Rio's accommodations are among the most expensive in the world, with beachfront lodgings in particular charging a premium for their enviable locations. Expect hotel rates to be the most expensive during high season (from December through February), especially during Carnival and New Year's, and for special events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. For stays during these times it would be wise to book ahead as far as possible. The low season (from March to November) sees prices fall across the city.
As for the types of lodgings available, there are some excellent luxury options on the beachfront—most notably the Copacabana Palace and Ipanema's Fasano Rio—as well as standard chain hotels. Ipanema and neighboring Leblon are more expensive than Copacabana, but they are also safer and more pleasant to walk around at night. Rio's expanding boutique-hotel scene centers largely around the Santa Teresa and Gávea neighborhoods, while Botafogo and Flamengo offer some decent mid-range options.