Hotel offers Rio-style relaxation

Travel Weekly hotels editor Grant Flowers recently checked out the Marriott Rio de Janeiro. His report follows:

ven though the place he sang about is in New York, try to keep the Barry Manilow song out of your head at the Marriott Rio de Janeiro, which opened on Rio's Copacabana beach in April.

The super sounds of the 1970s might be the biggest drawback to the 19-story, 245-room Marriott, which looms above Avenida Atlantica, the thoroughfare that fronts Copacabana itself.

One advantage of the property is its youth. The Marriott is in great shape compared with many of the other hotels on Copacabana.

Yet the hotel's best feature is its location. Marriott grabbed the choice beachfront spot after the previous ownership encountered financial difficulties.

The hotel is near the center of Copacabana, which stretches for nearly three miles.

While the beach has a reputation for petty crime -- clients should pay attention when sunning on the sand -- security at the Marriott is tight, with three burly and well-dressed guards keeping watch at all times.

Entering from street level, guests will arrive in the two-story lobby, which is decorated with pink marble flooring, lights aplenty, and some cushy seating areas.

The registration desk is to the right; the hotel's concierge has set up shop to the left. Elevators to the guest rooms are to the rear.

Guest rooms are quintessential Marriott. Light green carpet, white walls, dark wood furniture, a red chair and ottoman, and glass tops on the desk and end tables. No surprises there or with the bed, which is as comfy as they come.

Bathrooms are well lighted, with stone floors, white marble walls and a powerful showerhead.

A rooftop patio offers lounge chairs, a small pool and a good view of the city.

The fitness center also is located on the roof, and guests will find the usual lineup of weights and exercise bikes, among other machines, plus a sauna.

The Marriott Rio de Janeiro also contains some meeting spaces, with its largest room capable of holding 250 people.

There are nine rooms of varying sizes in all, and the meeting level is accessed via a staircase from the lobby.

When it comes time to eat, the Marriott features Terraneo, a three-part venue with a bar, a sushi bar and a restaurant. There's also another cafe that serves snacks, coffee and juices.

Rates start at about $245 for an atriumview room and are higher for oceanview accommodations or executive floor rooms, which run about $320. The executive floors are levels nine through 12.

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