Most tourists in Rio stay in either Copacabana Beach or Ipanema Beach. With the strong real, Brazil is quite expensive and hotels in Rio are very costly! We stayed at the Excelsior Copabacana for our first few days in Rio, but went to a much cheaper hotel for the last few days. The Excelsior was nice but nothing out of the extraordinary, although the proximity to the beach was great. Ipanema is considered safer and prettier, but I liked Copacabana - it's has a nice neighbourhood feel to it.
We had a room facing the street, but I reached my camera way out of the window and got this nice shot: