We stayed 3 nights at the Sol Ipanema at the end of February following a cruise around South America and were very pleased with our choice in hotels.
We had a city view on the 12th floor...not much of view but that didn't bother us. Our room was very quiet with no noticeable noise from the street. There was plenty of room for our luggage and us. The a/c was very effective and the shower provided plenty of pressure and hot water. The bed was super comfortable. The room and bathroom were perfectly clean with fresh towels and sheets daily. Nice size safe in the room and Wifi worked great. We didn't have a problem with the elevators.
The pool/outside space on the top floor was tiny but afforded great views while sipping on decent tasting Pisco Sours. The sole bartender could have done with some assistance during the busy times but he was cheerful and hardworking (why can't people place their used towels in the bin and their refuse in the trash??). Breakfast was good with the typical fare of fruit, cheeses, eggs, cold meat, yogurt, and the best bread rolls ever! If you want ice in your room, you must call room service which worked out fine though a little slow in delivery.
Where this hotel falls down is in customer service and hospitality by the front desk team. For example: we observed a woman made to wait while the front desk person took several phone calls...all she wanted was change from her large currency note. Her need could have been quickly met by putting the callers on hold. We were next in line to ask about booking a taxi for the airport and after waiting 10 minutes while the phones were answered and the computer consulted, we just gave up and walked away. There are other instances we could note and each one was a small issue but when combined over the course of our 3 day stay, they added up to a mediocre, barely-warm impression of the front desk team. Live guests standing at the front desk should take priority over ringing phones and whatever computer work needs to be done. Perhaps the addition of another staff person would help if the work load is too much for 1 person?
We had 4 things on our To Do list for our 3 days in Rio: Christ the Redeemer, the Botanical Garden, beach activities at Ipanema, and the Hippie Fair. We caught a cab on the street in front of the hotel to go to Christ the Redeemer (which of course was AWESOME). The Botanical Garden was a little disappointing. Perhaps it was the wrong time of year for our visit. There were no roses in the Rose Garden nor many orchids on display in the Orchid Garden but there were huge interesting trees and tropical foliage to enjoy. We had lunch at the lovely restaurant called Le Bicyclette just outside the Botanical Garden. Lovely casual meals with a French influence, nice wines, fresh salads, friendly service and what a bakery!! The manager Jean-Charles is a great asset to the team. We walked around the Largo to get back to the hotel which was easy and interesting.
Other highlights of our stay in Rio were eating at the snack kiosks by the beach (COLD beer and reasonably priced good food) while watching the beach volleyball clubs (no hands used!) battle it out and the Hippie Fair. The Hippie Fair is not to be missed if you are in Rio on a Sunday.
We had a great time in Rio and felt safe in the Ipanema/Garden areas. Be prepared for high temps and HUMIDITY if you visit in Feb/March...WHEW!!!
Last word on the Sol Ipanema: YES, we would stay there again. Great location, Great rooms, Great value and with a some staff training, this hotel could be Excellent.
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BEST WESTERN PLUS SOL IPANEMA HOTEL
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