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“a place where life is good”
Review of Rio Dolphin Inn

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Rio Dolphin Inn
Reviewed September 3, 2013

The best location - a beautiful and peaceful place hidden like a pearl. 10 walking minutes from both beaches. You are both in the city with all kinds of nice restaurants nearby - and at a beach. It works perfectly well wandering between those two worlds. Very generous and supportive hosts who will show you around, help out with maps and network and let you feel at home within marvellous books and the relaxed atmosphere of flower power (only much cleaner), a big love for nature and a good sense of humor. You will want to come back to Rio mostly because of this place.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Frankenwein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6 - 12 of 107 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2013

We stayed in rio dolphin inn for carnival. We are backpacking around south america for 5 months and planned to be in rio for carnival. After a lot of research before we left, I booked rio dolphin inn. Was it the right choice? Most definitely yes! The inn is located in a very secure street with gated access. We felt completely safe there. We knew rio would be expensive at that time but you pay for what you get. We got really nice accommodation and 5 star service. On second thoughts you would not get the service in 5 star hotels. John was super helpful and gave us loads of suggestions on what to do, where to eat etc. On the afternoon we arrived, john spent perhaps 2 hours with us walking around showing us where the best juice bars, restaurants and supermarkets were. We thoroughly appreciated this. The accommodation was absolutely spotless. There was plenty of juices in the fridge which were stocked up daily. The most gorgeous homemade cookies, nuts and chocolate were always stocked up. Every type of herbal tea and lovely coffee.Regarding the dogs, unless you asked to see them you would think they were never there.. We would love to return to rio one day and would most definitely stay in rio dolphin inn. John-thank you , we had an amazing time.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AimeeC186600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaier, Owner at Rio Dolphin Inn, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2013

We just want to thank everybody who takes the time to comment on the Rio Dolphin Inn, and to let all our friends and guests know that our beloved Dalmation Genki, who was mentioned in several reviews, is now in doggy heaven frolicking with his friends and family.

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Reviewed February 23, 2013

My comment comes a bit late, but since we got back in January I was too busy to find the right words to describe the Rio Dolphin Inn ambiance. We did expect quite a lot from the Rio Dolphin Inn given all the good reviews found on TripAdvisor. So if you expect a lot you can also be disappointed, but our expectations were more than met.

This place is something very special! The entrance door already feels inviting with its colors, the stickers, the dolphins, the flowers.

The place itself is one surprise after the other. We stayed there 10 days and almost every single day we found a new thing (decoration, sticker) that we had not seen before. The surfboards at the entrance, the dartboard, the bimini ring, the bar, the cosy sofa, it all has a cool and zen touch. Every saying you read in this place makes you either smile or think "yes, right!". The place is great to chill, which got me into the trouble to find it sometimes difficult to get my hubby and my teenage son moving ;-)

The little house is in a safe alley way, there is a gate (to which you have the key) to enter the "Vila" with all the different little houses that are neighboring the Rio Dolphin Inn and so it is very quiet at night.

The rooms are on the first floor (via a narrow staircase). We stayed in the Little Prince room, two adults and a teenager. There was enough space, comfortable beds, air conditioning which was helpful when the fan was not enough which was the case for us (but when we stayed in Rio over last Christmas the temperature reached 43°C which is exceptional). The Little Prince Room has a pretty big private bath room on the other side of the tiny hall. The owner's room and the second guest room are all very close next to each other. We did not hear anything from the owner's room, however during the days the second guest room was occupied, we could hear the occupants talk as there is a connecting door between the two rooms. The entire house is regularly cleaned by a Brazilian lady. But remember, it is not a hotel where bed linen are changed daily (which nobody with a bit of ecological conscience would do anyhow nowadays) and the towels are not matching like in a hotel, but you got a big stock of towels in the bath room and you can help yourself.

The location is more than perfect - only being directly on the beach could be better. The Rio Dolphin Inn is right between Ipanema and Copacabana, a few minutes walk - the only trouble is to decide which way to go. The metro, which we tried just for the sake of trying, is very close and it is very modern and safe (it did not exist when we were in Rio 16 years ago). Restaurants, shops, juice bars and anything else you could need are close by and the fact that no breakfast is served is not an issue. Get your food in the shop and install yourself on the big bar in the Rio Dolphin Inn or go out to have a juice, a coffee and pão na chapa.

