra beach (like MarAzul, Sol or Hit).
The Vila Gale in Ondina (neighborhood between Barra and Rio Vermelho) is dramatically set on a cliffside overlooking the ocean, up a quiet little side street off the main coastal road.
The Zank (https://www.tablethotels.com/en/salv...boutique-hotel) is a couple of neighborhoods further up the coastline (maybe 15 minutes) in Rio Vermelho, but with a lively night scene on the plaza with its famous acaraje stand of Dinha and in the local music clubs and close enough to the historic district for convenient sightseeing.
The Pestana in Rio Vermelho is a bit isolated, a longish walk to the main road and plaza.
************************************************** ************************************************** *****************************
Be sure to check out the site www.salvadorcentral.com for lots of good information on the area. Author is a long time expat musician resident who runs interesting music tours to villages in the interior, like Sao Braz.

Lots to do, 24/7.
Lots of local music to hear, unique styles of Salvador, as well as jazz (Sunday Jam at MAM--Solar de uniao). To quote Pardal of Salvador Central: "Bahia’s primordial samba was born mere graceful steps away from laughing in the death-mask of presumed power. .....part of humanity’s arsenal of not only survival mechanisms, but of prevailing mechanisms. Beauty aside, therein lies their importance."

Lots of museums and churches (Go to Bonfim and get a traditional fita/ribbon for your wrist and explore the nearby candomble shops. Go to an energetic "gospel" mass at the Igreja Nossa Senhora Do Rosário Dos Pretos. See the gold encrusted San Francisco.).

Unique Bahian cuisine (Try the moqueca and the acaraje, made by women like Cira or now Dinha's daughters, famous locally for it, and the melted cheese at the beach).

Cheese on the brasa:

Lots of interesting things to buy, including leather (on the steps near Praca Castro Alves--at 3;20 in video)


and designer clothing like Didara by Goya Lopes. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goya-...99271720320897) with original, African inspired fabric designs.

Day trip to "the interior" historic and picturesque Colonial river port of Cachoeira (2 scenic hours by bus) and cigar factory across the river in Sao Felix, with maybe a stop in Santo Amaro, home of the famous singers Caetano Veloso and Maria Bethania..


Cachoeira

Day trips to the islands in the bay by motorized schooner or ferry, or up the coast by van to Praia do Forte. There is a continuous coastline of gorgeous beaches up to the north of the city to explore.
If you don't go to Praia do Forte, at least check out the beach near the farol (lighthouse) in Itapua (out by the airport), which even has its own famous song :

and the famous acaraje of Cira.



Also check out some YouTube videos of the city and Porto da Barra beach. One "character" in Porto da Barra is Joao who sells camarao (shrimp on a skewer) with his clever songs :




Be very careful not to carry valuables or wander in deserted locations: there is a severe economic crisis in Brazil currently and Salvador has not had lots of job opportunities at the best of times. Salvador speaks to the spirit of some folks and a couple of days is not enough; others can't wait to get out of there. Check your perhaps unacknowleged racism and any racial paranoia at the door (if you've never been the only white person in the room). Solteropolitanos are open, friendly, helpful, and always up for dancing the night away.

Likes/Dislikes

And in fact, in their Where to Go in 2018, (the distinctly not unprintable) Bloomberg Businessweek has named Salvador as the best "especially compelling destination" in the world:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...-to-go-in-2018

I'd be happy to help further. We live here part of the year.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
3) Yes, the Belmond is expensive-- and isolated. On the road between the town and the park, there are a number of nice resort type hotels with pools. The addresses have a km number. There are also lots of non-chain hotels in the town itself, in all price ranges. For basic, clean, comfortable and convenient, the Hotel Del Rey or the Taroba. But the resorts are a somewhat higher quality.
_____________________________________________
1) Sao Paulo
Stay in Jardins. The Renaissance is quite nice (but I stay with friends nearby). https://www.marriott.com/search/findHotels.mi
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Last edited by VidaNaPraia; May 19, 18 at 7:44 am
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Old May 14, 18, 5:04 pm
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Rio- I have never stayed at the best western arpoador but I really like that location. Right in between copa and ipanema. Others I enjoy are arpoador inn and mar ipanema. Basic to nice hotels with good prices and locations. Stay away from barra!!!
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Old May 14, 18, 9:46 pm
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GIG

Do not stay in either Hilton. They are in poor locations all around, especially the one in Barra. If you absolutely have to, stay at the one in Leme, but be careful when outside at night in that area.

