By Kristen Nozell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Travelers looking for good-value, alternative accommodation in Rio have another strong option this summer thanks to the opening of the Dubliner Guesthouse in Laranjeiras. Irishman Liam Lawlor, who is originally from Dublin and one of the partners of its former incarnation, the Carioca Guesthouse, has relaunched with some of his native charm.
The 450 square-meter villa on Rua Alice in Laranjeiras holds fourteen beds, and is a comfortable, less expensive option for those looking to explore a neighborhood a little further off the beaten path of Copacabana and Ipanema.
The property comprises a main house and an attached guesthouse, which has two large dormitory-style rooms with seven beds each. Upstairs is typically used for longer-term guests, and in its previous guise the guesthouse welcomed stays of over a month. The downstairs room is taken up by those passing through, typically younger backpackers and students.
Lawlor chose Laranjeiras specifically as it’s slightly removed from the stress of the city, but close enough that the beach in Copacabana, for example, can be accessed in around twenty minutes.
Describing the area as “classier than Gloria and more convenient than Santa Téresa,” the Irishman also wanted to own a house or villa rather than an apartment, and Laranjeiras provided good value for the size of property that he was able to procure.
Plans are afoot to turn the front parlor into a full restaurant and bar, with a big screen installed in time to hold World Cup viewing parties. The menu, co-written by the executive chef at the Marriott Hotel, is already set, and will include a traditional Irish Sunday roast and a burger that he says will vie for the coveted position of Rio’s best.
Arriving in Rio by way of San Francisco and Australia, the owner is friendly and laidback, a vibe that permeates the whole guesthouse and attracts a like-minded clientele. “It’s a bizarre, eclectic mix sometimes,” with visitors ranging from American and European students in town primarily to experience the nightlife, to Brazilians from other cities, to older visitors who are eager to explore a lesser-known area of Rio.
Adding to the mix are those who visit for the ‘Irish Sessions’ that take place on the first Sunday of every month. The jams can last up to eight to nine hours and typically involve about twenty musicians and some eighty guests all either playing or enjoying the traditional Irish music.
Lawlor, whose first venture in Rio was a music event production and promotion service called Dubliner Promotions, plans to continue these sessions, which draw an increasingly bigger crowd every month, and offer other events in the future as well.
The lively and relaxed atmosphere combined with the charm of The Dubliner Guesthouse promise an enjoyable stay to anyone eager to see a different side of the Cidade Maraveilhosa. Beds can be booked through any of the major hostel booking sites, and rates start from just R$30-R$35 per night.