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“Amazing place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Abbey of Design

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Abbey of Design
Rua Saint Roman, 301 | Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22071-060, Brazil (Copacabana)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #16 of 234 Rio de Janeiro B&B and Inns
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Amazing place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

I was a little hesitant to book this place since there weren't very many reviews on Trip Advisor, but boy am I glad I did! My husband and I just got back from 2 weeks in Brazil and Abbey of Design was by far our favorite accommodation. The property is amazing...very open and spacious, hip/artsy, and homey all at the same time. Fred was great every morning giving us tips/ideas for sight-seeing and fun things to do in the city. He gave us some great restaurant recommendations as well that ended up being some of our best meals of the whole trip! FRED - WE MISS YOU! The breakfasts in the morning were also epic (LOVED the yogurt parfait!), and it was a real treat to have the option to sit in the garden. The only thing that would have made this place better would have been if they accepted credit cards for booking, but honestly it was a small inconvenience for a great place. Great location too!

Room Tip: We loved having a room with our own bathroom. Make sure to specify if you want your own bathroom or...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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18 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013 via mobile

Nothing but good things to say about the Abbey of Design! Situated on the best location, between Ipanema and Copacabana, the former convent is decorated with fine taste by owner Chafik. And Fred, who manages the place with great dedication, told us all the ins and outs of Rio and was always there for a chat or to help us. We started our Brazil trip in the Abbey and liked it so much that we came back for our last days in Rio. Will miss those delicious breakfasts!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

We weren't sure what to expect at the Abbey save for a few reviews here on Trip Advisor, however, Fred and Chafik were really nice guys - most welcoming hosts. The property is simply amazing -- overall a great experience! The space is very hip/design conscious, fabulous homemade breakfasts and just a short walk in-between Copacabana and Ipanema. The location worried us slightly on arrival, as it's very close (literally a few moments walk) to Cantagalo Favela, however it was really quiet at night, and we never once felt un-safe. The Abbey itself is like a little quiet oasis amongst a lot of hustle and bustle. Would definitely recommend and will stay there again if I am ever in Rio!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Carrboro, NC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

To be honest, I was a little nervous when I booked my room at Abbey of Design. It was surprisingly cheap and had a small number of glowing reviews. They also said that they would only accept payments by bank transfer. I honestly wondered if it was a scam and that the reviews were shills, because I had trouble believing that a hotel in such a great location with such a competitive price wasn't more popular.

Well, I decided to stay there anyway, and it was a very good decision. It really was as good as advertised. I almost didn't want to write this review because I'm worried that I'll never be able to get a reservation there again if people start to find out about it, but I feel like it's the least I can do to recognize the excellent service and value.

Anyway, from my point of view, there are several reasons I was very happy with this hotel. First, the location is outstanding. As other reviewers have noted, it is a 5-10 minute walk to either Ipanema Beach or Copacabana Beach. It's also just up the street from the General Osorio Metro station. Between the Metro and the bus stops at General Osorio park you have easy access to virtually any location in the city. There are also a number of excellent restaurants near General Osorio park.

Despite the outstanding location, the price was very reasonable. I'm hesitant to say "cheap," because Rio is still an expensive city overall. But Abbey of Design was significantly cheaper than any other hotel I saw in Ipanema/Copacabana with the exception of hostels.

And then there was Fred, the manager. I honestly can't think of enough superlatives to describe the amazing service he gave us. I haven't seen service that outstanding even at the concierge's desk at 5-star hotels. For starters, he speaks English fluently (which is pretty rare at most Brazilian hotels). He knows the city forward and backward and gave excellent advice about places to visit and how to get there. He gladly called restaurants/attractions to check their hours and make reservations for us. On our last day in town he spent the entire morning giving us a tour of a nearby favela without charging us or anything. Honestly, I don't ever remember getting this kind of excellent service at any hotel I have visited anywhere in the world. When you combine this service with the excellent location and reasonable price, yes, Abbey of Design is almost too good to be true.

It's also worth noting that the hotel is a guest house in an old abbey. The architecture of the building is visually appealing, and there is a large common area with some couches and tables. It was a nice place to eat breakfast and to relax at the end of the day.

That said, there are a few negative aspects worth noting. From my point of view, they are relatively minor compared to the positives, but I thought I would mention them anyway. I'll list them from the most serious to the least serious (in my opinion).

First, there is no air conditioning. There are ceiling fans above the beds, so it's not terrible, but I was sometimes a little warm at night (even though I visited during the winter). It could potentially get hot during the summer.

