Rio de Janeiro is a city of parties, white sand beaches and dramatic mountainous landscapes – all of it is under the watchful eye of Christ the Redeemer. A vibrant and youthful city, Rio is also a Mecca for luxury-lovers. Its emerald half-moon cove attracts people to the city from across the globe with its exuberance and taste for the good life.
Shop In The Jewel Capital Of The World
One of Rio’s primary exports is coloured gemstones. They are prized worldwide, but buying them in the city itself is more affordable. When it comes to shopping in Rio, there is only one place to go – the district of Ipanema, which is universally agreed to be the city’s most fashionable shopping district. Shops like Amsterdam Sauer, Chloe Laclau and Francesca Roman Diana are the biggest names in Rio when it comes to shopping for the most beautiful jewellery pieces crafted from local aquamarines, amethysts, diamonds, emeralds, rubellites, topazes and tourmalines.
While in the Ipanema district be sure to check out the beachwear. Whether it is the much sought-after Havaianas flip-flops or the 'itsy-bitsy teeny weeny' bikinis that are so popular on the city’s many beaches, there is no better place to get quality beachwear. The most fashionable is at Salinas. With both summer and winter designs, getting a piece of Salinas beachwear is a can't-miss purchase.
Enjoy Cutting-Edge Nightlife
Rio is infamous worldwide for its parties, which means the city has a pretty expansive nightlife scene. While in the city during its famed carnevale, there is no shortage of parties to attend and visitors will not have to look hard to find them. However, for the discerning visitor, some nightlife scenes are better than others.
Some of the best local nightlife is located by the beaches. Whether you want to head down to Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon, you are sure to find a place full of dancing, liquor and locals. Many places enforce a dress code, so wearing shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops will most likely get you denied entry. Rio may be a beach town, but it likes to keep their nightlife classy.
Enjoy a late dinner before heading to the clubs at 11pm, when most open their doors. Popular places for dancing as well as live music venues include Rio Scenarium, Comuna da Semente and Carioca da Gema. Best sharpen up those samba skills before dancing the night away as Samba bands are the most popular live entertainment in these clubs. However, they do also book Bossa Nova, rock, MBP (Brazilian pop), blues and jazz acts.
Take To The Skies
Hang gliding is not for the timid, but it is a one-of-a-kind way to see Rio from the air. Companies like Just Fly or Sao Conrado Eco-Aventura offer reliable and experienced teams to help get visitors off the ground. These companies will run through the basics before taking guests to the Pedra Bonita Mountain, the city’s premiere spot for hang gliding. For the wary first-timers, they allow for hang gliding with an instructor. You will fly over Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world, and then be treated to breathtaking views of the sprawling city, before heading back to the mountain.
Take Pleasure In The Eclectic Food Scene
Antiquarius is a beloved establishment in the Ipanema district that is famous for its flawless reimagining of Portuguese classic dishes. It is particularly famous for the flavourful seafood dishes, including rissoles, cod and potato balls (which are more elegant than they sound) and the Lagareira codfish. The food is relatively simple in preparation, but it is displayed elegantly. Among all this mouth watering seafood is a wine list that is perhaps the most expansive in all of Rio, if not Brazil. The experienced and knowledgeable sommelier is always on hand to give recommendations on food and wine pairings.
For a more exotic eating experience, head to Apeazivel in the Santa Teresa district. Apeazival serves up pan-Brazilian dishes in a tropical garden that is full of exotic plants, monkeys and birds that serve as entertainment during the dining experience. Although chef and owner Ana Castilha is a Brazilian native, she received her culinary training at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. The cuisine is Brazilian, but has distinctive French influences from Castilha's culinary training.
The most beloved dishes include pumpkin cream soup with prawns, grilled palm hearts, and lamb chop au jus with couscous. Apeazivel's signature dish is grilled cod served with orange sauce, coconut rice and baked banana. These lovely dishes are paired with local Brazilian wine, which will be sure to impress those who previously scoffed at the local wine scene.
Be Overwhelmed With Luxury Hotel Options
As we all know, not all luxury hotels are equal. Some buildings may be beautiful, but may have terrible views or service – but there are always some truly underappreciated luxury gems.
One such gem is La Suite that sits among the towering mansions in the Joatinga district. The downside to La Suite is that there will be a bit of a cab ride to the beaches or the local nightlife, but the view from this romantic hotel makes up for it all too well. La Suite is a cliff-side hideaway, so there is no more romantic way to spend the evening than watching the sunset. Being surrounded by secluded and beautiful mansions gives this off-the-beaten-track hotel an ultra-exclusive feel. With modernist design, coloured marble bathrooms, vast balconies and twinkling chandeliers, the rooms at La Suite are the at the pinnacle of elegance.
For those the need to be closer to the beaches, Caesar Park is the place to stay. Located just feet away for Ipanema beach, this hotel is located at the heart of it all. It’s popular among business travellers and celebrities alike and prized for its impeccable service and ocean views. Be sure to book ahead if you want to take advantage of its luxurious suites though – Caesar Park only has 24 suites and they are always in high demand. The hotel does come with a rooftop pool which provides the best views in town.