You really don't want to be driving in Rio. It is difficult, stressful and potentially dangerous. Book yourself an executive chauffeur service for your entire stay, and start by getting picked up at the airport in a luxurious, air-conditioned car.
In case your driver doesn't yet know, tell him to take you to the legendary Copacabana Palace hotel. No hotel on these shores is more glamorous than the Copa. Right across from the famous beach of the same name, the hotel has tennis courts, a semi-olympic pool, piano bar, a VIP penthouse pool, a three storey-spa, a fitness center, three restaurants and a selection of boutiques from homeware to jewelery to clothes and accessories.
After unwinding and exploring the neighborhood, head to Village Mall in Barra da Tijuca with luxury standbys like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany, Prada, Emporio Armani, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors.
Barra da Tijuca is a bit different than the rest of Rio, with American-style walled condos everywhere as well as a business district and huge indoor, air-conditioned, plush shopping malls. This is the city's new money paradise with celebrities and footballers driving around in their bullet-proof super cars. Stop in Kotobuki Barra at the Rio Design Barra for a quick sushi bite in between your exploration of the malls.
If the miles of air-conditioned corridors and thousands of shops are getting a little samey-samey, the Barra da Tijuca beach nearby has a beautiful promenade perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Once back in Copacana, book your table for dinner at the Fasano al Mare restaurant of the famed Fasano family, serving up refined Italian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.
Instead of fighting traffic around town the next day, take a trip to Búzios , a relaxed, rustic village once frequented by the biggest hollywood stars with great restaurants and charming independent shops, a little over two hours away.