Best Western Sol Ipanema Hotel, Rio De Janeiro
Hotel - Av Vieira Souto 320, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Best Western Sol Ipanema Hotel, Rio De Janeiro"
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I was traveling around South America in March 2010 and I spent 7 nights in the fantastic city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I spent a lot of time researching where was the best area to stay in Rio as I was under the impression that large parts of the city were fairly dangerous, especially for two females traveling together. Although I wanted to stay along the beach, it seemed that most reviews warned you to stay away from the Copacabana stretch of beach and instead aim for Ipanema, which is situated next to Copacabana but on a stretch of beach which is deemed safer and less bothered by violent and organised crime. So, after deciding on Ipanema, we eventually chose the Best Western Sol Ipanema Hotel to be our base for our week in this vibrant and somewhat unpredictable city!
The hotel occupies a prime spot along Avenue Vieira Souta which runs the length of Ipanema Beach. The hotel is directly in front in of Posto 9 which is regarded as the area of the beach which is very cool and "alternative" and where the hip, bold and beautiful congregate. From here, you can come out of the hotel and turn left and walk down to the Copacabana area in about 15 minutes, as well as walking down to the fort which gives you are great view of Sugar Loaf. Anywhere in Copacabana and Ipanema is walkable from this hotel and during daylight hours it seemed pretty safe to wander around freely, but if we were venturing far from our hotel at night then we would always take a taxi.Realistically, to get to other areas of Rio you need to travel by taxi or bus. We tended to go by taxi as they weren't too expensive. An estimate of how long it took to get to each place (by taxi) is below:
Sugar Loaf Mountain (6 miles) 25 minutes
Train station for Christ the Redeemer (6 miles) 20 minutes
Tijuca Forest (11 miles) 30 minutes
The Botanical Gardens (3 miles) 10 minutes
Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (8 miles) 20 minutes
The International Airport (20 miles) 45 minutes
Importantly, there are lots of nice places to eat and drink by the hotel so you can wander out and find somewhere whenever you are ready. Our favourite restaurant was about 3 minutes walk from the hotel and was called the Zaza Bistro
There is no getting away from the fact that the rooms are basic and are not luxurious in any way. While they had everything I needed, then did not necessarily have everything I wanted. The double bed was a standard size and was perfectly comfortable and allowed us to have a good nights sleep. There is a table and two chairs, but no sofa or comfortable seating area. The room does have a adequate ensuite bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink and complimentary shampoo and shower gel.While there was air-con in the room this wasn't that effective and was incredibly noisy, so much so that we often turned it off at night and just had the window open. We did complain about the aircon, but it seems that the units are the same in all of the rooms and so there was nothing they could do about it. There was a minibar and bottled water in the room, but as with most mini-bars, the items were very pricey! There is a supermarket about 5 minutes walk away from the hotel and so we tended to bring in our own drinks and store them in the mini-bar fridge for a fraction of the cost. There was a wide-screen TV in the room (which we never turned on) and a telephone for external and internal calls. Each room also has a safety box which is key locked, with a disclaimer that the hotel will not take responsibility for any items placed in it, which I feel is kind of wrong. There is a WiFi connection in the room but this had to be paid for and connection was not that reliable (but that seemed to be the case over most of South America).
The room was serviced once a day and the maids were polite, friendly and efficient. However, there was a little bit of a damp smell and feeling to the room which made the room feel slightly grubby, even though there was no evidence of a lack of cleanliness.There was a large window in the room with windows that opened outwards. The view from the window was lovely, direct onto Ipanema Beach and it was nice to be able to look out and see that every morning. However, the windows weren't the cleanest windows in the world and so this made the view a little less than perfect. Unfortunately, there was also no balcony - which would have been a real bonus to having a room in this location.
The Restaurant and Lobby BarThe main restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner and we ate in the restaurant every morning for our complimentary breakfast but never ate in the main restaurant other than breakfast. The restaurant is on the first floor and has a view out over the beach front, but it is all indoors and is doesn't have a vibrant atmosphere. To be honest, with all of the places to eat within a few minutes of the hotel, I really wouldn't recommend eating here other than for breakfast. It's not that I think it would be bad......it's just that I don't think it would be very good and certainly wouldn't be memorable or special. The breakfast served was a Brazilian breakfast - which really equates to our continental breakfast. To be honest, the breakfast was adequate, but it was not great. There were some eggs, cold meats, cheese, a few pastries, juice and of course the customary coffee. It was enough, but it wasn't the spread that I would typically be used to (yes, I'm a little spoilt!).
