The collaborative brainchild of Yoo Design Studio and Philippe Starck, Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro hotel is a riot of colour and contemporary Brazilian style – and has some of the best views of Sugarloaf Mountain anywhere in the city. Overlooking Guanabara Bay and Botafogo beach, the rooms unite bold, bright furnishings with a more understated strain of industrial design, capturing the city’s vibrant soul but keeping the look contemporary. Mod-Brazilian restaurant Cariocally is split between a wood-panelled dining room and verdant winter garden, where flavoursome small plates are paired with choice South American wines. The real feather in the hotel’s cap, however, is its rooftop terrace, home to a lively pool and cocktail bar with the best vistas in town.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £113.12 (BRL817), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night on check-out and an additional local city tax of 5% per room per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast. Muesli, waffles, fresh fruit, juices and cheeses are available at the buffet; hot items like eggs, sausage and bacon are cooked to order. Alternatively, go local with tapioca and pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread).
The nearest beach is Botofago, and can be reached on foot in a matter of minutes.
At the hotel
Beach, free WiFi throughout, laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; minibar; free bottled water; Granado bath products, including a scented candle.
Our favourite rooms
Every room is splashed with bold colours and striking patterns, capturing the city’s energy and tendency for flair. We’ve got a particular soft spot for the Bossa ‘n Sugar Rooms, which have the best views of Botafogo Beach, Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) and Corcovado.
The pool is on the roof, giving swimmers uninterrupted views across the bay. It’s a lively spot, with guests mingling over cold beers during the day and reconvening for cocktails at night. There are a few poolside sunloungers, and a larger terrace scattered with white chairs and bright-blue sofas.
This one gets lively after dark, so bring your party shoes – and perhaps an eye mask for the following morning…
All public areas are wheelchair accessible, and there are several adapted rooms.
All ages are welcome, but the hotel is best suited to teens and adults. Rooms can be connected, and the common areas are easily navigated with a buggy.
The ambiance is informal but certainly not bland – colour is encouraged.
Contemporary Brazilian restaurant Cariocally is split between a wood-panelled dining room and a winter garden, the latter clad in striking tiles and finished with cascading ferns. The menu is seasonal and locally inspired, reinterpreting Rio classics for the current century. There’s a strong emphasis on healthy eating, too, with superfood salads and wheat- and dairy-free dishes. If you’re stuck for choice, order the feijoada, a hearty meat stew with black beans.
The Rooftop is arguably the hotel’s social heart, sought for its uninterrupted views of Sugarloaf and Corcovado. Cocktails are the focus, complemented by an extensive wine and champagne list. If you get peckish, there's a menu of comfort foods like bruschetta, chicken drumsticks and meat platters. DJs spin on Fridays and Saturdays, when things tend to get a little more hedonistic.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am; the all-day menu is served from 10am to 11.30pm. The Rooftop is open from 10am to 11pm.
Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro is waterside in Guanabara Bay, looking towards Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer.
Santos Dumont – the city’s domestic airport – is a 10-minute drive from the hotel, but international arrivals touch down at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, a 30-minute drive away.
You’re unlikely to need your own car: taxis are cheap and plentiful, and the Metro and bus network should have you covered for most journeys. If you do want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange it.
Worth getting out of bed for
You’ll likely be aching to hit Rio’s inimitable beaches, bars and restaurants, but the hotel has a lot to offer in that area too. The rooftop bar has some of the best views to be had anywhere in the city, making sundowners a daily highlight; local DJs take to the decks on Friday and Saturday nights, taking the energy up a gear. And, when you do head out, swing by the concierge first. They’re as connected and clued-up as any in the city, and will help you avoid the tourist traps so you can dig deeper into the city’s soul. They can also arrange local street-art and samba tours, guided morning runs and exclusive viewings at local art galleries.
During the midday heat, slip into the Basílica Imaculada Conceição, a Gothic parish church that also serves as a cool, quiet refuge on your wanders around Botafogo. For more Brazilain heritage, visit the Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa, the former home of Ruy Barbosa, a famed diplomat, writer and politician from Salvador who influenced the first constitution of the republic. The pink house has been restored to its full splendour, and is still filled with Barbosa’s furniture and effects, including his library of 32,000 books. Once you’ve had your fill of history, hit the beach for a mid-afternoon dip and round of cooling cocktails. Botafago has a large beach of its own, but if that's not close enough to Sugarloaf Mountain, try Praia da Urca, a tiny stretch of sand at the foot of the moss-green hills.
Century-old Confeitaria Colombo is a cavernous café with tiled floors, stained-glass ceilings and vast gilded mirrors. Sure, its reputation and turn-of-the-century looks have made it a bit of a tourist trap, but the interiors alone warrant a visit – even if it’s just for coffee and pastries. For dinner with stellar sunset views, try Aprazivel in Santa Teresa, a leafy district named after the 17th-century monastery at the top of the hill. Chef Ana Castilho is committed to what she calls root cuisine, prizing national ingredients grown by subsistence farmers. The simple, wood-dominated interiors and profusion of foliage fit the menu to a T – and the views really are worth the trip. L'Atelier du Cuisinier is the place for French fine dining in a refreshingly simple setting. Chef David Jobert manages to create soulful and stylish menus that don’t break the bank, making this one of downtown’s true gems. Booking is essential.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a better spot for sundowners than the hotel, but the bars on Rua Nelson Mandela are equally lively after dark. For something with an artistic lean, try Teto Solar, an industrial-style bar attached to Botafago’s Solar Theatre.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this waterfront hotel in Rio de Janeiro and unpacked their purchases from Oitis 15 design studio, a full account of their South American city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro…
When it comes to Rio hotels, you’d expect to pay top dollar for a waterfront stay overlooking sand, sea and Sugarloaf Mountain, a sight almost as famous as the Redeemer himself. The beauty of Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro is it delivers all these at a fraction of the cost of some of the city’s long-established hotels, leaving you more to spend on sunset capirihanas. You’ll need it, too, as the cocktail bar is fast becoming one of the best spots in town, not least because it’s just back from the beach in Botafogo, ensuring you get a sunset that washes the bay and mountainside in deep pink and marmalade tones. These same shades seem to have made their way inside, too, with Yoo Design Studio and Philippe Starck having sewn carnivalesque colours into their design scheme, ensuring the hotel captures the boldness and theatricality the city is famed for.