For those who think Rio’s hotels seem a tad expensive during the upcoming
, there are always alternatives — perhaps a room in a "love hotel" or in a "pacified" slum.
Rio will welcome some 4,00,000 of the 6,00,000 foreign tourists expected to visit for the June 12 to July 13 football championship, said tourist office Embratur. It ranks Rio the world’s third-most expensive city for hotels, after New York and Paris, with average prices of $247 a night.
For the World Cup, hoteliers have ratcheted that up to $484 — and even higher in the tourist haven of Copacabana, where prices reach $693, according to a TripAdvisor report.
But the high prices won’t keep visitors away. The city will have "the highest hotel occupation in the country, at more than 90 per cent and 100 per cent for the final," predicted association president Alfredo Lopes.
Brazil has invested $4 billion in the country’s hotel infrastructure, $1.5 billion of which is for 250 new hotels in Rio alone. Bolstering the total are 12 of the city’s 60 “love hotels”. Usually rented by the hour to amorous couples, they have been reconverted and added to the World Cup mix. “The ceiling mirrors have been taken down and the round beds swapped for traditional ones,” said Lopes.
Antonio Cerqueira, vice-president of the Association of Love Hotels, says that 1,000 rooms will be available at prices ranging from $100 to $375 a night: cheaper than many traditional hotels.
Favelas for backpackers
Although Rio’s favelas are infamous bastions of gang violence and drug trafficking, the past six years have seen police move in to 'pacify' an increasing number. Coinciding with that process has been a growth in small hostels in the earliest "pacified" favelas overlooking Copacabana Beach. They are a draw for budget-conscious backpackers. The view is spectacular; access somewhat less so, as the slums are often only reached after perilous climbs and steep stairs.
Pablo Gomes, 35, last year opened the Green Culture Hostel, which can accommodate 25 people. "It will cost between $54 and $63 per day — the same price as during Carnival," he says.
A third option is living like a local, in a rented apartment or room. "Supply has spiralled 900 per cent in a year in Rio, with 9,000 apartments available for the Cup," reveals Fabio Nahon, who is managing the rental of around 30 apartments.
READ: LATEST FROM FOOTBALL WORLD CUP 2014