I suggested by hybby Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro for our first visit to the City.   I wanted to see firsthand the recent renovations this Orient Express landmark went through under the responsibility of French Architect Michel-Jouannet.  After purchasing our plane tickets three weeks in advance (transaction done in Portuguese) it turned out we didn't really buy any tickets so we had to drive 6 hours to get to Rio.  We thought it was going to be a pain but the drive was actually pretty beautiful and it ended up being faster than I thought.  
There are still some renovations going on in some areas of the Hotel but, the main areas are finished.  The lobby was expanded, including the steps and this sitting area below was added.  Everything looks as it's been there forever.  We had a great time and can't wait to go back to Rio.
It's funny how we take airplanes, drive for long hours and go through all the hassles that comes with traveling and then we love to stay in and order room service.  This photo above illustrates how Copacabana Hotel doesn't stay short of exquisite when it comes to food.  We were only two and a half people and the half doesn't even eat!  We promised ourselves that the next time we go there we'll bring plastic containers with us to either not spend one extra dime on food for the rest of our stay or to take the leftover to homeless people on the streets. 
The Hotel's restaurant, Cipriani
The stunning swimming pool area transported me to the glamorous days of the 20's
One of my favorite experiences was when we went to visit Corcovado to see the big Jesus, as my son calls him.  The experience is pretty impressive and special. 
Pao de Azucar is that huge mountain that you see in many photos and it's also the place where many famous Rio de Janeiro pictures were taken.
We drove all along the beach coast and my favorite beach was a very quiet beach, yes you read that right, named Sao Conrado along Av. Neimeyer.  This picture above was taken there.

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