A bus station is right outside the gate and the buses take you wherever you wish and are a great way to see the town.

There are four dogs in the place as you might have seen from the description and the reviews. The few times you cross the three younger dogs, they are so well behaved and sweet that you almost regret to not see them more often (the owner is really keeping them out of your way). The old dalmatian Genki is sometimes crying in the owner's room, however it never happens in the middle of the night and so it does not disturb apart from the fact that you feel sorry for the dog (but if you ever have had a dog you understand that getting "rid of him" is not an easy thing to do). If you are in your room you hardly hear it.

John is extremely helpful. The day after our arrival he walked us through the neighborhood with valuable explanations. He also had the driver organized for us on arrival and departure - it is a bit more expensive than a normal cab but worth it - the driver Wilson was there spot on time both ways. John also helped us organize the trip to Ilha Grande. During our entire stay he was very helpful and we enjoyed the stories he shared with us, some of them going back to his photograph/journalist activities, some more recent (John, Cindy, I am still smiling about the Hannah action). John had several proposals of activities (favela tours, restaurants, city tours etc) but he was never pushy, he was the perfect mix, a non invading fountain of information. The living room is packed with books about Rio, Brazil and don't miss to read the articles John wrote (they are in the general info booklet).

For New Year's Eve John and his girlfriend prepared an appetizing buffet which we shared with them and another couple staying there. They even had flowers prepared for all of us to take down to the sea as an offering for the goddess "Iemanjá".

I have to add one more thing: We went to Ilha Grande for the only rainy days we had during our holiday. When in Ilha Grande we received a mail from John saying that it was raining in Rio and he supposed Ilha Grande would not be any better (he was right, on the island we were ankle deep in water, an unforgettable adventure) and if we wished to come back earlier than planned, we could have the room for another one or two nights free of charge. It felt like coming home when we went back to the Rio Dolphin Inn for one more night.

So if you want to stay in an extremely well located and zen place and you prefer to have some personalized treatment rather than being one of plenty of guests in a hotel, you cannot go wrong with the Rio Dolphin Inn. John is the best host you can imagine and meeting him and his lovely girlfriend meant meeting two great persons who have found a great life style in a wonderful place. Thanks John & Cindy, we'll be back!

Room Tip: The Dolphin room looked cute and we were tempted by the en suite bathroom. But we chose the slightly...
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Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
1  Thank Claudia D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2013 via mobile

The reviews sited previously are quite misleading. Travelers beware. Prior positive reviews appear contrived. Positives: The location of this place was convenient, and safety was no concern.

Downside:
The room was subpar and the bathroom tiny. The bathroom attached to our room was small, and open to the outdoors. The only thing separating the bathroom from outside was a rudementary bamboo wall and some old curtains. The sink was so tiny and only gave cold water. I tried to shave every day using the small cold-water sink but was forced to shave blindly in the shower. The shower door is low and crammed next to the toilet, so the toilet gets drenched with water constantly.

The owner has quite a few dogs living at the inn. One of the dogs is a very very old dalmation that can no longer move. It whines constantly when the owner is away, which causes the three other dogs to howl constantly!! Quite unnerving. When the owner's bedroom door opened, a horrible stench of urine wafted out of the room, no doubt from the elderly immobile dalmation. The dalmation was a horrible sight: a large metal rectangle surrounded the dog, and a leash was tied from the wall to its neck--it resembled torture in my opinion. The upstairs area smells like dog most of the time unless incense in burning.

The bed linens and towels were something one would use for dogs, and likely were. The bedspread had lots of brown stains and appeared fifty years old. The pillows had so much dog hair on them that we couldnt even use them. The towels appeared to have been run over by a truck, and then likely used for dog baths. Countless times I got out of the shower and dried off with a "clean" towel only to be covered in white dalmation hair!! It was horrible! I even had an eye irritation from a piece of dalmation hair in my eye after using the hand towel.

The rooms are not automatically cleaned. You actually have to request to get your room cleaned, which is unusual. The cleaning lady isnt there on the weekend, either.

The walls are paper thin. You can hear everything the other guests are saying. Zero privacy.

