La Maison A Rio
Rio is hot. And it is busy. Which means that when you're not shopping, swimming or partying, you'll need somewhere private and quiet to relax, which is where La Maison A Rio comes in. Run by a French couple, this small boutique hotel in the hillside suburb of Gavea boasts Philippe Starck interiors and a Rio essential: a pool.
Pestana Rio Atlantica
Then again, if you want to be right in the middle of the action (Rio is a party city after all), consider the Pestana Rio Atlantica, which overlooks the famous Copacabana Beach and offers cool, contemporary rooms. The best part? The rooftop pool, offering sweeping views of the beach, mountains, and city - all while you sip on a complementary Caipirinha.
Want to shop like a local? Try Osklen - an up-market Brazilian chain of boutiques offering everything from relaxed but cool beachwear to chic evening separates.
Every week in Brazil, 17 people become millionaires - and if you wander through the shopping districts of Leblon, you-ll spot some. Leafy streets, luxury boutiques and cool cafes make this beachside suburb the perfect shopping spot
Brazil has the highest population of Japanese outside of Japan - which means that the sushi here is to die for. Check out Sushi Leblon for an up-market meal.
Take in the view
Rugged mountains and sweeping beaches make for dramatic scenery, so make sure you go to the Leme district of Rio and take the glass cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. There you'll see spectacular views of Rio de Janeiro and its hinterland.
If you really want a great view, consider hang-gliding. Sure, its extreme, but not one but two marie claire staffers can vouch for this one-of-kind experience. Check out http://www.riohanggliding.com/.
Feel like a few days away from the city? Head to Ilha Grande, a beautiful pristine rainforest island a few hours from Rio. You can drive or catch a bus and ferry. But be prepared: this is a relaxed, laid-back destination. No shopping or mobile phones required.