The other place they serve food in on the roof terrace where there are about 6 plastic tables with chairs. There is a small menu with things such as club sandwiches, bagettes, chicken burger etc. on it - which is all actually quite tasty for a lunchtime snack. There is also a drinks bar which does really delicious freshly made cocktails using fresh ingredients. It is quite nice eating up here because it's out in the open air and there is a birdseye view of Copacabana and Ipanema. The only negative thing about eating up here was the fact that there isn't a lot of room and there are only a few tables and sometimes demand exceeds supply and so you need to wait for someone to vacate before you can sit down.The Lobby Bar is, unsurprisingly, in the lobby. It is very small and is bang in the middle of the reception area. It's fine to sit there and have a drink if you're waiting for a taxi to come and pick you up, or if you've got back in after a night out, but it's not the type of bar where you would want to spend very much time just because it hasn't got any atmosphere and feels a bit like a cafe. Having said that, the barmen are really friendly and will do their best to make you comfortable.
Roof Terrace and Swimming PoolRight at the top of the building, there is a small roof terrace which has a small swimming pool, small sun deck and a little cafe / bar area. It is a very small space but generally isn't used by many people as most seem to prefer the beach. Around 5pm and lunch time when people take a break from the beach, the area can get a little crowded - but outside of these hours it's okay. There are a couple of sun loungers and some plastic tables and chairs so you can sit out.
There is a dip pool which you really can't call a swimming pool because it is simply too small to swim in it. It's probably about 8ft x 8ft and is about shoulder depth - but it is clean and it is fine to get in to cool off. What is nice about the pool, infact the whole roof terrace area, is the fact that you have a lovely view of the beaches, forest and city area which has to be one of the best views in Rio.As I said previously, there is a bar area which serves soft drinks, cocktails and snacks - and the staff are friendly and efficient.
The Staff and ServicesAll staff that we came across were friendly and eager to please. Check in was relatively quick (about 5 minutes) and we had a porter take us up to the room with our cases. All of the bar and restaurant staff were friendly and efficient. However, with the exception of the reception staff, their english wasn't the best but we did muddle through with a combination of speaking english and spanish - and they were patient with us when we tried to explain what it was we needed or wanted.
There was a beach service on the ground floor of the hotel (you had to go out of the hotel and there was a door which went into a basement area) where you could get beach umbrellas, chairs and beach towels - all of which were complimentary, but you did have to cart them over the road to the beach yourself.There was a concierge who doubled up as the man that manned the bell desk - but I wouldn't say that the concierge services were very well developed. If you know exactly what you want then they will arrange it for you, but they aren't great at giving suggestions or recommendations and so I advise you research before you come. They will book taxis for you and transportation to the airport without any trouble.
I would say that the services are adequate and perfectly acceptable for a tourist class hotel, but considering the price of the hotel, I would expect a little more.
The bottom line. How much does it cost?So, being a Best Western, I assumed that this hotel would be fairly reasonable in price as this has been my experience in other parts of the world. However, this is Rio and nothing really comes cheap, and staying in a property that fronts along the world famous Ipanema Beach does not come cheap!
There are only two types of room - a standard and a deluxe, and from what I can ascertain, the deluxe rooms are the same rooms except for the fact that they look out onto the beach front (which, lets face it, is the view that everybody wants!). We had a double deluxe room which cost us around £275 per room per night (or alternatively we could have had the standard room for a little less at £225). A week staying at this hotel therefore cost us just over £1900 (inclusive of taxes) which, for this type of property, is really pretty extortionate. However, as my research, I did find that most decent basic properties within the Ipanema Beach area were around this price or more. Sure, if you were happy to stay in a hostel or in a less safe neighbourhood then you could get a much more reasonable price - but if you want beachfront and you want Ipanema then it's going to cost you.Do I think it was worth this price? No. Would I pay it again? Probably, because it delivered on everything I needed and it felt safe and secure. I booked it via the Best Western website which was easy to use - but confirmation wasn't immediate and I did need to wait about 24 hours for confirmation from the hotel.
OverallOverall, I think this is a tourist class hotel which occupies a prime position in one of the most fascinating and glorious city's on earth. It will give you the basics in as much as it is central, clean, safe and friendly, but it lacks atmosphere and the 5 star service that you would expect if you were paying almost £2000 for a week (but that's Rio for you!). If I was to go to Rio again, I would probably choose another hotel without the prime beachfront location and have to walk a few blocks to the beach, but I would stay within the Ipanema area (such as the Mercure Apartments Rio De Janeiro Arpoador which costs about £850 for a week). So, the Sol Ipanema is an okay hotel, but it just isn't worth as much as it costs to stay there.
Product Information : Best Western Sol Ipanema Hotel, Rio De Janeiro
Manufacturer's product descriptionHotel - Av Vieira Souto 320, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Long Name: Best Western Sol Ipanema Hotel
Street: Av Vieira Souto 320
Address: Av Vieira Souto 320, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
City: Rio De Janeiro
Continent: South & Central America
Listed on Ciao since: 28/05/2009