This hotel markets itself as an upscale boutique hotel. Given its isolated location (which we were aware of when we booked and was actually part of the appeal) and room rates (we booked one of the mid-range rooms and were set to pay EUR 220 a night), we were expecting something modern, clean and a bit "special".
I started to have doubts about the hotel before we even arrived, when the promised airport transfer from Rio de Janeiro international airport didn't turn up. When I phoned the hotel to chase up on the transfer, the lady who answered the phone spoke neither English nor Spanish, so I had real problems communicating and explaining the problem. After around 20 minutes of trying to express myself in the most straightforward Spanish I could use, the lady seemed to understand and said a taxi would arrive in 20 minutes or so.
Some 40 minutes later, we were greeted by a somewhat chaotic female taxi driver. She was friendly enough, but hardly made a professional impression, stopping at traffic lights to paint her nails (!) and wearing less than entirely clean clothes.
On arrival, we were taken to the reception area. This was when we started to realise that Rio 180 wasn't going to be the sort of hotel we expected. The table at reception was inch-think with dust, some of the chairs were broken and couldn't be used and the whole area seemed to be a hang-out zone for a large number of staff members who didn't seem to be doing much. Again, language was a huge problem. I speak 4 languages and certainly don't expect to find fluent English speakers everywhere on the globe, but for a hotel on a continent that is predominantly Spanish-speaking, I did expect to be able to communicate satisfactorily in Spanish.
We were taken to our room, which was separated by only a glass door (hardly secure) from the pool area. We were only in the room 2 minutes when we decided to leave immediately. The stench of damp was overwhelming, the furniture was dusty and the jacuzzi in the room was truly filthy. There was no safe (not very encouraging in a city hardly renowned for its safety) and the shower/bathroom area was moudly. The whole room was extremely dingy and dark. Please note that it bore absolutely no resemblance to the images on the website, which show bright rooms with modern furniture (the furniture in our room was wooden and worn) and a "design" feel.
My husband and I have stayed in numerous hotels across Europe, the US and Asia that cost a fraction of the price of Rio 180, and we've never encountered such a horrible room. We left within 5 minutes and took a taxi to one of the big hotels on the Copacabana, where we hardly paid much more and had a lovely, spotlessly clean room in a central location with excellent service.
We really wanted to avoid the big hotel chains and experience something of the "real Rio" (as many of the other reviewers have mentioned), but we didn't expect to pay EUR 220 a night for - frankly - squalid conditions.
Anyone considering this hotel can, indeed, expect a great view, but has to be prepared to accept very basic standards and a lax attitude to cleanliness. It's also worth noting that the hotel's location is very isolated and that you will need a taxi to get virtually anywhere (with taxis generally costing EUR 15 upwards).
It will take some time before I can erase the mental images of this horrible room from my memory. Very disappointing indeed!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of Rio, in the historic and bohemian town of Santa Teresa, The Villa is an 11-room boutique hotel with a hilltop position and a million dollar view! From the hotels main terrace, guests can take in the sweeping vista over the Guanabara Bay and the green hills of Santa Teresa, while enjoying the view of world famous art deco statue Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. The hotel is only 15 minutes away from the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, the samba clubs of Lapa and the Sambodromo stadium. Described by those in the know as the South American Montmartre and one of Rio's hidden gems, Santa Teresa is packed with local artists, galleries, cafes and some of Rio's best small restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Rio 180
- The Villa Rio De Janeiro, Brazil