World travel

Carnival 2020: The World’s Best Places to Celebrate

Carnival is a world-renowned festival that traditionally takes place just before Lent and features colourful parades, elaborate costumes and lively music. Countries have incorporated their own unique traditions, making the experience different depending on where you celebrate. From over-the-top costumes in Brazil to festive parties in Spain, these places truly know how to celebrate Carnival.

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve donned our favourite multicoloured outfit and found the best places to celebrate Carnival in 2020. Along with tips to help you plan your trip to the world’s best Carnival events, we’ve also highlighted popular hotels nearby for when you need a retreat from the festivities.

Why You Should Attend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Photo| Shutterstock | NATALYA EROFEEVA

Set to take place February 21-29, the 2020 Rio Carnival festival is the mother of all celebrations, widely considered the biggest party on the planet. The parades each day showcase different Samba schools, so expect a lot of dancing, as well as all-night parties on Copacabana Beach.

Tips for Experiencing Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

  • If you want to watch Carnival, head to the Sambadrome, but if you want to be in it, celebrate on the streets.
  • Sample local specialties like “pastel com queijo” (fried pastries with cheese), then wash it down with a caipirinha made with cachaca, sugar, lime and ice.
  • Listen for “blocos”, which are lively foot parades with truck-top samba bands. 

Best Hotels in Rio de Janeiro

Belmond Copacabana Palace

Photo| Belmond Copacabana Palace | Provided by BELMOND COPACABANA PALACE

Belmond Copacabana Palace is an Art Deco masterpiece on Copacabana Beach, entertaining Brazil’s elite since 1923. Many of the elegant rooms and suites overlook the beach. It also boasts a lavish spa, outdoor pool and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, including Ristorante Hotel Cipriani serving Italian delicacies.

Each room features fine period furniture and original artwork, as well as a flat-screen TV, mini bar and traditional Brazilian slippers. Upgrade to a Suite for a sitting area or enjoy luxury living in a Penthouse Suite, which has a private terrace, pool and butler services.

Nearby Attractions

● Ipanema Beach (3.7 kilometres)
● Christ the Redeemer Statue (7.5 kilometres)
Santos Dumont Airport (7.8 kilometres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 435 – USD 1,923
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Avenida Atlantica 1702, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Americas Copacabana Hotel

Photo| Americas Copacabana Hotel | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Three blocks from Copacabana Beach, Americas Copacabana Hotel boasts a range of affordable rooms. Stay in a Standard Room for anti-noise windows, an LED TV and complimentary Wi-Fi or upgrade to a Luxury Double Room for a king-size bed and city views. Travelling in a group? The Superior Triple Room has three single beds.

Before the festivities, you can fuel up with breakfast favourites at the daily buffet. Fidalgo Restaurant also serves Brazilian and international cuisine throughout the day. Unwind at the Pool Bar, which offers views of Christ the Redeemer, or enjoy a drink in the chic Lobby Bar.

Nearby Attractions

● Parque Natural Municipal da Catacumba (2 kilometres)
● Siqueira Campos – Copacabana station (550 metres)
Balada Mix Restaurante (400 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 71 – USD 187
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: Avenida Atlantica 1702, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hotel Location

Why You Should Attend Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago

Photo| Shutterstock | CLAUDIO306

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2020 is held on February 24 and 25, the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Known as the biggest street party in the world, it’s chockfull of parties and cultural events as well as parades with sparkling bikini outfits and steelpan music.

Tips for Experiencing Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago

  • Top events include the King and Queens Costume Competition, Dimanche Gras cultural show and J’Ouvert, the official start of Carnival.
  • Don’t miss the steel band competition on the Saturday before Carnival at Queen’s Park Savannah.
  • You can purchase a steelpan in Port of Spain at one of the shopping outlets.

Best Hotels in Trinidad & Tobago

Hyatt Regency Trinidad

Photo| Hyatt Regency Trinidad | Provided by ICE PORTAL

You can experience the lively downtown Port of Spain when staying at the waterfront Hyatt Regency Trinidad. On-site dining is highlighted by Caribbean dishes on the breezy terrace of the restaurant, Waterfront, as well as fresh sashimi at Sushi Bar. Enjoy a tropical cocktail at the infinity pool and visit the expert therapists at Spa Esencia.

Rooms feature white oak floors, king-size beds and city or waterfront views, while Club Access rooms add complimentary breakfast and all-day refreshments. Upgrade to a Diplomat Suite for a kitchenette, dining table, private study and waterfront balcony.

Nearby Attractions

● Kaiso Blues Cafe (600 metros)
● National Museum & Art Gallery (2.4 kilometres)
● Port of Spain Water Taxi Terminal (4.8 kilometres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 182 – USD 491
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: #1 Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre

Photo| Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre | Provided by ICE PORTAL

Surrounded by 10 hectares of landscaped gardens, Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre features renovated tennis courts, a swimming pool with a games corner and multiple restaurants and bars, including Cascade Bar & Grill, which has an open-air deck, live entertainment and barbecue specials. There’s also a modern fitness centre and mini spa facility.

