Queen of the Beach

The Copacabana Palace is the wedding cake on the beach. Blindingly white and gorgeously festooned with fanciful rococo touches, it's been around forever (or at least since 1923). And it still works. The usual roster of long-gone celebs has stayed here, but to be honest, this is where everyone—including you, me, and Madonna—books first. Yes, the 225 rooms are decidedly old-fashioned, the type that have sophisticated travelers arguing: voluptuous turn-of-the-century extravagant versus trendy-modern boutique. Alas, if only for the pool, we'd stay here over and over and over again. It's a ravishing confluence of architectural flourish and bodies beautiful. And the sixth-floor penthouse, about as Euro-fancy as it comes, has a pool of its very own. From $395 to $2,300. At 1702 Avda. Atlântica; 55-21/2548-7070; copacabanapalace.com.br.