We payed an exorbiant amount of money to stay here, and we were soooo disappointed. For the price, it would be better to stay in a hotel. This was like staying in your uncle's basement. If you are looking for a nice place to stay with clean linens and towels, peace and quiet, and comfortable rooms, look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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5  Thank JimmyWorldWide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaier, Owner at Rio Dolphin Inn, responded to this reviewResponded February 25, 2013

Aloha friends,

Wow, how do you respond to something like that? This  was only  our second three-star review  out of nearly 100 so we take it quite seriously. Normally  we do not reply to reviews because we think  everybody is entitled to their opinion but in this case the reviewer made such outlandish and spiteful remarks  we feel we  have to comment. We sincerely thank  him, however,  because if his letter prevents just one traveler like him from coming to the Rio Dolphin Inn it has served its purpose.

He  begins with "Travelers  beware. Prior positive reviews appear contrived." This is a serious charge. No David, none of the other 95 positive reviews were contrived and if you take the time to read them we think the sincerity comes across very clearly. 

You are 100% correct when you state "For the price you could stay in a hotel." Yes you could, and you should if you are the kind of person who requires a maid 7 days a week and 24 hour room service, or if it  upsets you to have to ask to have your room cleaned or to shave in the shower.  The last thing we are trying to do is run a hotel. I have a quirky and  humble home,  nothing more,  which I try to run as an eco-guest house. Our goal is simple:  give our guests daily personalized attention and help them experience Rio in a comfortable, safe and fun way. 

 Yes, the Rio Dolphin Inn is small,  yes, the rooms are side by side, yes, we have three dogs (or is it four?), and yes, the environment is very important to us so we only change  linen and towels at our guests'  request,  but we do let everybody  know that we will gladly clean the rooms and change the towels and linen daily (sorry, five times a week). If some of our sheets are stained it is due to eco- detergents or bleaches, but all have been two-cycled washed, dried and  ironed and are not covered in dog hairs nor do we run over them in a truck. We find it hard to believe the reviewer can trace an eye irritation to a "piece of a dalmation hair"  on a hand towel,  especially after spending 10 days on the crowded and not so clean (during Carnival) beaches of Rio. We also don't think it's very wise or hygenic for a doctor to be wiping his eyes on  handtowels.

The reviewer complains about the prices. He should have noted that he stayed here not only during the peak summer season but during Carnival when all hotels in Rio double their prices.  Our rates, which average around US$150 a night, are completely compatible  with  what we offer.

Regarding our  dogs: the reviewer  makes it sound as if we run a torture  chamber for dogs (and guests!). We have had countless visitors, dog-lovers and non dog-lovers, and we have never had any serious problems.  Yes, you may at times hear a dog bark or hear them run down the stairs,  but we keep the dogs separate from the guests (unless the guests want otherwise) and the house is cleaned five days a week with antiseptics and polish. There are no foul odors and Genki, the old dog the reviewer refers to,  has hip problems and cannot walk so he has a cart he stands in when he eats and drinks. Hardly torture. 

 We have been running the Rio Dolphin Inn out of my home now for three years and have had literally thousands of guests. We  do it as a hobby more than anything else because we enjoy it.  We have always told our guests  how we love meeting so many diverse people from all over the world and how as incredible as it sounds, we have enjoyed the company of All our guests. Sadly, this is no longer true. 

The couple who wrote the review stayed here for 10 days and though it sounds like they had miserable time, we never heard a single complaint while they were here which  is unfortunate  because if they had said something we would have done whatever we could have to rectify the problem.

If you have taken the time to read this and are thinking of staying here, please remember that the Rio Dolphin Inn relies  not just on us, the hosts, but also on you and your energy  to create a peaceful and harmonious environment. It's all about karma: you get out what you put in. Ask and you will receive. Come here  with a positive and happy outlook and we guarantee you will have a great time. If you want an example of this,  just read the review which preceeds this one from the family of three who also stayed here recently for 10 days.  (Oh no, if he thinks the other reviews were contrived just imagine what he is going to think now. I just call it karma.)