Stylish rooms feature private balconies, work desks and flat-screen TVs and can be configured with one king-size bed or two double beds. Upgrade to an Executive Room for complimentary breakfast and evening appetizers or a lavish Sundeck Suite for a furnished private sundeck, living room and kitchen.

Nearby Attractions

Town Restaurant & Bar (1.6 kilometres)
● Queen’s Park Savannah (2.1 kilometres)
● Royal Botanic Gardens (4.7 kilometres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 138 – USD 651
Guest Rating: 7.6
Address: Lady Young Road, Saint Ann’s, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

Hotel Location

Why You Should Attend Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands

Photo| Gettyimages | ARSENIO MARRERO

Held from February 21 to March 1 in 2020, the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is the second-most popular Carnival after the one in Rio. This multi-day festival features costumes, singing and dancing competitions, as well as colourful parades, high-energy parties and masquerade balls.

Tips for Experiencing Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

  • Follow the official Carnival calendar to see over a hundred music groups or hit the streets for spontaneous celebrations.
  • The 2020 Tenerife Carnival theme is “The Coquette ’50s”, so plan your costume accordingly.
  • Don’t miss the closing parade, which features the Carnival Queens, Carnival Groups and floats on Anaga Avenue.

Best Hotels in Tenerife

Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey

Photo| Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Frequented by the likes of monarchs, musicians and famous actors, Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey is a 10-minute walk from the city centre. The avant-garde hotel has more than 50 years of history and offers luxe facilities, including tropical gardens, a pool surrounded by sun loungers and a pampering day spa. Don’t forget to sample the seasonal Canary Island specialties at Aborigen.

Entry-level Double Rooms feature city or garden views and can be connected to accommodate up to four guests, while Family Rooms add living rooms and extra beds. The Royal Suite is one of the largest rooms available with a separate living room and balcony with city views.

Nearby Attractions

  • Parque Municipal García Sanabria (280 metres)
  • Plaza de España (1.1 kilometres)
  • Historical Military Museum of the Canary Islands (600 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 121 – USD 905
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: Calle Doctor Jose Naveiras 38, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

Silken Atlantida Santa Cruz

Photo| Silken Atlantida Santa Cruz | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located in the centre of Tenerife, Silken Atlantida Santa Cruz takes pampering to a new level with its modern Fitness Centre, which features exercise equipment, saunas, a solarium and Jacuzzi. At the on-site SOOK restaurant, you can choose from a varied selection of Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine.

Comfort rooms are spacious and bright, offering queen-size beds, feather duvets and digital TVs, while Deluxe rooms add a prime corner location. Access to a 24-hour self-service open bar with Nespresso coffee is available with Silken Club rooms, while Junior Suites boast separate living rooms, jetted tubs and king-size beds.

Nearby Attractions

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 78 – USD 181
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: Avda. 3 de Mayo, 3, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

Hotel Location

Why You Should Attend Carnevale in Venice, Italy

Photo| Shutterstock | SAMOT

The 2020 Carnevale in Venice, Italy begins on February 8 and continues until February 25. It’s all about the elaborate masks and outfits at this exciting event, which can be showcased at the array of lavish Carnevale balls and parties held around the city.

Tips for Experiencing Carnevale in Venice

  • Don’t miss the parades held along the canals and daily events in Saint Mark’s Square.
  • There are tailors in Venice that can make a range of handmade costumes for all budgets.
  • Mark your calendar for the grand finale, the Best Mask Contest in Piazza San Marco.

Best Hotels in Venice

Baglioni Hotel Luna

Photo| Baglioni Hotel Luna | Provided by LEONARDO

Baglioni Hotel Luna is one of the most celebrated 5-star hotels in Venice, offering a choice between romantic rooms and spacious suites. Couples can get cosy in the Canal View Room, which as an Italian marble bathroom, period-style furniture and canal views. The two-bedroom Sansovino Family Lagoon Suite adds on a large terrace.

HotelsCombined visitors rave about the on-site dining. Located steps from San Marco Square, Canova Restaurant serves a modern interpretation of traditional Venetian cuisine on its canal-view terrace. The iconic Saint Mark’s Basilica is also less than 200 metres away.

Nearby Attractions

● Piazza San Marco (190 metres)
Museo Correr (300 metres)
Peggy Guggenheim Collection (1.1 kilometres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 322 – USD 4,635
Guest Rating: 9
Address: San Marco 1243, San Marco, Venice, Italy

Hotel Rialto

Photo| Hotel Rialto | Provided by LEONARDO

Within a 10-minute walk from Piazza San Marco, Hotel Rialto boasts 28 rooms overlooking the Grand Canal. Budget-savvy solo travellers can book a Single room, while the Junior Suite Classic has a separate sitting area. For a dose of luxury and captivating canal views, stay in a Classic Grand Canal View, which also has a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

Admire the hotel’s classical 18th-century Venetian decor before stepping onto the popular Panoramic Terrace, where you can enjoy breakfast or afternoon cocktails. For other spectacular views, drive 10 minutes to Skyline Rooftop Bar to see the city sparkle at night. 

