Last week, I scheduled a favela tour with bealocal.com and the driver told me to meet him at the nearby Z.Bra Hostel in Leblon. I’ve never stepped foot inside a hostel in my life and have never thought about staying in one. I have heard horror stories about hosteling and bed bugs are a big concern for me.
The neighborhood of Leblon is very quaint and it’s one of the nicest areas in Rio de Janeiro. There are bike sharing programs and lovely fountains surrounded by boutique vendors.
I saw the signage for the Z.Bra hostel and the sliding glass door entry way.
I stepped inside and was blown away by the modern décor and almost felt like I was in a W hotel living room lobby.
There was a small check-in desk and a whiteboard filled with daily activities.
I asked the front desk agent if this was the right place for the favela tour pick up and he said, “Yes, are you Jamison?” I said, “Yes I am” and he said that he was expecting me. I tried to inquire more about the favela tour, but he said that it’s an outside company and they notified him that I was to be picked up from the Z.Bra hostel.
I arrived 30 minutes early and spent some time chatting it up with a lot of people in the lobby area. Some were just lounging, checking-out, and having breakfast. I thought that was cool since I didn’t mingle with a single person in Rio prior to this.
I inquired about the activities board and he said that a lot of guests enjoy the parties, tours, and group bonding. I looked around the hostel and found a cool board that had guest feedback and a Wi-Fi code. I asked if I may use the Wi-Fi and he said sure, no problem! He even invited me for breakfast in the lobby which was usually for guests.
This kind of hospitality makes me feel welcome to a new city and the people in Rio are just very friendly in generally.
I inquired about the rates and he told me for an 8 bed mixed dorm, it would cost R$60.00. I was floored when he wrote it down for me since I just paid R$616.00 for my room at the Sheraton Rio. There were other rates, such as a double room for R$200.00 which is still cheaper than the Sheraton Rio. A standard suite was only R$275.00.
If you’re looking for cheap accommodations for the 2014 World Cup or 2016 World Olympics, I would probably give this hostel a try since hotel rates will be up the roof.
My driver was late and I asked the front desk agent if I could borrow his skateboard that guests can borrow during their stay. He told me that it was fine and even watched me skate around the block. This was an awesome experience even though I did not stay overnight in the hostel.
This really makes me think twice about hostel accommodations. Are hostels usually this nice? What are your experiences?