Glória and Catete
Since the 1920s, Glória’s name has become synonymous with the grand Hotel Glória (which closed indefinitely in 2008) overlooking the Baía de Guanabara. Working-class Catete is somewhat frayed around the edges, but lively and convenient. The bairro offers some very good deals if you’re not too picky.
Hotel Riazor (Rua do Catete 160, tel. 21/2225-0121, www.hotelriazor.com.br, R$70) is clean and vaguely funky if you’re in the right mood, but also kind of shabby. Nonetheless it’s only a block from the Catete Metrô and the price is very right.
The Hotel Inglês (Rua Silveira Martins, Catete, tel. 21/2558-3052, www.hotelingles.com.br, R$125 d) bills itself as the only high-quality two-star hotel in town, and thanks to a recent facelift, this claim is pretty accurate. Modern, no-nonsense rooms with all the basics and lots of space to move around make this business execs’ favorite a good choice for anyone who wants some bang for their buck.
Occupying an impressive old building across the street from the Palácio Catete, the Imperial Hotel (Rua do Catete 186, tel. 21/2556-5212, www.imperialhotel.com.br, R$125–150 d) has been modernized to the point of blandness. However, the rooms are spacious and spotless, the location is great, and the price very reasonable.
If you check into the Baron Garden (Rua Barão de Guaratiba 195, Glória, tel. 21/2245-9929, www.barongarden.com, R$90–R$110 d), an unusually located hybrid guesthouse/hostel, you definitely won’t run the risk of running into any other tourists. One of Glória’s very few accommodations options, this handsome old manor at the top of a steep hill (the arduous climb is compensated by the stunning views) offers only 16 beds, including private doubles and an eight-bed dorm room (R$45 per person).
While the trappings are hardly luxe, the house has plenty of character and a homey vibe, which is actively cultivated by the friendly owners. The opportunities to rustle up a meal in the Baron’s gleaming tiled kitchen or chill out in a hammock by the scenic pool adds to the home-away-from-home sensation.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition