Most Brazilian travel guides use a five star rating for hotels—five stars indicating the best, most luxurious and expensive hotels and one star, the cheap places offering little more than a room and a shower. But this system can sometimes be deceptive and hotels which may have once had a higher rating continue to advertise themselves (and charge) at that rate even though they may have “slipped” considerably. Often, a three star hotel will be just fine as long as it appears to be clean and well looked after. If you don’t have a personal recommendation or know of a specific hotel, it’s best to consult with an experienced travel agent. They can make hotel reservations for you.
True five star hotels in Brazil are not cheap. For example, the Renaissance Hotel in São Paulo is a true five star establishment with all the appropriate amenities one would expect anywhere in the world for a top of the line hotel. It’s spectacular. Of course, at USD$ 300++++ per night for a single room, you’d better be traveling on an expense account. Many experienced travelers in Brazil opt for hotels with a two or three star rating because they offer clean, basic accommodations at reasonable rates.
In may places, what you pay for a room will depend upon whether it’s their ‘high season’ or ‘low season’. This is dependent upon what city you’re in and at what time of year. For example, Carnaval is definitely ‘high season’ in Rio de Janeiro (as well as other popular locales) and you will pay a premium price for any hotel room. ‘High season’ throughout Brazil is generally considered to be July and the period extending from December through February (the end of Carnaval). Easter is also considered a ‘high season’.
Most every hotel in Brazil includes café da manhã (breakfast) which usually consists of a buffet including various breads, cakes, cheeses, cold meats, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, juices, coffee and other accompaniments.
Many hotels include (or offer for an additional fee) individual room safes to store your valuables while your out of your room. If the hotel doesn’t have individual room safes, many will lock your valuables in their main safe. Neither is a bad idea if you have concerns.
Many newer hotels have central hot water systems but, you may encounter shower heads (in some hotels) with electrical wires coming out of them. Don’t be alarmed, these are simply common appliances that electrically heat water directly at the shower head.
Many hotels include (or offer for an additional fee) high speed Internet access plug or a wireless Internet system, if not in the room, then at least at a computer somewhere in the hotel.
Because electricity is expensive in Brazil, hallway lights in many hotels are turned on my motion detectors. Many newer hotels also employ systems that automatically turn off all room lights when you leave.
Don’t confuse Brazilian motels with motels in North America. In Brazil, motels (unlike most hotels) offer hourly rates. Get the picture? On the other hand, especially in some smaller cities, a local motel may offer the best accommodations available in the area and, usually, at a reasonable overnight rate. It’s something to consider in some situations.
Most hotels have a checkout time of between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Be sure you know the checkout time before you have to pay for another full day you don’t need.
If you’re scheduled to leave Brazil on a night flight, most hotels will store your luggage for you—from the time of your checkout until your departure for the airport. Many will do this for free but some may charge a small fee.