Photo Review: Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort

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The Location

Sheraton Rio (12,000-16,000 points per night) is located in Sao Conrado, next to Leblon. It is sandwiched between the ocean and one of the most famous Rio favelas called Vidigal that is built, like the rest of them into the mountain cliffs. That location of the hotel is unique in Rio, as it affords incredible ocean views on one side and incredible picturesque favela and mountain views on another. For those of you, folks, who don’t think that slams can be considered a great view, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Sheraton Rio is a non-decrepit building, and it’s located really out of the way. That wouldn’t be a big problem, but in this city, traffic in both directions can be nightmarish. On one occasion, it took us 1.5 hours to get from Copacabana to the hotel—a mere 15-minute journey in normal conditions! These amazing views surely come with a cost.

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Apparently, both Rio traffic and its plain, boring exterior are not the hotel’s faults. In all other aspects, I found it to be a great 4-star operation. We were put in a small, but nicely renovated room with a balcony and an ocean view, although the ocean view was somewhat obscured by the trees. You won’t have this problem on higher floors, of course.

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However, there was one advantage of being on a lower floor. The water flow in the shower was nothing short of astounding. Pure heaven! I don’t remember another hotel where I would spend so much time in hot waters, LOL. Remember Commando 450? I did!

The Lounge

The lounge is located on the 26th floor. Breakfast is served in the adjacent restaurant, and spread was quite good with egg dishes made to order. There are also coffee with some bites during the day, and happy hours with free booze and snacks between 5 and 7:30PM (we haven’t been able to attend the Happy  Hour, since we wandered around too much). And the best part is, these incredible views come with the meal.

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And you thought, only the poor lived in the favelas

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Since I am only a Gold, I did not receive an access to the Lounge, but there is such thing as…

The Art of Complaining

Let me be clear. I do not do frivolous complaints. I would never complain about a stain on the carpet or a burnt-out light bulb (at least for a reason other than getting a replacement). But when there is something I believe to be a serious issue, I will complain. And so I did when their free shuttle failed to pick me up for the second day in the row.

The hotel runs a free shuttle every other hour to and from different areas of Rio Sul. You have to get a ticket for both, getting on the bus at the hotel and being picked up on the way back. So we reserved to be picked-up at the designated spot in Copacabana twice, and it never happened. Your other options are a cab (which will cost you R$20-40 depending where you are in Copa), or a R$3 local bus.

Anyway, I told the concierge what happened, and about 30 minutes later, the manager gave me a call and asked what kind of resolution I would like. I said that the lounge access would ease my pain. He agreed.

More pics from the lounge and around the hotel.

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All in all, this is a great property with killer views and friendly and competent stuff, but I wouldn’t stay anywhere other than Ipanema, Copacabana, or Leme if your purpose is to explore the city. When and if they do extend Metro to Leblon, then I would recommend an stay at this hotel without reservations.

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