For travelers with disabilities visiting Brazil, there are a number of wheelchair accessible hotel rooms in Rio de Janeiro.
I have personally stayed in two different Rio de Janeiro hotels, but only found one of them to be truly accessible. I have included information and pictures of both hotels here, and encourage you to share details of others in the comments below. Please note that this is not a complete list of accessible hotels in the city, only those which I have stayed in and verified.
Ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro
The Ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro hotel is located within walking/rolling distance of popular attractions including the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian, Carioca Aqueduct, the iconic Escadaria Selarón stairs, the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro and so much more.
Sidewalks around the hotel are mostly accessible, but are easier to maneuver using a power wheelchair. Public transportation is available nearby, with many city buses, the on-street tramway and several metro stations within one kilometer.
Accessible guest rooms are located on each floor (mine was #967). My room had a double bed measuring 25 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress, with 10 inches of clearance underneath. It was pushed against a wall and accessible only on the left side.
It also featured a roll-in shower with grab bars, as well as a sturdy wall-mounted shower seat.
The bathroom sink was small, but accessible. The mirror was angled for better visibility. A toilet with grab bars on the adjacent walls was provided.
My stay at Hotel Ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro was a positive one, and I would definitely stay there again. The hotel is accessible, affordable and very well located.
JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro
The JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro is located on Copacabana Beach between lifeguard posts 3 and 4. It is right at the center of the action.
The sidewalks along the beach and in front of the hotel are wheelchair accessible. Numerous city bus routes operate along nearby streets, and the wheelchair accessible Siqueira Campos metro station is less than one kilometer away.
The king size bed measured 26 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress, with 5 inches of clearance underneath. The space between the bed and the wall on either side was 20 inches, insufficient to accommodate my wheelchair. Wheelchair access is possible only to the foot of the bed.
The bathroom was even less accessible. There was very little space and the sink countertop prevented my wheelchair from rolling underneath.guest room was spacious, but the bathroom was cramped.
The roll-in shower had no built-in seat or handheld showerhead, but did have grab bars. The hotel’s only shower chair was on wheels with fixed armrests, and its seating area was a toilet seat. Due to the chair’s instability and fixed armrests, I was unable to transfer into it and could not use the shower.
The toilet was more accessible, with a grab bar that could be raised or lowered.
Without significant accessibility improvements, I would not personally be able to stay at the JW Marriott again. I hope this luxury property carrying a U.S. brand name will make the necessary investment to serve all guests equally.
If you decide to stay at a hotel not listed here, be sure to ask questions about everything—door width, thresholds, shower/tub set-up, bed height, grab bars, shower chairs—to avoid a surprise when you arrive.