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SHERATON RIO HOTEL AND TOWERS
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
By Dwight Brown
Dwight, an executive at a major media company located in New York, is also a passionate travel writer who specializes in the Caribbean Islands and Brazil, writing about upscale hotels, resorts, dining venues, sports and cultural tours. He is a frequent contributor to Sleeping Around.
January 1, 1502. A Portuguese ship glides past Sugar Loaf
Mountain into Guanabara Bay. Its crew, believing they had sailed into a
river, names the quiet, bewitching shoreline Rio de Janeiro, River of
January. Time goes by...
January 1, 2004. The drive from Rio's airport, down Avenue
Atlântica, past the crowded beaches of Copacabana and world-famous Ipanema
is still astonishing. Hotels and apartment buildings on one side,
sunbathers, swimmers, runners, volleyball and soccer players along the
shore. Throngs of people walk nonchalantly in and out of traffic, many
sporting only painted-on bikinis. Today, this is how Rio's 8 million
cariocas, citizens of African, Portuguese and Native South American descent,
welcome their visitors. With tantalizing, people-watching eye candy.
Sheraton Rio Hotel and Towers - A Haven
South of Ipanema, the road turns into Avenue Niemeyer and
ascends the base of Vidigal Mountain. Here, away from the madding crowds,
sits the Sheraton Rio Hotel and Towers (121 Ave. Niemeyer, tel.:
55-21-274-1122 or 800-325-3535). Rio's only beachfront hotel's 559
ocean-view rooms and suites majestically overlook the
tranquil, small cove beach, Vidigal. From my 14th floor, corner suite
the panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Ipanema Beach, Vidigal
Beach and the hotel's grand veranda was heavenly.
For seven restful days, I created a vacation routine that
would be the envy of any rat-race-worn traveler. Each morning I ate
breakfast at the Mirador Café, where the buffet includes pastries galore,
fresh fruit and omelets made-to-order. Then I gathered up my magazines,
sunglasses, an MP3 player and sunscreen. (Bring at least 35 SPF, because
otherwise no matter how dark your skin the sun will fry you like a piece of
bacon.) Then I headed out to the large terrace with its tropical foliage,
three swimming pools, two tennis courts, a soccer court and three
restaurants (including Casarao, a BBQ steakhouse). Ah, paradise.
My biggest decisions for the next few hours were selecting
music, picking a magazine article worthy of my attention and choosing where
to swim -- pool or ocean (beware the undertow). I lunched on a thin-crust
pizza, accompanied by a cold tasty glass of Guaraná (a carbonated drink made
from an Amazon berry that tastes like apple juice and ginger ale) and a
wedge of orange.
At 3p.m., I shook myself out of my daze and played two hours
of tennis with Renato (pronounced He-na-to), one of the tennis pros . From the courts I made my way to the health club,
worked out for 45 minutes, hit the sauna and steam rooms, then relaxed with
a one-hour massage.
Seven days of sun, tennis, sauna, massage. Pure
Each night, by 7p.m., I was famished and looking for a great
place to eat.
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Unless otherwise noted, all photos ©Dwight Brown.
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