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Jim Dec 4th, 2002 03:57 AM

Rio Sofitel Hotel
We just returned from Rio. We stayed at the Sofitel Hotel that is located in the best location in Rio because while it is on Copacabana Beach, it is a 3 minute walk to Ipanema Beach.<BR><BR>The hotel is marvelous. It is 5 star. Our rooms (2 of them) were both fantastic. The views in each room vary. One view was worth a million dollars as we saw the entire Copa Beach and all the mountains. The other view we saw only the beach and ocean.<BR><BR>The buffet breakfast was full of delicious hot and cold foods and many different juices. I would stay there again and highly recommend this hotel. BTW, there is someone on this board that has a mission to knock the Sofitel and say it is garbage. I almost listened to him and booked elsewhere. All I can say is that man is on drugs or owns a competing hotel in Rio. <BR><BR>Enjoy your visit to Brazil.

quest4fun Dec 4th, 2002 04:03 AM

We are looking foward to staying at the Sofitel at the end of the month. However we were just notified that breakfast is not included in our stay and thus would be extra. Is this the usual way or is it just our luck. I thought all hotels include breakfast.

Don Dec 4th, 2002 05:48 AM

I am in Rio now and last night I went to the Sofitel for drinks and I agree with the prev poster it is a fine hotel, I have stayed there years ago. Breakfast is usually not included in the 5 star hotels in Rio so you are not being singled out, don't worry, take a look at another hotel and you will see.

riobound Dec 4th, 2002 11:04 AM

To Jim--<BR>Glad to read a positive report on the Sofitel--I'll be staying there in Feb. I'm a little disconcerted about all the warnings on street crime. Did you feel safe walking to and from the hotel? Would you recommend always taking taxis at night, even for short distances from the Sofitel?<BR>Thanks for any advice.

liz Dec 4th, 2002 12:08 PM

Jim,<BR>I do recommend always taking taxis at night. Do a deal with a taxi that is stationed at your hotel. If you want to shop the street markets that are out at night, that is fine, your taxi will wait to take you back to the hotel later. They also wait while you dine, tour, etc. There is no where you will want to go on foot from your hotel at night that is a short distance EXCEPT the street fairs. However it is wise and convenient to take a taxi. On the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to walk up and down the beach on Copacabana at night, it is brightly lit and plenty of people do, as long as you are in a pair of shorts, flipflops and a tshirt, you will not attract attention. Rio has cracked down on crime and there are lots of police posted around the main beaches. The real problem is....if you are spotted coming and going from the hotel then you are targeted (potentially) as a tourist, ie. cash in your pocket, ATM card, etc. After many many trips there, I have never had a problem but I have always stuck with my taxis when leaving the hotel and returning at night. Also, re breakfast in hotels, I would call the hotel directly and see that the buffet IS included, every hotel has one, it is a matter of negotiation. Tell them the buffet is IN or you are booking elsewhere. Usually the charge for this kind of thing is steep and Brazilians lunch late, so you will want your breakfast buffet. At the very least, negotiate a lower daily rate.

quest4fun Dec 4th, 2002 06:09 PM

thanks I will give it a try.

Joaquim Dec 7th, 2002 07:25 AM

I am in Rio right now and have not seen any street crime whatsoever. As far as contracting with a driver is concerned, there is no need to do that there are plenty of taxis all over the place even at 5 am. Do you really want to pay some guy to be waiting for you everywhere you go, he will want to get paid too, why do you need this hanging over your head unless you are some little old lady or something.

Bill Jan 5th, 2003 08:29 AM

Out the door of the Sofitel, I told the man I wanted a taxi. The English speaking driver of a nice black Mercedes took me to the Gavea racetrack and charged 28 reals. I gave him 30. After the races, there was one of the yellow &amp; blue taxis out front. The fare back to Sofitel was 9 reals, rounded up. So, I learned my lesson: out the front door turn left, see two or three of the inexpensive taxis waiting at the corner.<BR><BR>Immediately to the left of the front door is a decent restaurant with decent prices. <BR><BR>I chose not to pay $15 for breakfast at the hotel. Out the front door go left, to corner, cross the street. Left down the street to the corner you'll see a small restaurant/shop open to the street. Coffee is 2 reals (60 cents) and tasty food for cheap.<BR><BR>You can walk out on the 'boardwalk' at night and in the immediate area. Tourist (civil) police and Police Militar are all over the place. That's reassuring, but they must be there for a reason. The taxis are inexpensive and plentiful, so there is no reason to walk anywhere.<BR>

Carioca Jan 5th, 2003 11:55 AM

Bill, looks like you had a great time and learned that you don't have to spend alot of money to get what you want in Rio if you know how to do it. Next time you can even save plenty on the hotel and still be in a great location and have everything you need.

kath Jan 6th, 2003 04:24 AM

Jim you are mostly correct but...<BR>only a few rooms face the full view of Copa beach while the rest face a limited view or a side street. The rooms are in need of updating and are certinly not 5 star. The location is great as is the service and food. We were at the hotel over the holidays just a week ago.

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