The hotel is partway up a fairly steep hill, and the road up the hill is narrow and doesn't have sidewalks the entire way. It was a bit of a tiring climb at the end of the day and it was also a bit nerve-wracking when cars sped down the hill uncomfortably close to us. Not a big deal in my mind (and you can easily avoid this issue by taking a cab), but worth noting.

There are no TV's in the hotel. Personally, I don't understand why on earth someone would want to come to Rio and spend time watching TV, but Fred says that apparently some people have decided not to book there after finding out that there is no TV. (If you come for the World Cup or some other soccer tournament, games will be playing in every single bar in the city, so finding a place to watch the games will not be difficult even without a TV in the hotel.)

The wifi signal in the hotel was fairly weak on the upper floor where the guest rooms are located. Sometimes it was so poor that I couldn't even check my e-mail. The wifi on the ground floor was fine, so I just brought my computer downstairs when I wanted to get on the Internet. (Since the couches and tables are downstairs, that was a more comfortable place to relax anyway.) But this could be a problem if you wanted to watch Netflix in your room or something like that.

Finally, breakfast was a bit smaller and simpler than you typically see in a hotel in Brazil. I don't know if this is really a negative, because it was delicious despite being small and simple. The homemade yogurt and orange juice and bread with Brazilian jelly (unavailable in other parts of the world) was simply divine. Also, Fred did a very good job of accounting for guests' dietary restrictions and preferences. That said, you won't get the large buffet that you'll get in larger hotels.

As I said earlier, though, the negatives were very minor compared to the incredible positives. The location is perfect and the service is incredible, and I will definitely stay here again the next time I'm in Rio if a room is available.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

My stay here was a wonderful experience. The space is bright and airy, painted in the most beautiful shades of green and red, and it retains the spiritual aura of the convent it once was. The rooms are simply designed and back onto a long balcony with a mountain view. Guests can choose where they want to eat breakfast or relax and the lower balcony has beach loungers and small tables, plus there is a lower garden, so there is lots of space for everyone. The wifi in the rooms was unreliable but there was very good reception in the main areas, no problem. Chafik, the owner, was very attentive and hospitable and went out of his way to make my stay comfortable. The breakfasts are huge and nicely presented, there is plenty of food to last you all day. As a female solo traveler, I would highly recommend this guesthouse. You will feel comfortable and the area is safe and close to everything.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Geneva, Switzerland
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

We absolutely loved our stay at Abbey of Design!! Fred & Chafik are the most amazing hosts and are really going out of their way to ensure your stay in Rio will be amazing. This includes everything from recommending restaurants, bars and activities based on your taste, ensuring you are safe and get to experience what you like, booking taxis or simply just chatting in the livingroom. The breakfast is lovely and you can have it in the cosy garden. Fred noticed we did not eat much of the ham during our first breakfast, and then he changed for fruit salad the morning after, so he really really pays attanetion to the small details. So the place is absolutely perfect in terms of hospitality, frendliness and making you feel welcome. The rooms are stylish but no luxury, so the ones who are looking for that would likely be disappointed. Think modern design - this is no Hilton on Copacabana. however it is clean and stylish, nothing at all to complain about, just no luxury. Location is also great, you walk to Ipanema in 5 mins. I truly recommend this place!!!!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Paris, France
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

The Abbey of Design is a unique place, hidden in the very heart of Ipanema. If you ever dreamt of sharing a family house with friends, only 5 minutes walk from the buzy Rio and its beautiful beaches, this place is for you.
Behind its tall walls overlooking the city, you will discover a colourful former convent, recently turned into a contemporary boutique hotel by a french designer. You'll be immediatly welcomed by Fred, the unmissable young man that will turn your trip to Rio into an unforgettable carioca experience. It is only to ask, there's nothing about Rio that he doesn't know!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Abbey of Design

Address: Rua Saint Roman, 301 | Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22071-060, Brazil
Location: Brazil > State of Rio de Janeiro > Rio de Janeiro > Copacabana
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 234 B&Bs / Inns in Rio de Janeiro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
located in a very quiet street in the heart of rio de janeiro’s south districts at barely a five minute walk from the famous ipanema and copacabana beaches,we propose you:- the "yellow suite": a 22m² bedroom with a private bathroom - the "green room" and "orange room": a 13m² bedroom each sharing the same bathroom.All the rooms have ceiling-fan and access to the house’s balcony. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Abbey Of Design Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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