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The JW Marriott was a last minute booking and was the result of our trip needing to be completely rearranged while we were in the middle of taking it. It’s not uncommon for me to continue to make adjustments to flights, cabins, even leave without a return flight, but this was the first time I needed to rip open a trip and rework it while we in the midst of touring. Our original plan was to do a couple of nights down the beach at the Copacabana Palace, the grande dame of the beach. But, after our plans changed, rates had skyrocketed and it didn’t make sense to spend the kind of money it was charging when we would only be in town for one full day. The Copa is gorgeous and if you had a couple of days to truly enjoy the hotel, I’d say splurge. Plus, it feels uber safe.
Flash forward and we were looking at burning 32.5k Marriott Rewards or pay roughly $275 a night. Both Dave and I had plenty of points, so we each booked a night, and didn’t look back. Is it worth 30-35k points? That’s a really good question. The hotel is tired, but the location is central, and we did feel as though the hotel was secure.
- When: November 2018
- Where: Rio De Janeiro
- Loyalty: Marriott Rewards
- Status: Gold
- Points: 35k, 30k off peak
The JW Marriott is in a great location right on Copacabana beach with easy access and it’s own area of the beach with service. We arrived at night, and the street was full of people and beaming with energy. As far as JW Marriotts go, this isn’t one you’d write home about. The hotel is tired, and evokes more of a dusty airport hotel vibe than what you’d expect on one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the world. Unfortunately tourism is down in Rio as a result of crime and I just don’t think there is the money to re-invest to update properties. In fact, walking up and down the Copa you’ll see buildings that are unoccupied.
The hotel was fairly empty when we arrived at roughly 9pm. We’d arranged for a car service to pick us up at the airport and charged it to the room. Ubers do work in the city as an FYI. We were given our keys and up to the room we went.
The hotel wasn’t busy at all, and it’s sort of perplexing how Marriott properties seem to always give the worst category rooms to those redeeming points even with Elite status. Our room had two beds and faced the interior atrium.
The bathroom was in need of a renovation and not what you’d normally associate with a JW Marriott or a hotel that’s charging over $250 a night.
The location is outstanding.
The next morning we were off on our tour to see Ipanema, Sugarloaf, and Christ the Redeemer. While we waited for our guide to arrive we enjoyed the view from the hotel, which is even better from the roof.
The Pool and View
The roof is the crown jewel of the hotel and really shows what the potential could be if tourism would boom again for Rio. If it had a huge renovation it could really capitalize on an unparalleled view.
There is a pool on the roof as well as a bar that serves light snacks. This was the only dining we did at the hotel.
The spa and fitness center are adjacent to the pool and overlook the view.
The thing is…you don’t come to see the hotel. You come to see this:
The hotel is in a great location and served its purpose. If I were to go back and had some extra cash to spare, or really just the time to enjoy the property, the place to stay is the Copacabana Palace. It’s truly a gem of the beach and if you do nothing but enjoy dinner there like we did, it’s worth going to see. The JW Marriott has certainly seen better days, but the staff was uber friendly, and I really do hope that tourism increases for the sake of the people. We met so many friendly, welcoming people, and it’d be wonderful to see a resurgence of not only people, but investment around an absolutely beautiful natural wonder.
Is it weird I’m ending this post with a picture of the Copacabana Palace? It’s really pretty awesome.
South America 2018: Buenos Aires, Uruguayan Wine Country, Iguazu Falls, and Rio
- Planning a Two Week trip to South America with points and miles
- American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas
- American Airlines Business Class 757 Las Vegas to Miami
- American Airlines Flagship Lounge Miami
- Corona Beach House, Priority Pass Restaurant
- American Airlines Business Class 777-200 Miami to Buenos Aires
- Planning a weekend trip to Buenos Aires
- Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
- How to get from Buenos Aires to Colonia via Ferry
- Buquebus Buenos Aires to Uruguay
- Carmelo Resort, A Hyatt Unbound Collection
- Wine Tasting in Uruguay
- How we problem solved a passport stamp issue in Uruguay
- Colonia Express Uruguay to Buenos Aires
- Intercontinental Buenos Aires
- Andes Lineas Aereas Economy Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls
- Iguazu Grand Iguazu Falls
- Guide to visiting Iguazu Falls in just one day
- GOL Economy Iguazu Falls to Rio
- JW Marriott Rio, Copacabana
- Planning a weekend trip to Rio
- Azul Economy Rio to São Paulo
- Bleriot Priority Pass Restaurant São Paulo
- Star Alliance Lounge São Paulo GRU
- United Polaris Business Class São Paulo to Chicago
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