GETTING READY FOR RIO
From Asia, the best bet for Rio de Janeiro is to fly Emirates (emirates .com) via Dubai. That’s a 24-hour trip for flights originating in Hong Kong or Singapore.
—WHERE TO STAY
Still stately after nine decades in operation, the recently renovated Copacabana Palace (1702 Avenida Atlântica; 55-21/2548-7070; copacabanapalace.com; doubles from US$450) retains much of the glamor of the days when Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich were guests. The Art Deco grande dame also has one of the hottest tables in town, Cipriani. For something smallerscale, there’s Hotel Santa Teresa( 660 Rua Almirante Alexandrino; 55-21/3380-0200; santa-teresa-hotel .com; doubles from US$395), with 42 tropical-chic rooms set in a former planation house as well as instant access to Rio’s most artsy neighborhood.
—WHERE TO EAT
The Botafogo area has become something of a foodie hub. If you have time to visit just one restaurant there, make it Irajá Gastrô( 109 Rua Conde de Irajá, 55-21/2246-1395; irajagastro.com.br), where chef Pedro de Artagão serves up modern Brazilian dishes in a shabby-chic 1930s building. In Centro, be sure to pop into Confeitaria Colombo (32 Rua Gonçalves Dias; 55-21/25051500); founded in 1894, the venerable café and patisserie impresses as much for its old-world decor as it does for its cappuccinos and sweets.
—WHAT TO SEE
Museu de Arte do Rio (5 Praça Mauá; 55-21/ 3031-2741; museude artedorio.org.br) is the city’s newest art museum, with rotating shows across eight halls. For superb examples of Brazilian modernism, make your way to the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes( 199 Av. Rio Branco; 55-21/32990600; mnba.gov.br).