Arpoador is alright, but it's not my first choice either.

SSA

Been there and stayed at the Sheraton downtown. That was a really nice hotel. Rode the elevator all the way down from the top floor with just myself and Ney MG inside, and survived !!! Don't ask me to explain, as only a Brasilian would understand.

My opinion of SSA as a destination is unprintable here, except to say it was waste of my time and I will never go back except to transit thru the airport to the resorts 1-2 hours up the coast which I enjoy.

GRU

I usually only transit thru there. Don't know the city very well at all.
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Last edited by KDS777; May 14, 18 at 9:56 pm
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Old May 15, 18, 8:28 am
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In Rio you should heed @Esmjb's advice, Those are the best locations, unless you want to splurge (US 170-200) and stay at the Sofitel which is the best location in Rio bar none. The Copacabana Palace would be memorable, but the location is not so good (but still a once in a lifetime experience worth doing if you find a good rate).

In São Paulo, especially during weekends Accor is your friend. Their rates are excellent value, and I often get the newly refurbed Grand Mercure Vila Olimpia (previously Caesar Business) for an incredible U$35 per night! The attached Pullman is also nice but not such good value. Mercure Funchal is also nearby. All these options would be easy to get into CGH on Monday. This area has high-end shopping malls (JK has some nice outdoor terraces with good cityscapes) and restaurants in nearby Itaim. Another option is to stay in Jardins, in which case you'll find the Mercure Jardins to have a great location to walk around Av Paulista and explore the points of interest downtown (and Liberdade).

In SP on a Sunday, you can/must go to Ibirapuera Park, and check out the view from the Modern Art Museum (MAM-SP) across the road. Walk around Vila Madalena, and visit Beco do Batman, with graffittis. Check out Liberdade, the japanese neighborhood and grab some good sushi or noodles.

It's easy to get around on a Sunday with no traffic and Uber.

Iguazu: do not stay (or even go) downtown: it's uninteresting and a waste of time (and resist the temptation to get an extra stamp on your passport and go to Paraguay, which is a real dump). Consider staying on the argentinean side which is the more interesting side of the park (half day on the Brazilian side of the falls is more than enough), and has better F&B options with argentinean steak & wines. There are lots of "jungle-style" lodges in Argentina, or B&Bs downtown.

Salvador: the Wish Hotel (formerly the Sheraton) is great value and is close to the historic center. The Mercure in Rio Vermelho (or the nearby Pestana and Golden Tulip) is close to some nice restaurants for dinner (Casa de Tereza is a must). If you're there on a Saturday, sunset jazz at the Modern Art Museum at Solar do Unhão is a must. I wouldn't stay in the historic center as it gets a bit sketchy at night, and the constant hawkers wear you down.
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Old May 16, 18, 8:33 am
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Rio - Stay away from Barra. It's the suburbs and you don't want to go there. The BW seems to be in a great location.
Iguaçu - don't forget to visit Itaipú. Do the technical tour - you get to go inside the dam and see how the power plant operates. It's a 30 min local bus ride away from the city (same distance as the airport, but in the opposite direction). You should pre-book the tour.
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Last edited by Palal; May 16, 18 at 8:43 am
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Old May 16, 18, 10:29 am
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If you are staying for just one full day in Iguazú falls, I would go for the Belmond in Brazil or the Meliá on the Argentine side. Never tried the Belmond and I was in the Meliá when it was still a Sheraton (I have heard it is a bit more run down now), but in both cases the location is unbeateable -- you can actually walk from your room to the falls. I did the Itaipú tour once as I was travelling with a then-girlfriend who was an engineer. If you are an engineer yourself, go ahead and do it, otherwise I would skip it, especially since you only have one day. Also I agree with @RafKa -- forget about Paraguay; while Asunción has grown on me, Ciudad del Este is dystopian.

