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Hotel Rios Nice

London
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Hotel Rios Nice

Has anyone stayed at the Hotel Rios Nice? I've booked it through Hostelmania but can't find any independent reviews of the hotel. It seems very cheap so not sure if I am going to have a shock when I get there!

It's in the Lapa area so any tips on staying in Lapa are welcome too.

Thanks!

Rio
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1. Re: Hotel Rios Nice

Jane,

Ten years ago, Rio de Janeiro's neighbourhood of Lapa was a dodgy place generally unsuitable for tourists. Although the 300-year-old barrio adjacent to downtown was chock full of history, marvellous mansions, century-old bars and authentic samba jams, it was equally chock full of danger. Even among residents of Rio, it was considered a rough part of town.

During the past decade Lapa has undergone a revitalization not unlike what happened to New York´s Soho in the 1970s. Now, suddenly, Lapa has been (re)discovered by café dwellers, antique hunters and chic youths from the fashionable Zona Sul district as a, if not the, hippest, most happening place in town. Hip tourists are sure to follow, but as yet Lapa hasn´t shown up on the radar screen of most tourists.

There are lots of interesting, fun, inexpensive restaurants and bars in which to listen to music and dance. Of course, this doesn´t mean you should forget the normal rules of street smarts. Avoid deserted streets. Be discreet and don't flash cameras or consult maps while standing on the street. Here are a few recommended spots.

Bar do Claudio: Rua Joaquim Silva, 90A. "Old Lapa's most original bar." Kitschy décor and hearty caldo de feijao (black bean soup).

Bar Brasil: Avenida Mem de Sa, 90. One of Rio's oldest traditional watering holes. Not much has changed since 1906 and the German cuisine is reputed. (See my recent restatuarant review below.)

Adega Flor de Coimbra: Rua Teotonio Regadas, 34. A bohemian haunt since 1938. The cuisine is Portuguese. Try squid or grilled sardines washed down with chilled Perola Gaucha red wine.

Nova Capela: Avenida Mem de Sa, 96. One of old Lapa's most popular restaurants serves up the likes of roasted kid and boar in a colourfully rustic ambience.

For music and dancing:

Carioca da Gema: Avenida Mem de Sa, 79. Bohemian Lapa's favourite new haunt. Drinks, appetizers, and dance to top-notch live music with emphasis on sambas.

Semente: Rua Joaquim Silva, 138. In the middle of Lapa's nocturnal frenzy, this bar offers samba, salsa, chorinho and delicious manioc balls stuffed with ham and provolone.

Asa Branca: Avenida Mem de Sa, 17. A venerated dance hall with daily doses of samba, forro and pagode as well as pizza with sun-dried beef and fried manioc.

Fundicao Progresso: Rua dos Arcos, 24. Hip, musical haven for Rio's alternative young blood. A non-stop fiesta that mixes genres from rock and reggae to soul and samba.

By coincidence I just wrote a brief review of Bar Brasil mentioned above:

The specialty of the house appears to be the kassler - 2 large meaty pork chops supersized with enormous sides of lentils, potato salad or french fries and sauerkraut (R$32). One order will easily satisfy two for lunch. This place has been a popular lunch spot for many years. The decor is a cross between an aging German rathskellar and an aging Lapa boteco. Aging in any event and a little loud as it is on a street traversed by lots of buses. The kitchen, chock full of large pots and pans, is open to view as you enter from one of the two corner entrances and is as tiny as the portions are large.There is a bar behind a refridgerated display case loaded with bratwursts, salsichas grossa (large beef sausages aka hot dogs) ossa buca, pork knees and other meats.

I had the ossa buca (R$26) which was the lunch special the last time I was here and it could also easily serve two. It´s a large knuckle somewhere between the size of a softball and a soccer ball served with a couple of sides that one normal eater should not attempt to consume alone. It was good. Each of the three brats (24) or salsichas grossas (22) also served with 2 side dishes would be considered a jumbo dog by any yankee standard. Delicious dark German style mustard complements the sausages. The linguica (17 ala carte, 25 with 2 sides) was approximately the size of my wife´s forearm.... well, almost. And the meatballs, two to a serving, resemble Italian meatballs on steroids.

Desserts are pretty much an afterthought ( strudel is available) and if you like to finish a meal with an espresso you´ll have to go around the corner as they don´t bother to serve coffee.

The chopp is cold, the service efficient, the food is good and the prices are low. If you find yourself in Lapa some afternoon, this is definitely a place to visit. It´s open for lunch and dinner all week days and for lunch only on Saturday.

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