Estrelas da Babilonia is a hidden gem. A diamond in anything but the rough. Located in Morro da Babilonia behind the neighbourhood of Leme, this amazing little pousada was the perfect spot for our second stay in Rio de Janeiro and has its own special story to tell.
When it comes to accommodation Rio has it all from bargain basement hostels right up to 5 star luxury hotels. But if you're like us and enjoy submerging yourself in a truly authentic local experience then you'll want to check this place out.
Estrelas da Babilonia is located in a favela. Something which is made very clear to all potential guests. They are working hard to squash misconceptions that all favelas are unsafe and instead promote messages of community activism and efforts towards sustainable living which are abundantly present in the neighbourhood.
The pousada sits right near the top of Babilonia with an incredible view of Copacabana beach and, in, the distance, Christ the Redeemer. With a beautiful communal garden and only four rooms it feels more like a home than a guest house. Our room was spacious with a double bed and en-suite bathroom.
There is also a bar and restaurant open 5 days a week with seating on the decking overlooking the illuminated skyline at night.
Beautiful? Yes. unique? Yes. Cozy? Yes. What sets this place apart from the rest is the owners, Pol DHuyvetter and Bibiana. Their efforts in the community have produced some wonderful results. Pol's involvement in the ongoing renewable energy co-op has seen him install solar panels on the pousada's roof. Read more about the other community initiatives in Babilonia here.
Pol is very attentive and makes himself available at all times for his guests. One evening before we left we sat down with Pol and swapped stories. A Belgian pacifist, Pol has dedicated his life to anti-nuclear causes and world peace. In 1992 he walked across the USA in a march against nuclear weapons. His travels over the years have taken him to over eighty countries and has some wonderful stories to share. I'm sure you'll have the pleasure of hearing them when you visit Estrelas da Babilonia for yourself.