Agree with everybody that the Best Western seems to be in a very good location. Barra is of no interest in my experience. If you wan to splurge, apparently the Fasano is the new place to be or so tell me my chic friends, but I'm too stingy to even consider paying +400 USD/night anywhere in the world.
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Old May 16, 18, 10:49 am
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My recommendations would be:

Renaissance Sao Paulo - It is right on Paulista so if you only have a short time and want to be able to walk around a few interesting places, it can't get any better. Can be a little pricey, but compare that against taking an uber everywhere from places a bit further out.

Sheraton Rio de Janeiro - Splurge a little and have your beach experience here (actually the rates are usually quite reasonable especially now with the exchange rate.) You are very close to everything in South Zone plus have a very nice 'private-ish' beach and huge pool area when you just want to chill out without any 'public beach stress'. Ipanema or area around Sofitel/ Best Western will also be nice, but to be realistic as it is your first time in RIO, you will probably spend most of your time in an uber going to the various sights in other neighbourhoods rather than wondering the streets so why not stay somewhere memorable and special? Please do avoid hotels in Barra, simply too far from South Zone and Centro that time in traffic will just eat in to the time you have to enjoy Rio and you will surely miss out on much of the vibe and beauty on offer in Zona Sul.

Salvador - More difficult to recommend. I stay in Rio Vermelho (Pestana) which is a nicer beach area than Barra with some nice restaurants but a little far from the center. However the area and is a little dodgy, witnessed restaurants (plural) being robbed just outside the hotel on more than one occaision. Perhaps have a 'cultural' experience in Salvador, ditch the chain hotels and stay in a Pousada in the old part of the city for a few days. It is charming. Otherwise the Sheraton will for sure be very comfortable and OK located.

Iguaçu - You will spend a lot of your time in nature! So if you can, try and stay inside the park. I stayed cheap and cheerful in the city once. but maybe not so recommended unless you are familiar with Brazil already.. it has a 'wild wild west' vibe much like Ciudad del Este across the bridge ;-) I also stayed at the Mercure Iguazu on the Argentina side which was really great, right in the jungle surrounded by nature.
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Old May 16, 18, 11:47 am
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Having had a good look on the map now, the BW Premier Arpoador seems to be brand new and is indeed in a good location, albeit not a typical "aspirational" location (i.e. spectacular sea & mountains view). If you don't necessarily want to use points at the BW, I ran some options on Kayak for a 3-night stay in Aug starting on a Monday:

Arena Ipanema: $100/night
Hotel Arpoador: $110/night
Sol Ipanema: $144/night
Sheraton: $151/night on Amoma (meaning you could BRG it against SPG for a rate of $112)
Sofitel: $187/night (also arguably BRG'able on Accor, which is a farce)

Needless to say, it's only worth considering these if you get a sea view room (all rooms at Sol Ipanema, Sheraton, and Sofitel should feature sea view). The Sheraton is not a consensus here, and it's arguably better if you have status, but a it should be quiet midweek, so a better chance of scoring an upgrade).
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Old May 17, 18, 11:02 am
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Wow. Thank you all for the wonderful responses, feedback and suggestions.

Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia
If you want to stay in the historic district, perhaps consider the Pestana Convento do Carmo Bahia ( https://www.pestana.com/en/hotel/pes...vento-do-carmo ), one of the nicest hotels in Salvador, in a historic building in a quiet area away from the movement and music.
This is an excellent suggestion and I had overlooked this property when doing my research. It is exactly the kind of hotel that my wife loves (as long as it is well maintained!). Thanks for pointing it out. I've tentatively made a booking here, but will keep an eye out for sales here or elsewhere that may improve the value proposition.

Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia
Salvador speaks to the spirit of some folks and a couple of days is not enough; others can't wait to get out of there. Check your perhaps unacknowleged racism and any racial paranoia at the door (if you've never been the only white person in the room).
Neither of us is white (Indian and African respectively) and we could both probably pass for locals on the basis of skin tone. We don't speak any Portuguese though, but we have traveled in Mozambique and Angola without any issues.


