We visited Rio the last stop on our — completely kick-butt — South American vacation, which also included Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls. The Porto Bay Rio Internacional hotel is right off Copacabana beach and it towers over the city, which means the views are excellent. There’s also a pool on the rooftop, which is a nice escape from the busy (and exciting) beach below, where the hotel rents chairs and umbrellas free for the use of hotel guests.
Our room was cool and boutique-y. That was probably the nicest part. The elevators are few and slow, and one of them appears to be a freight elevator, so that erodes the sense of luxury. The lobby is quite small, more like a nook next to the front desk. All told, eh: Frankly the hotel did not make a potent impression on me one way or the other. Oh! Except that! We happened to stay during the royal wedding of Kate and Wills, and I remember watching their balcony kiss from our hotel room with errant beach sand underfoot. That was fun and unforgettable. (For me, that is. I think husband was in the bathroom.)
Because of the strength of Brazil’s economy, it’s pricey to stay at the Porto Bay Rio, and probably the equivalent amount of money would buy a nicer hotel room even in one of the most expensive American cities — for instance New York. However, this of course is no fault of any individual property — in fact, go them! It’s just something to be aware of when researching options and comparing costs, and formulating expectations.
Few other things to note: The staff are very kind, and we had the help of at least one fluent English speaker.
The breakfast is adequately good and fairly extensive. If you plan to use the gym, you’ll find it on the rooftop—prime real estate next to the pool! Oh, and the hotel is right next door to the famous and historic Copacabana Palace, which is definitely worth a visit for a drink. Overall, we felt safe (though we had heard that we needed to keep our wits about us in Copacabana), and found the location was a good launch point to walk to the tonier neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon.
A fair option, but worth a look around to see what else may be available in the same price category.