For friends or couples looking to stay in a lively and vibrant area of the city; this funky and contemporary one bedroom Lisbon apartment is situated on the 1st floor of a typical stone building and is located on one of the busiest streets in the bohemian neighbourhood of Bairro Alto.View More
Iamsterdam11 on 15/07/2014 22:14
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.
Steve B on 25/06/2014 21:54
Had a very nice stay here during the World Cup. As an American we have pretty high standards and was happy with what this small hotel in a sleepy beach city offered. Rooms were clean and they did a wonderful job serving us, even folded our dirty clothes that were in a pile in the corner. Less than a minute walk to the beach which has plenty of bars and restaurants, could spend all day on the beach. If you walk up to the main road you'll pass a small burger place under the tent, fantastic burgers and cheap. On the main road you can walk to "Deckys" which is as close to an American sports bar that you'll find. Definitely do a beach buggy tour, we booked ours via Natal Vans, great experience.
lrt61 on 02/05/2013 16:40
I went to a convention at the Praiamar Hotel last week. As I had stayed there before and was not happy at all about its lack of maintenance and bad food, I decided to give Araça a try. It is better located, with an exit to the beach. Less than one week before the meeting I had to change plans because a travel companion needed to stay elsewhere. Although it was beyond the penalty period, the hotel accepted to reduce my stay from 5 to one night without charging penalties. Nice.
The hotel is well located, the room was huge but poorly decorated, with a nice balcony. Towels could be better. Cleanliness is not their top quality, the same as in most Natal hotels. Staff was correct but not especially nice, breakfast is just average. I did not use the swimming pool (Ponta Negra beach is much nicer!).
redheadtraveller53 on 19/09/2011 01:45
We have stayed here for the last 4 years and we love it. The staff are amazing and helpful. The rooms are two big rooms with sliding doors between the bedroom and living area as well as a large balcony.Only compliant here is that it would be nice to have patio furniture on the deck. We just took our the small table and chairs from living area. It has a small fridge which is great for putting fruit or yogurt in and it also has a sink in living area. The bathroom is small but perfectly useable. It has a nice walk in shower and toilet and sink plus a bidet style spray! The breakfast is ample and diverse with lots of fresh fruits and juices, sweet cakes, eggs, fried cheese , ham and cheese platters and toast and buns. Also cereal and yogurts, tea and coffee and chocolate milk. It only cost us 100 a night and right on beach!
Gicca on 14/08/2011 14:43
We have stayed for a week at Araça Praia Flat in early August. Natal is a wonderful city and the weather was great.
Room: Our room had a great balcony, viewing the green ocean. Make sure to ask for a room facing the ocean, otherwise you may have a concrete wall for a view.
Don´t expect any luxury inside the rooms, they are very simple, but clean and spacious. The bathroom could use a renovation and the " kitchen" area has a mini fridge, a sink and a micro-wave. The TV is old, but has a good variety of channels on cabo.
Hotel overall: Araça Flat is in a great location, just in front of a pedestrian area in front of the beach ... no need to cross any streets to get to the sand. And no need to use a car to get to restaurants and a few shops.
The breakfast is good, with a variety of bread, cakes, juice and fruit. Try the Tapioca (typical food from the northeast of Brazil)! We had dinner only one night at the restaurant. Food is ok, but simple with good size portions though.
Upper deck is were the breakfast is served and the swimming area. Pool is really too small!! I haven't seen anyone use it. But, you have the ocean just in front, so it wasn't a big issue for me.
What to do: If you walk outside the door that goes to the beach, during the day you can just rent a chair and stay right in front of the hotel at the beach the whole day ... just great! Make sure to get there early to get a chair since they beach gets very crowded specially on weekends. At night, walk to your right at the pedestrian area and a few blocks away you'll find several restaurants and a lively area near " Morro do Careca" . You can also go towards the main avenue: 3 blocks up hill (You gotta be on shape!) to find a nice sea food restaurant (Camarões) and some shops.
During the day I would definitly advise to take some side trips (with a guide) to Praia da Pipa, Praia do Madero, Galinhos and don't miss going to the "dunas" for a long buggy ride.