We traveled to Rio for Carnival and wanted somewhere to relax for a week afterwards. After picking the small beach town of Buzios, we decided on Hibiscus for a few reasons: decent price; private, individual bungalows; and good reviews.
We stayed for 5 nights in March 2012 in bungalow 11 (pretty high on the hill with great views) for $R1,850 (about £650).
The pousada is well located, a quick 5 minute walk from Joao Fernandes beach (the best beach we came across in Buzios) and close to Centro (take a frequent bus (minivan) from the stop down the road to town for R$2) or walk in about 20 minutes. While the pousada is away from the action and therefore quiet and relaxing, this means there’s less choice for restaurants and shops.
The grounds are adequate but could use a little TLC. The pool is handy (complete with lounge chairs and tables) and we rarely encountered anyone else there – if you’re looking for a lively resort, this probably isn’t it. We were both surprised at how quiet the pousada was the entire week (maybe because it was just after carnival). The staff was not overly friendly and barely spoke unless spoken to. The front desk staff did very helpfully assist with taxis (we were told by friends that the taxi cost of $R190 from Rio was quite reasonable) and other local information though. Be warned that this place is not for people with mobility issues as it’s a steep walk up to the bungalows.
Breakfast is provided and includes breads, fruit, meat, cheese, cereals, coffee and tea (although they only had flavoured tea while we were there – I brought my own English breakfast), and a couple of hot options (which I didn’t try as they didn’t look that appetizing). Contrary to other reviews, the food was definitely replenished during breakfast time. We ate at various times between 8 and 9:15am and there was always plenty of food. It does however, get boring after 5 days.
The bungalows are a good size, complete with comfortable beds and a terrace to enjoy (which we often did), but do not expect a high standard of finish – a 5 star resort this is not (which would be an unfair comparison). Some of the carpentry and finishing was sub-standard, the caulking around our sink looked like a child did the work. We were provided with terrible towels some days – so threadbare that they tore on use. The room contained a bug repellent to plug in each night but we still ended up with bites every night (North Americans shouldn’t expect window screens). Free wifi is available and the signal was decent on the terrace (but faint in the bungalow).
It was my fault for not looking at the fine print but the pousada charges at 10% service fee on top of the tariff. It’s beyond me what this is for and I wonder if other resorts charge it.
I recommend taking a boat tour. We booked a 3 hour tour which includes some local beaches and provides some time on the water including swimming, and an ‘open bar’ (coke, water and caiparinhas). We had a wonderful meal at L'Escale – the food is great and the service attentive and friendly.
We took a day trip (via the minivan bus) to Geriba beach. It’s massive with plenty of space to relax. You have to pay for everything though: chair, umbrella, inflated drink and food prices. Stick with Joao Fernandes beach right down the road: chairs and umbrellas included in the bar/meal prices, which are decently priced and the option to pay with credit card at a choice of beach restaurants (free wifi too!).
We had a relaxing time in Buzios and the pousada added to that relaxation. We were a bit let down though – given the glowing reviews - and wouldn’t return. There’s a pousada every 10 feet in Buzios so look around and choose wisely.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This delightful small hotel is British owned and managed. Remodeled and upgraded in 2007. The hotel consists of individual bungalows, all having a balcony with spectacular sea view. 100 mts. from the peninsula's most attractive beach. Air-conditioned and fully equipped. Large tropical garden and pool. Transfers available from Rio Airport or hotels. Ideal for English speaking guests, but with an authentic Brazilian atmosphere. Elegance and comfort at a reasonable cost. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pousada Hibiscus Beach Buzios
- Pousada Hibiscus Beach Hotel Buzios
- Pousada Hibiscus Beach Armacao Dos Buzios, Brazil