In this paper, a novel hierarchical multirate control scheme for nonlinear discrete-time systems is presented, consisting of a robust nonlinear model predictive controller (NMPC) and a multirate sliding mode disturbance compensator (MSMDC). The proposed MSMDC acts at a faster rate than the NMPC in order to keep the system as close as possible to the nominal trajectory predicted by NMPC despite model uncertainties and external disturbances. The a priori disturbance compensation turns out to be very useful in order to improve the robustness of the NMPC controller. A dynamic input allocation between MSMDC and NMPC allows to maximize the benefits of the proposed scheme that unites the advantages of sliding mode control (strong reduction of matched disturbances, low computational burden) to those of NMPC (optimality, constraints handling). Sufficient conditions required to guarantee input-to-state stability and constraints satisfaction by the overall scheme are also provided. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.