Río de Janeiro, Brasil
Often simply called “Rio,” the capital of the eponymous capital of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro needs no introduction for any travel-savvy Royal Holiday member. With famous beaches such as Ipanema and the Copacabana, as well as a population that constitutes the second-largest city in the entire country, Rio de Janeiro has everything vacationers love about Brazil: year-round sunshine, perfect sandy beaches, and a vibrant culture that continues to fascinate year after year. Royal Holiday members who have yet to experience the wonders of Rio would do well to visit. They will soon find themselves, like many others before them, returning time and time again to experience this astounding city.
The Royal Holiday affiliate in Rio, the Rio Othon Palace, is located at the heart of the city’s year-round party in the midst of the fashionable luxury hotels of Copacabana. Its comfortable studio rooms come complete with excellent sea views and satellite TV, while the hotel itself boasts a heated swimming pool; on-site massage therapy and sauna; and a fitness club, making it the perfect place for romantic getaways and working vacations alike. The Rio Othon’s sumptuously appointed grounds and rooms, as well as the short walk from lobby to beach and the quick drive from the hotel to everything the city has to offer, make it the perfect place to set up a base camp for exploring Rio.
First discovered by Portuguese explorers near the turn of the 14th century and founded as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Rio has long been one of the most important cities in Brazil. As the seat of the one-time royal family, it has also served as the country’s capital after it became a republic until the government moved to the purpose-built Brasilia. Today, Royal Holiday members will find one of the unofficial capitals of South America. Rio possesses dozens of universities, many headquarters for major Brazilian companies, and a cultural heritage that has lasted for centuries.
Naturally, the famous beaches of Rio are the main draw. Copacabana and Ipanema have been immortalized in song, and Royal Holiday members have found the legends to be true year after year. Ipanema offers a world-class beach surrounded by a posh South Zone neighborhood, and visitors should keep in mind the “postos,” or poles, that subdivide the beach into neighborhoods of their own. Copacabana tends to be more lively, with shouting vendors and kiosk operators at one end and the imposing Fort Copacabana at the end. While the beach offers all manner of seaside fun, ranging from sunbathing to beach volleyball, the promenade along the beach is equally famous, with its fanciful designs and excellent opportunities for people watching.
Royal Holiday members who hope to beat the heat inside the city limits will find an urban landscape that abounds with culture and excitement. Those looking to experience history firsthand would do well to take a stroll through Santa Teresa, with its old-world charms, while partying enthusiasts will likely want to spend their evenings in the downtown Lapa area, which offers plentiful caipirinhas to drink and access to the famed Escadaria Selarón. The urban jungle gives way to the actual jungle at the Tijuca National Park, which offers hiking paths to incredible views of the bay, as well as the noted Mayrink Chapel, while the more orderly Jardim Botanico, or Botanical Garden, serves admirably as an introduction to the famed biodiversity of the region. Royal Holiday members looking for adventure will enjoy a trip up Sugarloaf mountain, with its impressive cable cars, while the spiritually inclined will seek out a trip to the peak of Corcovado, where the Christ the Redeemer statue watches over the city.