Originally Posted by RafKa
the BW Premier Arpoador seems to be brand new and is indeed in a good location, albeit not a typical "aspirational" location
Originally Posted by Esmjb
I have never stayed at the best western arpoador but I really like that location.
Originally Posted by Marambio
Agree with everybody that the Best Western seems to be in a very good location.
I think the general consensus has convinced me, plus I hope my BW status will count for something (although the awards already seem to book into the "Luxury Room" category). I will continue to keep an eye open on the beachfront properties at Copacabana to see if prices drop dramatically or something interesting shows up on Hotwire, but the BW seems a solid option otherwise. It is about as "aspirational" as spending Best Western Rewards points gets!

Originally Posted by RafKa
do not stay (or even go) downtown: it's uninteresting and a waste of time (and resist the temptation to get an extra stamp on your passport and go to Paraguay, which is a real dump). Consider staying on the argentinean side which is the more interesting side of the park (half day on the Brazilian side of the falls is more than enough), and has better F&B options with argentinean steak & wines. There are lots of "jungle-style" lodges in Argentina, or B&Bs downtown.
Originally Posted by Marambio
forget about Paraguay; while Asunción has grown on me, Ciudad del Este is dystopian.
Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), for unrelated reasons to this trip, I am not able to set foot in Argentina and my wife is unable to travel to Paraguay as her country of citizenship does not have diplomatic relations with them and hence they will not issue her a visa. Therefore we will be on the Brazilian side exclusively. We will arrive at 730pm on the Thursday and depart 11am on the Saturday, so while I'm still sorely tempted by the Belmond I can't really justify spending nearly US$800 for what will essentially just be a bed and shower. I've booked at the Wish Golf Resort by GJP just near the airport which has excellent reviews and a good price (around US$90/night) but as with elsewhere, I am going to keep monitoring sales to see if anywhere else has a better deal. We're going to just focus on the Brazilian side of the falls (maybe the speedboat and/or helicopter ride) and maybe the bird park if we have time later in the day.

Originally Posted by RafKa
In São Paulo, especially during weekends Accor is your friend. Their rates are excellent value...It's easy to get around on a Sunday with no traffic and Uber.
I looked at the Accor rates after reading your post and found them to be quite high for August right now, but that may change as we get closer to August. Keeping in mind that it's a Sunday and by all accounts traffic won't be as bad an issue as it is during the week, I've used points (21k/night) at the Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi for now but continue to monitor . This may be somewhere where Pricelining a 5* property a few weeks out may hit paydirt for the right part of town, otherwise the Hilton will be a solid backup.
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Old May 18, 18, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
This is an excellent suggestion and I had overlooked this property when doing my research. It is exactly the kind of hotel that my wife loves (as long as it is well maintained!). Thanks for pointing it out. I've tentatively made a booking here, but will keep an eye out for sales here or elsewhere that may improve the value proposition.
I myself prefer staying in Porto da Barra, since Pelourinho can get a little intense with all the movement and music, and I like to swim laps in the calm cove in the morning,....... and the breakfast room of the modest hotel I prefer has a killer view out over the bay. But the Convento is in a more tranquil part of the historic district, and I hope you both enjoy your stay at that lovely property.




Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
Neither of us is white (Indian and African respectively) and we could both probably pass for locals on the basis of skin tone. We don't speak any Portuguese though, but we have traveled in Mozambique and Angola without any issues.

The "vibe" is quite different from Moz, but with your experience and background, you should feel more comfortable than some. Do take advantage of all the culture and history the city offers.



Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), for unrelated reasons to this trip, I am not able to set foot in Argentina and my wife is unable to travel to Paraguay as her country of citizenship does not have diplomatic relations with them and hence they will not issue her a visa. Therefore we will be on the Brazilian side exclusively. We will arrive at 730pm on the Thursday and depart 11am on the Saturday, We're going to just focus on the Brazilian side of the falls (maybe the speedboat and/or helicopter ride) and maybe the bird park if we have time later in the day.
So you really have one full day. With any "extra" time, you could explore some less common sights, or enjoy the resort pool. The Brazilian side of the park takes about 3 hours to walk the path and take photos. The Bird Park takes maybe 2-3 hours. The heli ride is usually 10 minutes, plus any wait. The Macuco Safari maybe a couple of hours tops, including the so-called jungle walk, but afterwards you may want to return to the hotel to change into dry clothes. There's a mosque and a Buddhist temple, iirc.
There is also a boat ride up the river to a historic plantation house of scientist Moises Bertoni (who studied the Guarani indians, among other topics), if it's still running, but the place may actually be on the Paraguay side; it was interesting, but details of a visit long ago are a bit hazy
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Old May 19, 18, 12:31 pm
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Re Copacabana: If RafKa is referring to the Sofitel at the end of Copacabana across from the fort, it is totally gutted at this time, and I would expect it to be closed for quite some time, from what I see, certainly not open in time for August of this year. Also, at least a third of the rooms face out onto Av. Nossa Senhora, and I'm not sure how one would get any ocean views from that side. I'm curious to know why RafKa considers this the "best location in Rio bar none". Just a quick observation.
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Old May 19, 18, 7:27 pm
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It's being renovated into a Fairmont brand of all things too !!
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Old May 19, 18, 8:08 pm
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I did Rio, SP and the Falls in 2016. Here are my suggestions.

SP: I stayed at the Renaissance as a top tier Marriott elite. The upgrade (to a corner junior suite on a high floor) and lounge were nice and the location is pretty good, but I'm not sure it would be good value for someone without status. If you're interested in South American modern art, there are interesting museums, including the one in the park that was mentioned in an earlier post and one almost across a big street with a pedestrian overpass that's part of the University of San Paulo. If you like cool modern design, there's a stunning Design Hotel (Starwood brand) that IIRC is close to the park, but apparently isn't on a bus route from GRU like the Renaissance is.

Rio: Aim for Copacabana or Ipenema (spelling?), not Barra (unless you want to treat the new Grand Hyatt as a destination resort), Leme or elsewhere. The Sheraton is in a questionable location, although you need to be very careful even on streets around the (Belmond)Copacabana Palace.

The Falls: Wth two nights, you don't have time to do the Argentina side too. I stayed in both hotels in the park, the Sheraton and the Belmond. I would strongly recommend the Belmond if you can get a reasonable rate. It has nice grounds and the big advantage of having the walkway to the falls start just across the road. You can go early or late to avoid the crowds--hotel guests have 24/7 access although of course you should not try to walk the trails after dark. Don't miss sunset from the hotel's clock tower. The place has a big breakfast buffet, an attractive pool (much larger than the Sheraton), an interesting fine dining restaurant, and historic public areas, plus a couple fancy shops. However, standard rooms are a bit small and definitely four star rather than five star standard. I was charmed by the bird park just outside the park entrance, including having big tropical birds swoop around me in free flight. For this, you take the hotel's shuttle to the park entrance and walk a few blocks away from the park--it's well known and just on the left with good signage.

There's a new hotel association, IIRC called Grand Luxury Hotels, that covers most/all Belmonds (former Orient Express Hotels), among others. It's free to join on line and bookings through them get some limited "status" perks from the very first stay, so you can't lose unless you find a (significantly) lower rate elsewhere.
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Old May 20, 18, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by MeVoy View Post
Re Copacabana: If RafKa is referring to the Sofitel at the end of Copacabana across from the fort, it is totally gutted at this time, and I would expect it to be closed for quite some time, from what I see, certainly not open in time for August of this year. Also, at least a third of the rooms face out onto Av. Nossa Senhora, and I'm not sure how one would get any ocean views from that side. I'm curious to know why RafKa considers this the "best location in Rio bar none". Just a quick observation.
When the Sofitel in Copacabana was closed in order to be converted to a Fairmont, the Caesar Park in Ipanema was reflagged into a Sofitel. That’s what I was referring to in terms of unbeatable location (oceanfront, walking distance to nice restautants, metro, etc).
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