I'm conflicted by this hotel. I think there is a lot of potential but there are definitely things that need work. We booked this hotel to stay during the World Cup about 9 months in advance, and amongst the options available for our group of 7 we found this hotel to be the best option considering the prices and the Tripadvisor reviews. For anyone traveling here from the new airport (about an hour away, old airport near city is closed) a taxi cost us 160R each way. And Araca is on the northern end of the Ponta Negra beach area. And that hour traveling was back roads to avoid rush hour traffic. The direct route to the airport is 45min with no traffic. We arrived at the hotel in the evening to find that not one hotel employee spoke English. While I speak some Spanish and Italian and learned some Portuguese vocab and phrases, it is very inconvenient not to have an english speaking employee on the premises to deal with hotel issues, which we had. If you have no issues then no need to worry I guess. The only woman who spoke slight English was Suzanna but she was only there about a quarter of the time during our stay (3 nights) and even she was using Google Translate to try to communicate with us. I understand Natal is very much a Brazilian tourist destination but if they eventually want to be more of an international destination they are going to need people who speak English (as said by me, other english speakers from Australia and Britain, and even Spanish guests). Even some of the spanish speaking guests (uruguay fans) had issues with not being able to communicate with the receptionists and other staff. In my prior communications with the hotel before we arrived to confirm our rooms Suzanna responded in English so I didn't think the language barrier would be an issue. When we arrived at night they did not have the 4 rooms available that we requested because they upgraded everybody else who was already there at the hotel and who had arrived that day before us. Not only is that unprofessional but I had confirmed literally days before that our rooms were reserved and ready to go. We did receive 2 rooms that were in okay condition (rooms 304 and 305). They were oceanfront rooms and you could see the water. One of the rooms we received was excellent (room 204) as it may have been one of their suites. The walls were white as opposed to beige in the others and there was more space. Just a more pleasant feel. However, the other we were given was awful. We were given room 101. It was "oceanfront" but it was on the first floor with no natural light, the room was damp and dark, and the oceanfront view was a view of grass and the gate in front of the hotel before you reached the pathway to then walk down to the beach. Needless to say it was not what we expected considering the price we paid during the World Cup and what the room description was. We complained to the receptionist but she said they were full and to come back in the morning to speak with Suzanna. We did and were given an inside view room for the next night until the final night we were given 307 which was oceanfront and a better overall room. It did rain while we were there and so there were puddles inside the hotel in the walkways, all of which were tile (room floors as well). The rooms themselves were not the standard I expected being from the US (definitely outdated like from the 70s) and I understand that but I imagine Brazilians have a different standard when it comes to places like this. The bathrooms were not the best/cleanest (they didn't want anyone flushing toilet paper down the toilets) and the towels not very substantial. I will say I think what room you receive would go a long way in determining your satisfaction here. Do not accept or stay on the first floor oceanfront as you can't see the ocean and in general the rooms are dark. Stay on a higher floor if possible. The fact that our group had 4 rooms made that very clear to me. With all that being said, the hotel is in a great location, the staff is nice and helpful (even if there is a significant language barrier), the rooftop is very cool with great views and a nice breakfast (didn't have dinner there), and the WIFI was excellent according to members of our group. I think each room is hit or miss, some had hotel information with phone numbers, etc., and some rooms had no information. There was a delicious little mom and pop place called Popo do Sul right down the street with good food and caipirinhas. The staff helped call taxis for us when we needed them and had someone there at all hours (we checked out at 3am when we left). I don't know if the other oceanfront hotels were similar but based on reviews I had read before the trip they may all be very similar outside of the super luxury places. We were not expecting luxury but did expect a little more than we received. It also rained quite a bit in our three days and so that did make the hotel a little less appealing since there was water everywhere (depends on the season obviously). I would certainly bring my own towels as well. It was nice being away from Via Costeira and right on the beach and it was a nice walk down to the southern end of Ponta Negra. My advice is just to do your research on other options, know as much Portuguese as you can learn and temper your expectations. Sorry for the long review but the 3 days we were there was a constant struggle and I want others to be aware just in case. Cheers.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Araca Flat is located on the seafront at Ponta Negra Beach, close to the main bars and restaurants, handicraft fairs, shopping, ATMs and agencies. Official Hotel of the World Cup 2014, Seal of Quality Gold Tourism Best - SEBRAE and Certificate of Excellence 2013 - Trip Advisor. Our aptos have balcony, ante room with sofa bed and mini kitchen (with fridge and sink) in all aptos. Adult and children's pools on the rooftop, with panoramic views of Ponta Negra Beach and Morro do Careca. Deck with tables, chairs, sun loungers, umbrellas and bar service and restaurant by the pool. Menu of coktails, native fruit juices, soda and beer. Option of snacks, meals and snacks in our restaurant, which has room service served until 10pm. Wireless internet (free), safe deposit box (check with the front desk) and parking (free). The crib and microwave and cooking utensils (dishes, cups, glasses and cutlery), upon availability and request. We have tour agency and car rental in our hotel, consult information with the reservations industry. Elevator with access to all floors, direct access to the beach. Voltage 220v. Laundry service (ask for table at reception). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Araca Praia Flat Beira Mar Natal, Brazil