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“More like a 2.5 Star Hotel”

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South American Copacabana Hotel
Ranked #146 of 286 Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Reviewed March 7, 2012

I have to echo what Maria W. said. We recently got back from our stay at the South American and were pretty disappointed with it.

On the positive side, it is convenient to Copacabana beach (5 minute walk) and to Ipanema (10 minute walk) and right near several bus stops and a supermarket. Also, the breakfast was pretty good, with a nice selection of food and fresh juices, though it did end fairly early (10AM).

But these positives were outweighed by the many negatives, which included a very high price for the quality of the hotel (yes, we are aware of how expensive Rio is and still thought is was not a good value at a little over 200 USD per night).

In addition, the room we had (1203) was very small and very noisy as it was adjacent to one of the elevators and you could hear it moving up and down all night long, accentuated by occasional beeping noises. We asked to be moved and the man at the front desk said that there were no other rooms available. I may be wrong, but I got the distinct impression there was space but he just couldn't be bothered to make the effort to move us.

And, as others have said, the hotel is very 'tired' overall. The rugs in the common area are dirty and stained. The elevators look like they are designed to carry freight, not people, plus they aren't air-conditioned, which is incredible considering the heat of Rio. In fact, all the common areas did not have enough air conditioning. This, combined with the extremely dim lighting in the common areas, left us the impression that the owner was simply penny-pinching to save a few dollars, at the expense of the comfort of the guests, which is inexcusable for a supposed 4 star hotel.

Also, to second another reviewer, we had several problems with the card key. It seems the hotel couldn't keep straight what day were checking out, so we had to get the card re-validated a few times. More of a nuisance but clearly not indicative of a 4 star hotel.

Which brings me to my final point--there is NO way this hotel should ever have gotten a 4 star rating and whoever gave it to them should be ashamed. Best case, this place is a 3 star if they did some extensive renovations and in its current state, more like a 2.5 star hotel.

So to summarize, the location is convenient, the hotel is seriously overpriced for what it is and make sure you don't get a room near the elevator shaft!

Room Tip: Avoid any rooms near the elevator shaft!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank rudee50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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97 - 103 of 508 reviews

Reviewed February 27, 2012

We stayed here for two nights at the end of a fantastic cruise, but were so disappointed by the dilapidated state of this hotel. There was no air conditioning in the common parts areas, bar etc which was very uncomfortable. The beds were comfortable and clean, but the whole place was tired and we were told this was 4*. The tiles around the pool on the roof were dirty and some of the chairs were broken. The hotel needs a total refurbishment - 2* at the most. We have never criticised an hotel before but feel people should be warned. We travelled with Planet Cruise who booked all our accommodation, unfortunately for us some of our fellow travellers had very good accommodation in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Maria W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2012

Very close to both Copacabana and Ipanema. Relatively nice, clean, decent beds.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Mac B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

This hotel is located just behind Arpoador, right on the border between Copacabana and Ipanema. 4 minutes walk to Copacabana beach, and 10 minutes walk to Ipanema. For the location (provided you can get a good deal) the price was astonishingly good value. Rooms were acceptable. Except for the damned key entry card which had to be reprogrammed almost every day and drove me to distraction. Breakfasts very acceptable - typical Brazilian buffet. Staff really helpful, especially the woman who works behind the bar in the evenings - she's a star. The pool on the roof was a bit small - but given the hotel is so close to Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, does it matter? The view from the roof over the favella and up to Corcovado is fabulous, especially at night. Wi-fi connection was very powerful and fast - 4 bars on my phone display at times.

Room Tip: Get a room at the front of the hotel which overlooks Rua Fransisco Sa
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank B40PV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2012

This is a big hotel with large rooms, our was a 70s style - not sure whether all the rooms are in this style - but I didn't mind it at all. With a very large bedroom and a large bathroom I welcomed its 70s feels, maybe a boutique hotel looks more contemporary, but I appreciated the space!

The location of the hotel is one of the main points we booked here, but I got to like the South American Copacabana for more reasons than its location alone. The staff (one member in particular in the reception and the girl at the bar) was helpful with finding out what to do in Rio, booked us on an excellent tour and were always available for anything we needed.