Nearby Attractions

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 91 – USD 448
Guest Rating: 8
Address: San Marco 5149, San Marco, Venice, Italy

Hotel Location

Why You Should Attend Notting Hill Carnival in London, UK

Photo| Gettyimages | JONATHAN HARRISON -EYEEM

An annual event since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival happens during a different time of year than other Carnival celebrations, between August 30 and 31 in 2020. The streets of west London come alive with a huge Caribbean party full of elaborate floats and costumed performers.

Tips for Experiencing Notting Hill Carnival in London

  • Come hungry and indulge in regional specialties, including jerk chicken, goat curry and veggie patties.
  • This is a family-friendly event where you can bring the kids, particularly at the Children’s Day event on Sunday.
  • Pack your Carnival essentials, including colourful clothes, flags, whistles and hats.

Best Hotels in London

Ibis London Shepherds Bush – Hammersmith

Photo| Ibis London Shepherds Bush – Hammersmith | Provided by LEONARDO

Ibis London Shepherds Bush – Hammersmith offers an unbeatable location near the Carnival festivities. Its on-site restaurant, Fogg’s, serves comfort food, including tasty pizzas and fragrant soups. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and a 24-hour reception can help with any tour queries.

Every room features a plush Sweet Bed, tea and coffee making facilities and a flat-screen TV. Choose from a Double Room with a double bed or, if you’re travelling with a friend, stay in a Twin Room with two single beds.

Nearby Attractions

Star Rating: 2.5*
Price: USD 170 – USD 262
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: 3 5 Rockley Road, Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

London Hilton on Park Lane

Photo| London Hilton on Park Lane | Provided by ICE PORTAL

A city landmark since 1963, London Hilton on Park Lane was the first Hilton hotel to open in the United Kingdom. Overlooking Hyde Park, Deluxe Rooms feature king-size beds, flat-screen TVs and mini bars. Upgrade to a Suite for a separate living room, floor-to-ceiling windows and a whirlpool tub.

Enjoy 360-degree city views from the 28th floor of the award-winning restaurant, Galvin at Windows, then sip champagne at the trendy CC Bar, party all night at the lively Drama club or enjoy a Mai Tai at Trader Vic’s. Rejuvenate with a 24-Karat Gold massage at the spa after enjoying the complimentary breakfast.

Nearby Attractions

  • Buckingham Palace (950 metres)
  • St James’s Park (1.2 kilometres)
  • Hyde Park Corner station (400 metres)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 311 – USD 4,579
Guest Rating: 8
Address: 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom

Hotel Location

Why You Should Attend the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Canada

Photo| Shutterstock | A.C. GOBIN

If you can’t make it to the Caribbean in February, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival hosts an exciting alternative over five weeks in July and August. Join revellers as they watch the popular King & Queen Showcase and Grand Parade.

Tips for Experiencing the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Canada

  • Revellers wind their way from Exhibition Place along Lake Shore Boulevard, so choose your parade-watching spot carefully.
  • Most visitors use the metro or ride-share services to get around.
  • Book your accommodation early, as hotels near the downtown area sell out fast during this time.

Best Hotels in Toronto

The Drake Hotel

Photo| The Drake Hotel | Provided by The Drake Hotel – BRITNEY TOWNSEND

The Drake Hotel fuses art, culture and community in Toronto with its art-inspired rooms and Underground Sleeps music venue, which hosts legendary parties. Enjoy signature cocktails on the year-round Sky Yard rooftop patio or indulge in inventive cuisine at the Cafe or Lounge. Complimentary Yoga and spinning classes are also available.

Rooms range from the cosy XS The Nook rooms to XL Suites and include perks queen-size Sealy mattresses, custom furniture and high ceilings. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, a Tech Library and unique snacks and beverages, while Suites add separate living rooms.

Nearby Attractions

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 223 – USD 304
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 1150 Queen Street West, Little Portugal, Toronto, Canada

Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel

Photo| Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel | Provided by LEONARDO

Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel is built into the Rogers Centre baseball stadium in the bustling Downtown district. The rooms are some of the largest in Toronto, offering flat-screen TVs, writing desks and coffee makers. Some also boast city skyline or unobstructed stadium views. Watch a live game from the Field View rooms or book a One-Bedroom Suite for a separate living room.

Swim in the indoor pool or workout in the gym before enjoying a meal with stadium views at the lively on-site restaurant, Sportsnet Grill. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, there’s an on-site Starbucks serving coffee, pastries and snacks.

Nearby Attractions

  • Rogers Centre (37 metres)
  • Roundhouse Park (550 metres)
  • CN Tower (350 metres)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 335 – USD 495
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: One Blue Jays Way, Waterfront Communities – The Island, Toronto, Canada

Hotel Location

Celebrate Carnival at These Dynamic Destinations

Carnival is an annual celebration that has transformed from a religious tradition into an international event with live music and lavish parties and parades. Make the most of your Carnival experience by staying at one of these top hotels, which offer on-site restaurants, outdoor pools and spacious suites. 

Where do you want to celebrate Carnival? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Charity De Souza

Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, I have been travelling with my battered backpack full-time for over a decade. My favourite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland, wine tasting in Portugal, road tripping through Iceland, snorkelling in Indonesia and watching a sunset in the Sahara Desert.

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