Latin America

The Romantic Road to Rio

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2009

Against a backdrop of thrilling natural beauty amidst the city-resort’s infectious atmosphere, Rio de Janeiro is made for honeymoons.

Romance in Rio is all about having fun, with a cable-car ride to the twin peaks of Sugar Loaf, a tram trip up to the Christ the Redeemer Statue at sunset, long walks in the city’s superb Botanical Gardens, a cultural tour of the museums and churches downtown—perhaps with a stop for a coffee and pastry at the over-the-top art deco-style Cafeteria Colombo—a day excursion to the once-royal town of Petropolis, or a jeep ride in the Atlantic Rainforest.

But there’s more…other things special to Rio that the honeymoon set will love include a speed boat ride around Guanabara Bay and Niteroi’s beaches, with a swim in blue waters in the middle of nowhere, or a sunset sail on a traditional schooner. For your adventurous honeymooners, hang gliding is different from anything they will ever have done and Rio from the air is simply stunning.

For nightlife, recommend that clients head for the Lapa neighborhood, the swinging corner of the downtown area where cariocas (residents of Rio) get together for nonstop music at the clubs and cafes. At the same time, one not-to-miss nightspot for romantics and music lovers of every age who want to dress up and step out for great live music is Rio Scenarium. Reservations recommended for this beautifully decorated and welcoming spot, spread over thee floors, including a dance floor; on tap for refreshment are magnifica caipirinhas and great finger food.

beachside romance Rio is indeed a seaside city totally oriented to its beaches. It seems fair to say that most of the visitors’ day and nightlife revolves around the Ipanema neighborhood. By day, the beachfront here is never deserted, with lounge chairs to rent, juice bars for refreshment, and some really delicious lunch treats.

Ipanema segues easily into Copacabana, rated the third best beach in Zona Sul, after Ipanema and Lebon. Here, by the sea one finds the landmark Copacabana Palace, now a member of the Orient-Express Hotels and probably the most romantic and glamorous hotel choice in town. In addition to a great location, the property offers spacious, elegant rooms—recommend the deluxe oceanfront suites located in the Tower Wing. Guest facilities include the largest pool in Rio, a rooftop tennis court, a fitness center and a palatial 3-story spa, whose array of treatment rooms includes two dual-treatment suites. For dining, guests have two choices: the celebrated Hotel Cipriani Restaurant or the poolside Pergula Restaurant.

Copacabana Palace offers a minimum 2-night honeymoon package that includes accommodations, daily buffet breakfast in the Pergula Restaurant or a romantic in-room special breakfast; a 4-course dinner for two in the Hotel Cipriani Restaurant; and welcome fruit, flowers and French champagne. The cost per room, per night is $680 for a deluxe beachview room; $980 for a pool- and oceanview suite.

hilltop escape Romantics of every age will enjoy walking up and down the old streets of Rio’s Santa Teresa neighborhood. Here, romance blooms on the tram ride past historic mansions, while dropping in at the bars and delicious little places to eat, browsing in the handicrafts boutiques—a totally different perspective of Rio high above the sea. Into this mountainside neighborhood has come Rio’s most chic and romantic new hotel, the Santa Teresa Hotel, set into the hills overlooking Guanabara Bay, downtown Rio and Sugar Loaf. The hotel, fitted into a restored plantation house, is certainly for the most romantic of seasoned travelers who will relish the decor of natural woods, stone and superb northeast Brazil arts & artifacts, not to mention its rooms with king-size beds, minibars, and beautiful mountain, garden and sea views. Other pluses here include the excellent Tropical Spa, the gourmet Tereze restaurant with superb food and great rooftop views, and the Lounge, opened under the arches of the restored slave quarters. The pool has some of the best views of Rio anywhere—magical at sunset and under the stars. Rooms priced from $325.

a getaway or two… Brazil’s romantic spots can go toe-to-toe with most honeymoon getaways worldwide. From Rio, two destinations make for an easy and utterly romantic addition to a Rio honeymoon.

Fun, sophisticated—yet informal—and beautiful Buzios is a 2-hour drive (110 miles) north from Rio. It’s the “St. Tropez” of South America, without the French attitude. Here you have a choice of 25 or so beaches (surf lessons and body board rentals on Gerbia; windsurfing off Manguinhos; wake boarding at Ferradura; and jetskiing at Centro Beach). There are schooner cruises to the beaches by day and a bevy of really good restaurants, bars and music venues along Rua das Pedras by night.