The Lagao Serena Flat Hotel in Araras was a new experience for me. It is not a glitzy hotel yet from my experiences in Brazil they rarely are. However it is practical, spacious and suited for my needs.
On previous trips to Brazil I’ve stayed in a different apartment hotel (I don’t know if they are all apartment hotels). However my colleague told me that they put me here because people complained about the last place. Also, by being based in Araras, the Lagao Serena Flat Hotel is in one of the safer towns/cities in Brazil. The crime rate in Brazil is high particularly the incidence of violent crime. So to be able to stay in a hotel with a striking lake outside which people safely jog around in the morning has some appeal.
On arrival at close to midnight there was little to see other than what appeared to be a mid-sized apartment block building. I had to ascend one flight of escalators to reach the Reception area.
One of the three people operating the desk spoke conversational English. He also seemed to be working every night so as a familiar face we waved to each other as we passed each evening.
Check-in was efficient and I was soon directed to one, relatively small elevator. There was one other elevator in the hotel but this was deemed a service elevator. I’d not be keen on going up all those flights of stairs to the fifth or sixth floor if the elevator was broken.
On arriving at my floor I found those modern day sensor lights on the landing of the floor. You know the ones, they are triggered about 3 seconds after you want them to be! You move slowly and carefully across the landing as you have no idea where you are going until a light comes on.
I did soon find my room at the end of the landing and for a Brazilian hotel (well my limited experience of them) it was quite appealing.
I entered into a fairly spacious lounge area with a good size sofa, wide screen TV, coffee table, work desk and chair, a metal dining table and two chairs and a small breakfast bar. All seemed in good working order however the chair at the desk was admittedly a bit low for my liking. Also with it not being adjustable it may not be of great help to my posture.
There was a hatch way from the lounge leading into a limited yet functional kitchen. Limited utensils were on display however there was a full size cooker available for use. A small fridge was also provided however since it was used as a mini bar there was little scope to use it for my own food.
The bedroom was of a good size and like the lounge had its own air conditioning unit. For some bizarre reason I could adjust the temperature in the bedroom below 24C yet the lounge temperature gauge just didn’t want to go lower on request.
The bedroom was a twin as opposed to a double room. Not a major issue as I was travelling alone, it is just that I’ve become accustomed to a large double bed or even king size bed all to my self on my travels. The bed sheets were very dated in style, a real throwback from the 1970s I feel. The only real problem was the under sheet. It was too narrow to be tucked in. So during the middle of the night I awoke to find the sheet all scrunched up beneath me and I had to keep spreading it out.
Wardrobe space was adequate and there was also a large wide screen TV in the bedroom. I quickly flicked through the channels and found none with any English language channels, not even a news channel in English. I was however slightly amused to discover a show which appeared to be called “Miss BumBum 2013”. A lot of young women in gold bikinis strutting around a studio showing off their rear ends to the camera! I tell you what though, none of them had anything on Pippa Middleton. That leaves me wondering though, do you think any of the losers would get arsey?
The en-suite bathroom was definitely a good size. It even featured a shavers light over the sink which is never a given in some hotels. The shower cubicle was a good size, three people could comfortably take a shower in there at the same time, not that I’d want to give you ideas!
The real significant thing about this bathroom for me was the toilet seat, it was padded! Yes, real luxury and comfort whilst you sit on the throne. I thought this was a great idea and would love to see it in more places.
I suspect plumbing is not a strong point of Brazil as you are discouraged from throwing paper down the toilet. An appropriate bin was provided as well as a bidet. I’m certainly not an expert user in these things but I did use it a few times to good effect.
Later during my stay, during daylight/sociable hours (just), I discovered that behind curtains in the lounge was a balcony area. This had a great view of the nearby and popular lake. A central point in this small Brazilian town of Araras.
This also revealed the cause of much noise in the night. The windows in the bedroom of the Lagoa Serena Hotel were not double glazed or strongly insulated against noise. Over the course of the night you could hear traffic from a main road outside, irrespective of the time of night. I managed to sleep with it anyway.
In the morning I did discover that the kitchen window offered a great view of the sunrise, one of the few opportunities I had of seeing daylight from the hotel.
There was also a complimentary wifi service which I used. It seemed to be fairly reliable and as quick as you could hope for in a Brazilian hotel.
Breakfast featured a cold food buffet. A basic range of cereals, fruit, juices which weren’t exceptional, hot breakfast with about four selections including scrambled egg and sausage. Also, quite noticeable for Brazil and South America was the wide range of pastries, breads and cakes. Yes the Brazilians love their sweet cakes for breakfast. It wasn’t of great appeal to me yet it seemed a big hit with the locals. Coffee was self service. (I think that is the way it should be. If you go to a self service buffet breakfast why do hotels insist on employing someone to go around serving coffee? It is not self service then is it? It can also slow you down if you are rushing as they never seem to come and serve you fast enough.)
The Lagoa Serena Flat Hotel also had a rooftop swimming pool. Although it might have been a little cold and dark by the time I had any opportunity to use it. There was also a small gym area near the pool on the top floor.
I would love to tell you more about the facilities at the Lagoa Serena Flat Hotel and indeed about Araras. However I arrived at around 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. I was then working 12-14 hour days followed by waking at 3:30am on the Saturday to prepare to leave for the airport. So in all honesty I saw very little.
From what I did see, the Lagoa Serena Flat Hotel was sufficient for my brief stay. It was spacious and I was able to rest and catch up on some e-mail. Soundproofing of the windows would be a great plus as would a more suitable desk chair. All that being said I think my lasting memory of the Lagoa Serena Hotel is the padded toilet seat!