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“An amazing experience”
Review of The Maze Inn

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The Maze Inn
Ranked #48 of 331 Rio de Janeiro B&B and Inns
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“An amazing experience”
Reviewed 5 January 2012

If you want to go somewhere completely different & immerse yourself in the local culture, then I highly recommend a visit to/ stay at The Maze Inn in the Tavares Bastos Favela.

The rooms are basic but comfortable, the views over the Favela, Botafogo Bay & Sugar Loaf more than make up for the limited facilities. Remember, this is not your usual Inn, this is in a favela! If you keep this in mind, your experience will be one of the best of your life.

It's the safest Faveala in Rio thanks to all the hard work of Bob Nadkarni, his family & the locals who have worked tiredless to clean up the Favela & take it back from the drug gangs. Keep an eye out for the Elite Police force, The BOPE as they train there. Senor Bill & his lovely wife & children are welcoming & great fun. They will tell you all about the Faveala & the history of the Maze Inn.

Getting around the faveala is great fun, a true labyrinth of alley ways. Use the mini bus or bike taxis to get up & down the hill to the main street. So cheap & it supports the local community.

This is a truly humbling experience. Every one who goes to Rio should visit the Maze Inn.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Hammy1901
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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67 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2011

This hotel is in the "favelas", one of the poorer areas of Rio, (now called "Communities") but the hospitality and ambience is superb. You can only go so far by taxi, then you have to climb up various steps and windy footpaths to reach the Maze which is nearly at the top of the "community". The views are breathtaking, and the jazz evenings have great groups and a brilliant atmosphere. If you want 5* de-luxe don't go there, but if you want something completely different which you will remember long after you've left Rio, this is the place. It was started a few years ago, but a British guy - see the web pages, one actually walks you through the route!

Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank mau083
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Inverness, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2011

As part of our visit to Brazil we booked in to The Maze for 3 nights but ended up barely managing to stay 1. Having read up thoroughly about staying here, we were prepared for a unique, adventurous experience - sadly, right from our arrival we were let down. I had booked months in advance and specifically requested the balcony room (as advised by previous visitors) - I then telephoned the day before arriving to further confirm our arrival, and was assured by Bob that our booking had been made. We arrived around 9pm after a fairly frightening journey through the favela streets and rather than a welcoming greeting we had to wait while Bob lazily greeted us from the sofa, eventually standing up to say hi. We were shown to our room, where an overpowering stench of sewage permeated every corner - Bob's wife mumbled an apology, and proceeded to try to cover the smell with a couple of cursory sprays with an air freshener. The bed was functional, with cobwebs in the corners and dust across the surfaces. The shower had a leak and a very poor attempt to seal it had been made using a plastic bag (when I tried to use the shower the water leaked everywhere). Admittedly the view was excellent, but it really made little difference given the squalor-like conditions of the room. Throughout the night fireworks would randomly go off followed by loud shouting which woke us both up (despite wearing earplugs) - our first thoughts were that this was gunfire, the bright flash of white lights which flooded our curtained room helping to slightly allay our fears. The reek from the bathroom also actually woke us - truly the worst indoor smell we had encountered in all our travels, including India and Africa.

The next morning after an anxious night featuring little sleep we went downstairs and hoped that the "legendary" breakfast would redeem The Maze somehow. However - yet again - we were left rather disappointed. The fruit & coffee was tasty but that was it and we spent more time listening to Bob regale all at the table with his random & tiresome stories. Having decided we were completely unhappy with our stay and wanted to check out we spoke to Bob and explained our reasons; rather than offer an apology, we were told that we had been mistakenly put in a room that was not supposed to be occupied (because of the drain stench issue), and that this sort of thing rarely happens. The room which I had booked well in advance was apparently occupied by someone else, so we weren't even offered an upgrade. And rather than offering us either a discount for the "out of bounds" room we had endured or some kind way of making up for our sub-standard experience, Bob offered nothing whatsoever to redeem The Maze. We promptly checked out and in to a far cleaner B&B in Botafogo which also offered great views, was only slightly more expensive and was immeasurably more pleasant an experience.

