Just got back from my Rio trip and had a great stay at the Sol Ipanema hotel. Location is perfect...in the middle of Ipanema and right across the street from the beach near posto 9. Also right by the gay section of the beach so as 2 girls traveling, we felt pretty safe. (And for the ladies...great eye candy!!) Hotel gives free beach chair, umbrella and towels (at the hotel, not on the beach, so you have to carry and set it up yourself). Being in our mid-30's, Ipanema is the best location compared to Copacabana and Leblon. Copa is busy, crowded and filled with younger tourists, while Leblon is more upscale but slightly boring/quiet. Ipanema was just right for us. Seems to have the biggest gay population of all 3 areas, and good restaurants (must try Zaza. Bardo and Nik Sushi are good ones and 1 of 2 Porcao restaurants is there).
Back to the hotel...yes...it's quite expensive for a "best western". But all of Rio seems to be expensive surprisingly and after walking by the other hotels, I think we made the best choice. Don't under estimate what we US people think of the Best Western which is more of a 3 star hotel...in other countries, it's better (same with the Ramada that I stayed at in Tokyo). I've seen 4-5 star hotels like Hilton in need of renovations in other countries. We were able to get Sol Ipanema for about $275/night on Orbitz. That's pretty damn good compared to other hotels in Rio and for a "beachfront" property (there are no hotels ON the beach...all are across the street...everywhere, so don't be fooled). Two big reasons why I chose this hotel - rooftop pool and free wifi. Pool is TINY, more like jacuzzi size, with 4 loungers and 4 tables. But it was still a great place to chill when the weather wasn't great and we met lots of nice people there. You could probably get a nice sunset view, but we didn't see one since it was pretty cloudy most of our trip. There's also a side view of the Christ statue. I also liked the mirror they placed behind the pool. It's something you don't even notice, until you're staring at an ocean view even though your back is to the ocean. Then you realize "wow that's cool" and start taking pics. haha =) There's a "fitness center"...uh...they have like 3 things in there. Bartender is really nice although service is extremely slow. But it's like that everywhere. Free wifi...sometimes a little spotty, and it seems that if a storm hits which it did for us, they have an electrical outage. But hotel was nice and apologized, and eventually it was fixed 2 days later. You can ask for the free wifi access code for the 2 computers in the business center. Wifi in other Rio hotels is like $15-25 a day. Most of the hotel staff at the front desk were nice and accommodating and spoke English. I really liked one man who was there 2 of the days, but I forgot his name...sorry mister!
Pleasantly surprised....again....with our room. Don't expect a beautiful room or anything. Plain looking but had everything you needed except for a coffee maker (which my friend wanted). We went for the cheaper standard rooms with city view. An oceanview room was about $50-75 more a night which we didn't want to pay for. It definitely would've been nice, but we could deal w/o it. We didn't care to look outside our window since there wasn't much of a view. Decent size room with 2 single beds. Beds were comfortable. A/C worked well, good tv with lots of channels, in room safe, desk w/ 2 chairs. Good sized bathroom w/ a bidet and great rain shower w/ good pressure. Another reason why this hotel was high on my list b/c I read that somewhere in another review. Showers are so important!!! You also get free breakfast which wasn't bad at all...I was expecting worse. I just wish they had more fruit selections (not a fan of papaya). I usually eat a lot of fruit if offered, but didn't eat any of it at this hotel.
Despite the cloudy and slightly rainy weather which the hotel is at no fault for (or is it?!?!), had a great overall experience at this hotel and in Rio.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located facing the ocean, at the most trendy point of Ipanema Beach, the "Station 9", and only one block from the bar Girl from Ipanema, birthplace of Bossa Nova. Perfect for leisure or business trip for its proximity to downtown and the best tourist sights of Rio de Janeiro. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Rio De Janeiro
- Rio De Janeiro Best Western
- Sol Ipanema Hotel Rio De Janeiro, Brazil