LAST UPDATED: 18th September 2014 at 11:59am

If Brazil is hot right now, Rio is sizzling. World Cup fever has given way to Olympics buzz - only adding to the stupendous natural beauty of the city that winds its way around beaches and up forested hills, all watched over by Christ the Redeemer himself.


Copacabana may not be as hip as next-door Ipanema, or have the boho cool of the hillside Santa Teresa barrio, but the beach steals it in the old-school glamour stakes - thanks in part to the gleaming Copacabana Palace Hotel presiding over it. This grande dame got a £10million facelift in time for her 90th birthday in 2013, and is continuing to jazz herself up with a buzzy new Asian restaurant from celebrity chef Ken Hom. The vibe, however, is still very much classic five-star grandeur; there's polished marble and glittering chandeliers at every turn, staff who appear the second before you realise you need them, and a fair sprinkling of stars (everyone from The Stones to Robert Pattinson have stayed).


WOW FACTOR Borrow a bike and head along the beachfront path to Ipanema beach. Stop on the way for a refreshing coconut, and more people-watching.

GO A double room costs from £433, B&B; TAM return flights start at £819


LAST UPDATED: 5th January 2012 at 5:03pm

The legendary Copacabana Palace Hotel has been welcoming the rich and famous since its art deco doors first swung open in 1923. Tradition is everywhere here, but the Palace moves with the times and opened a chichi poolside bar and spa. There is, of course, a beautiful hotel pool, but the place to be is the beach. Don't miss out on a tram ride through the bohemian Santa Teresa district or a trip up to marvel at the Christ the Redeemer statue. A cable car will take you to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, which is best visited just as the sun sets and the city starts to magically light up far below you. Wow factor: The penthouse suites with an unbelievable sea view. Go: Jacada Travel ( offers five nights B&B from £1,530 per person, including British Airways flights, transfers and a private tour of Rio.