It seems that The Maze is very good at publicising itself and some of its apparent popularity could well be due to an increased focus by the city of Rio to improve the public profile of favelas. The Maze has been featured in The Guardian, the NY Times and British Airways magazine - having stayed here it is absolutely unbelievable that this place was recommended in the publications.

Our advice is that if you are looking for a favela experience, visit The Maze for a beer or one of their jazz nights - afterwards, leave and go back to another B&B or hotel which isn't located in a favela. We felt cheated and angry after this experience, and embarrassed at ignoring the advice of many Brazilian friends who repeatedly told us to change our booking at The Maze - we should have listened, and strongly advise you avoid staying here.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Sean B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delhi, India
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2011

we loved it. bob and malu are wonderful and very generous people. the view is spectacular, the breakfast even more..we used to have 3 hr breakfasts. the guests we met were so interesting and lovely. we were at first anxious about having booked in the favela and were even more so because we landed there at 11pm, but it was safe and absolutely fine.

tavares bastos is a hill and the maze is all the way up, they have combi vans that operate upto 11pm and charge 1/2 reas, so its all good. its also very close to santa teresa, the flamingo park, and buses are easily accessible from the bottom of tavares.

our stay in rio was wonderful because we stayed at the maze, the conversations we had over breakfast etc. i cried when we left!

the maze is eclectic, and the rooms are basic but comfortable, but like i said breakfast was the star of the day and so is bob. highly recommend staying here.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Rasi80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
melbourne
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2011

i will always and only stay here in rio. bob and malu will look after you and it will be an unforgettable moment in your life just finding the place.

Room Tip: private one
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank highabove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2011

just got back from Rio and spent a week in The Maze. Bob is quite a character. the man has fantastic stories and is always up for a great conversation. The Inn itself is not the Four Seasons but the rooms are simple, nice, and VERY clean. Everything works perfectly. The Inn offers what's truly a millionaire's view of Rio de Janeiro. The top room has a balcony with a 180 degree panoramic view of Guanabara Bay (including Sugar Loaf). The views from the main room are almost equally amazing. As for safety - Favela Tavares Bastos is the HQ of the BOPE - Brazil's version of SWAT. The community is amazing and it is perfectly safe. I walked around at night with money on me and a few beers in me and never had the slightest problem nor did I ever feel the slightest bit unsafe. Really an awesome time.

Room Tip: Go for the top room w/ the balcony!
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank dbalson1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buenos Aires
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2011

If you're up for a glimpse of a real Rio experience you cannot miss this place. The neighbourhood is safe and people are really nice and helpful. Bob and the staff are great, plus the place is very nice to see. Go there rather than choosing an ordinary accomodation in Copacabana or some other touristy area and you WON'T regret it! :-)

PS: my friends from Rio de Janeiro suggested me to go there, that's how I found out about the place.. As locals, they think that the place is totally worth it too!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Raquelita82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Maze Inn

Property: The Maze Inn
Address: Rua Tavares Bastos 414 _ 66 | Catete, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22221-030, Brazil
Region: Brazil > State of Rio de Janeiro > Rio de Janeiro
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #48 of 331 B&Bs / Inns in Rio de Janeiro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
National Geographic describes The MAZE as "Unique and Original". Designed and built during 4 decades by Bob Nadkarni (Stanley Kubrick's sculptor-2001 A Space Odyssey). The architecture reflects the Atlantic Forest, the foothills and the sweeping bays which surround it. Situated in a Rio favela, it reveals the source of Brazil's creativity whilst being the safest location in Rio de Janeiro. The MAZE is a family home, family run. It's typical guests are architects, writers, photographers, artists, musicians and adventurous souls. Probably not for anyone with serious mobility difficulties or cat phobia however. The view is probably the finest in Rio. The Breakfast is big. Guest chat'n'mingle is wonderful and stimulating. The MAZE is a fine-art museum with a jazz night celebrated (4 years running) by US DOWNBEAT Magazine amongst the "World's Top Jazz Venues" The owner, ex BBC TV correspondent, ex war cameraman, painter, writer and jazzman welcomes you into his home and his world. The MAZE is a place to lose yourself and find yourself. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Maze Hotel Rio De Janeiro
The Maze Inn Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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