Happy  travels  :-)





 

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Reviewed December 23, 2012

No better place to stay if you are looking for a great location and an inkeep who has a wealth of knowledge. John could not have treated us any better if we were his friends. Rio Dolphin Inn is a place I have recommended to friends of my own. My husband and I would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: there are only 2 rooms. one with a bath in the room and the other without a bathroom attached.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ranmontana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Rio Dolphin Inn for 6 nights, and found it to be a nice little B&B in a perfect location. If you walk out onto the sidewalk and look left, you can see Copacabana beach a few blocks away. If you look right, you can see Ipanema. The only problem is, which way to go (Hint: Straight ahead - it will take you to a neat little pocket at the northern end of Ipanema beach).

John the host is an awesome guy. When we arrived, he took us for a walk around Ipanema and showed us some places to eat, where the supermarkets were and where to get the best açaí (You have to try this drink, it is amazing!). We accidentally left our camera in the car on the way from the airport, but John loaned us one of his for the day, and we got our camera back the next day! Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get the pics transferred from the borrowed camera to a DVD. But John has since posted the DVD to us (Hopefully the Brazilian postal service hasn’t “misplaced” the package).

I highly recommend you take the favela tour with John’s friend Jefferson. The lad from the favela was a great guide and we just loved spending time with him. The favela we went to was just behind John's house, and we felt very safe walking around. Jefferson is the friendliest person and his English is very good!!! The tour does require a lot of walking up and down steep narrow steps so just be aware before embarking on this great tour.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of downsides to the accommodation though. Even though the rest of the house was great, our room never got cleaned (dolphin room) and the bathroom was a bit of a let down. The toilet was right next to the shower and with only a ½ glass wall separating them, the toilet and the floor got wet. The bed was also a little hard and pillow were really thin. But realistically, you shouldn’t be spending much time in the room when there is Rio to explore!!!

Also, there was the issue with the poor old Dalmatian. The 15 year old dog that had lost use of his hind legs, and would whine when John was out. It made us feel uncomfortable whenever we heard the poor animal whine.

John thank you for your hospitality (and for posting the images to us), you are great human being, and your dedication to your ailing companion is truly inspiring, but hopefully by now you have done the right thing.

Travelers, I highly recommend staying at the Rio Dolphin Inn, it’s not 5 star accommodation, but the location and John the host make this place worth staying in.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Craig H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

I stayed at the Rio Dolphin in early Oct. I picked it mainly because of its central location & its proximity to both the Ipanema & Copacabana beaches. Yes the price was higher than other pousadas but I didn’t mind because safety was important to me. I was a lady travelling by myself you see.

When I arrived at the Rio Dolphin, John welcomed me warmly. He didn’t have a room for my first night but he was nice enough to help me find one nearby. I stayed at the Little Prince’s Room from the second night. It was comfortable, charming & had lots of character. John was extremely extremely helpful throughout my stay. He told me where to go, how to go there, what time to go. He was like my personal concierge :) who was there at the right place at the right time. And he did it without invading my privacy. My only regret was that I didn’t have the time to lounger around his quaint little house.

I would recommend the Rio Dolphin to anyone

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Trudster18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rio Dolphin Inn

Address: Rua Bulhoes de Carvalho 480 Casa 6 | Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22081-001, Brazil
Location: Brazil > State of Rio de Janeiro > Rio de Janeiro > Copacabana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #164 of 835 Specialty Lodging in Rio de Janeiro
Price Range: $120 - $160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Rio Dolphin Inn is a top quality yet quaint and cozy home on a quiet cobblestone street on the border of Ipanema, Copacabana and Arpoador beaches. You will not find a better location: you can actually see the beach from the entrance, the metro station is a block away and the main city bus lines pass right in front of the gate. This exclusive home has 2 bedrooms, both of them comfortable suites with modern bathrooms, air conditioning, fans, new comfortable beds and large bright windows. It's the perfect spot for couples, families, friends and single travelers. The inn is acclaimed as one of Rio's best bed and breakfasts. It is rated 5 stars and was winner of Trip Advisor's Excellence award in 2012 and 2013. We pride ourselves in taking care of our guests and helping them get the most of their visit. Check out our reviews on bedandbreakfast and TripAdvisor. We were closed for renovations but opened in April of 2014 with new lower rates starting at US$120. World Cup dates still available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rio Dolphin Hotel Rio De Janeiro
Rio Dolphin Inn Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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