This is how the Pauper team typically travels….Look at how many frequent flyer points we have, look at the map of the world which occupies prime real estate on our living room wall and pick a place where we want to go. We pick a hotel with very little fanfare and the rest of our planning happens either on the flight or once we land at our destination.
A colleague’s recommendation to avoid Copacabana and Ipanema and center our stay in the Leblon area led to a focused search landing us at the Marina Palace Hotel in Rio.
From the minute we landed at this locally owned property, we knew we had made the right decision. The property is situated on prime real estate smack in front of Leblon beach. You cross Av. Delfim Moreira, grab your towels and chairs from the hotel stand and get ready to laze, swim or people watch on a beach far less commercial than either Ipanema or Copacabana. Surrounding the hotel is a plethora of juice bars, boutiques and cafes, making it the perfect getaway hub!
As soon as we reached the property, Tania Conde welcomed us with a warm smile, offering to personally do whatever was needed to make our stay comfortable. Right away, I noticed that the hotel was charging us more for breakfast than we were told by the third-party reservations website. Tania took a quick look and said that she would essentially give us complimentary breakfast for the entire stay! She had won our hearts and stomachs!!! Tania did not stop with that. Since we were going to be there for a week, she upgraded us to a really nice room with spectacular views of Christ the Redeemer on one side and Leblon beach on the other. We did not come to Rio to stay in our room, but every time we looked out the window and saw Christ among the clouds or people jogging on the beach, we smiled with contentment.
Breakfast at the property was served in the dining area with prime beach views. Each morning, with our exotic fruit plate and Pão de queijo (Brazilian bread), we would people watch to our heart’s content. When we stepped into the lobby the staff always greeted us with an Obrigada, asking us what we planned to do, cautioning Siddhi to not wear her camera around her neck, recommending local places to eat and shop. And when we got back after our sojourns, it felt like coming home to family.
Our room was always neat and clean with all the extra towels we needed to support our endless beach outings. If this was not spoiling us, then the rooftop swimming pool with the stunning views, especially of a brightly lit Rio at night was a breathtaking spectacle.
When it was time to leave, Tania insisted that we come back again with my husband in tow, promising to give us the best suite in the house! Tania and team….thanks again for making our stay so memorable and thank you for doing what so many hotels claim to do, but never do.
To learn more about the Marina Palace hotel, you can visit their website at http://www.marinapalacehotel.com/