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Splitting Lodging Time in Rio???

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We are arriving very early into Rio di Janerio on a Saturday and will have a full day to tour but need to catch an 8 a.m. flight out of the International Airport on Sunday to Campo Grande. Then we return with 3 full days/2 nights to spend before departing. Everyone mentions Copacabana and Ipanema but the hotels are expensive and don't seem very unique. We normally like a boutique or smaller property and most of those seem to be in Santa Teresa. Our other interest at night is to stroll to restaurants, bars (we are not nightclubbers) and just enjoy the general vicinity of our hotel without need of public transport. Where would you stay at the start and end? All hotel suggestions appreciated....we are probably hoping to max out at $300 but would prefer to stay closer to the $200 range. Thank you!

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