Breakfast was excellent with hot and cold food, pastries, juices and fresh fruit. I particularly liked getting a table with the view of the boxed-in garden. We also stayed for dinner at the restaurant on one occasion, as it was raining a lot, and really enjoyed my huge salad :-)

Right in front of the hotel I found a good barber/hairdresser's shop and popped in for a hair-cut - they too were great! There is also a bus stop right opposite the hotel, which we found very convenient when we went to Niteroi, for the Contemporary Art Museum, it only cost 5.50 Reales each (1 hour and 30 minutes journey), when a taxi would have cost quite a lot more than that. Again, just because of its location we saved some money too.

There is a pool on the top floor, but with the most fantastic and famous beaches in the world on the doorstep I am not ashamed of saying that I don't even know what this swimming pool looks like as we never went to see it!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Moosey_london
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2012

Spent eight nights after new-year in Rio and stayed at this hotel. Overall we were underwhelmed by this hotel. We say “underwhelmed” instead of “disappointed” or “unhappy” as we do have some appreciation of the price range and quality of hotels in Rio in general, and understand that January is high season. In any other cities this hotel would be quite sub-par given the price we paid.

When we first checked in we were given a room on the third floor. The room was dark and gloomy (felt a bit like a hospital room). Its only window opened out to the back of the building, a closed dirty and bare courtyard surrounded by nearby buildings. We felt a tad unsafe, and didn’t think we can deal with the poor lighting for a whole week. So we asked for another room, and the reception helpfully moved us to a room on the sixth floor. It was still facing the back of the building, but the lighting was greatly improved. While the furniture and the décor were unimpressive and out-of-date, the room was spacious and clean. Its lacking of a desk and a clock was a little odd. The bed (a king size bed made by pushing two single beds together, with a bump in the middle) was tolerable, but the pillows were pretty flat. We asked housekeeping for extra pillows were given extra. Bathroom was clean but did not have proper racks to hang towels, and the shower room was poorly designed so we always ended up with a mini-flood after showering. Flushing of toilet took a bit of persistence but otherwise okay. The wifi in our room was week and finicky.

Lighting seems to be a major issue in the hotel. The lights in the hallway were turned on by motion sensors, except they were always a few seconds delayed so it was always dark in the hallway. The poor lighting makes the already out-of-date décor look simply depressing.

But the hotel does have its strength. We found the location super convenient (2 min walk form Copacabana beach, 5 minute walk to Ipanema beach, subway station just around the corner, bus runs right in front of the hotel, etc) and we felt safe walking around the hotel even at 2 or 3am in the morning. The breakfast had great selection and is generous (though we would have preferred to be given the option to skip breakfast and receive a lower rate, as we stayed out very late in most evenings and would rather sleep in…). All the staff we interacted with were friendly and helpful, and the front desk staff all spoke pretty good English.

I have paid less in New York or London during the summer for much nicer hotels. But then this is Rio right after New Year, so we were not surprised. If I knew what I know now when I booked, I would have paid a little more (it would have cost about $100R extra per night) to stay at a more up-to-date/nicer hotel closer to the Ipanema beach. However, if this is the price range you are willing to go for, then this is a perfectly reasonable option.

Room Tip: Ask for high floor. If you don't mind busy, ask to face street, it is less depressing.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BoywonderTo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2012

This was an excellent hotel just 400 metres from copacobana, and 800 metres from iponema.
Well located on a principal bus route it's a sort ride from sugar loaf, or from the lagoon.
Excellent breakfasts, with plenty of juices and excellent fresh fruit.
There are plenty of restaurants around and about so no problems in finding somewhere to feed.
The roof top pool was excellent first thing and late afternoon but it can get very hot under a strong sun in the middle of the day.
Rooms were modern clean and air conditioned.
Bathrooms clean with excellent showers.
Staff were friendly and helpful.
No problems with this hotel it's good.
I would recommend it.

Room Tip: Rooms at the back are quieter. Don't expect a view!
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JohnnyAsbestos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about South American Copacabana Hotel

Address: Rua Francisco Sa 90, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22080-010, Brazil
Location: Brazil > State of Rio de Janeiro > Rio de Janeiro > Copacabana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#22 Spa Hotel in Rio de Janeiro
Price Range: $56 - $274 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — South American Copacabana Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 99
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Also Known As:
Hotel South American Copacabana
South American Copacabana Hotel Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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