Flying Down to Rio de Janeiro

Romance the dance, just like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did on the silver screen in 1933 in “Flying Down tio Rio.”

Arms held wide open in welcome, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado has for 80-plus years been one of the world’s most stunning urban icons. Meticulously cleaner and restored in 2010, the gleaming white image is visually stronger than ever as the face of Rio de Janeiro.

If São Paulo is the central system of Brazil, at about half that city’s size, Rio is the heart and soul of the nation. To know, to understand, and to love the people and the spirit of Brazil, make time for Rio.

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All Eyes on Rio de Janeiro for 2016

rio-de-janeiroYou cannot talk Rio without talking beach. And, these days, you cannot talk Rio without talking Summer Olympics in 2016.

It’s impossible to imagine Rio’s luxury hotel scene — indeed, Brazil and all of Latin America as well — without having Copacabana Palace come to mind as the grande dame. Immortalized by the first-time screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the 1933 classic film, “”Flying Down to Rio,”” cemented that title. Orient Express Hotels has groomed the property since 1989.

Shake off the rigors of travel with a caipirinha cocktail at the JW Marriott’s lobby bar, head for a midnight swim in the rooftop pool, admire panoramic ocean views from an ideal beach location, enjoy your breakfast eggs cooked to order in the Executive Lounge.

Direct beach access from the Sheraton Rio resort places visitors between the trendy neighborhood, Barra da Tijuca, and the famous Ipanema Beach.

Taxis are expensive, traffic is abominable. Visitors are wel-advised to pick a couple of restaurant-packed areas, such as Leblon, easily reached from the hotel. For those quite convinced that Chef Roland Villard’s Le Pré Catalan is Rio’s finest restaurant and view combination, head for the Sofitel between Ipanema and Copacabana. Could it be rival French Chef Claude Troisgros at Olympe? Head for the Botanical Garden area to compare.

Bravo to bringing out Brazil’s strong multi-cultural ethnicities, reflected in an eclectic — and highly successful — mix-up of dining out options. Go Italian, Japanese, Peruvian, or try churrascaria de rodízio, or barbecue Brazilian-style, often served as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Keep more money in your pocket by opting for a Brahma Chopp beer and pizza at Braz, the best from Italian-inspired São Paolo served in Rio’s Lagoa location.

© 2018 Coyle Hospitality Group 2016. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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