It might be noisy, and even a bit awkward, but football fans heading to Rio for the World Cup might have to settle for a “love motel” in the city, such is the shortage of more traditional accommodation. Such motels in Brazil are generally used by couples looking for a “romantic” time away from the home or the office.
Rooms are charged by the hour (usually a minimum of four to six) but with demand for accommodation during the World Cup at record levels, and prices in host cities up by as much as almost 250%, some motels are changing their booking policy, making it possible to book in advance, or to book for a night, rather than just a few hours (see examples below). A number of motels are also revamping and registering with the Ministry of Tourism.
Hotel comparison site Trivago looked at the average cost of hotels in host cities and found that it will be more expensive to stay in Rio than any other host city. A double room on 28 June (the night of the second-round match at the Maracanã that England will play in should they finish second in their group) will cost an average of £373; and the price for the night of the final (13 July) is slightly less, at an average of £370. Elsewhere, it found that prices have increased by as much as 105% in the three cities where England will play its group matches (Manaus, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo), compared to the average during June and July 2013. Manaus is proving to be the most expensive location at £198 for a standard double room on 14 June.
Love motels aren’t the only alternative option for fans. In October, Guardian Sport reported on the increasing number of guesthouses on offer in Rio’s favelas; and other travel companies are finding clever solutions to the shortage of hotel rooms.
Panda Hotel in Botafogo is an upmarket property with decent-sized rooms and all the services of a regular hotel. Specialities include a private swimming pool, dining room, and group rooms with a dancefloor and hot tub. All rooms have air conditioning and a TV. Rates Six to 12 hours from R$189 (£54) to R$396 (£113), or from £199 by the day; booking policy unlikely to change during the World Cup.• Rua São Clemente 298, Botafogo, +55 21 2537 3134, pandahotel.com.br
Vip’s Suites is Rio’s best-known motel. It offers stunning views overlooking the ocean between Leblon and São Conrado. Rooms vary from a double with a veranda to a triple with private swimming pool, hot tub, dancefloor, barbecue area and dining for eight. You’ll need to get a taxi.Rates Six- to eight-hour stopover, double with veranda from £55, and £8.50 for each additional hour. Suites with pool from £137 to £208 for eight hours Monday to Friday, six hours Friday to Sunday and holidays (reservations can be made for superior suites only). New rates for 2014 will be available from next month.• Avenida Niemeyer 418, Leblon, +55 21 3322 1662, vipsmotel.com.br
The Elegance Hotel is situated close to the city centre and a five-minute taxi ride from Santos Dumont, Rio’s domestic airport. All suites have air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi. A private sauna, whirlpool and dancefloor are also available.Rates Four hours to overnight from £51 to £167, additional hour up to £12.50. Nightly rate, up to £306.• Rua Correia Dutra 19, Catete, +55 21 3255 9000, elegancehotel.com.br
Tour operator Real World Holidays is offering week-long stays at campsites in three World Cup cities: Barra da Tijuca in Rio; Salvador – which will cater for up to 3,000 people; and Pipa, Natal. As well as offering onsite pools, big screens, bars and football pitches, campers will get free transfers to the matches, free daily beach transfers, free beer and caipirinhas and a free barbecue meal every other day. Don’t expect to get much sleep!Rates A seven-day camping package costs £895 per person, including a pre-assembled tent, sleeping bag and mattress (but excluding flights). It’s not cheap for a week in a tent, but compared with what some hotels and hostels are charging it’s a bargain.
Another way round the extortionate prices is to consider a home swap. Love Home Swap – which has more than 46,000 homes listed in 150 countries around the world – has seen a significant increase in properties in Rio. It now has 150 places in Brazil available to swap, including 50 in Rio, 20 in São Paulo and 15 in Bahia. Examples include a modern home in leafy, upmarket Jardim Botanico. Some of its properties are also available to rent.
Renting a property
While locals are cashing in by renting out their own homes, rental companies such as HolidayLettings, Homeaway and BrazilRentMyHouse still have availability in self-catered properties in Rio and beyond. HolidayLettings, which has seen demand triple, has a two-bedroom apartment in Copacbana, Rio, available for the week of 13-20 June for approximately £1,095. Rental site Homeaway
The pop-up hotel
If lack of availability, rather than price, is the issue and you’d like to be in one of the most popular neighbourhoods in town, Design Hotels are creating a six-room pop-up hotel in a mid-century house in Santa Teresa. Taking advantage of the hillside location, with sweeping views across the city, the Maria Santa Teresa will be open throughout 2014, hosting plenty of tie-in events and providing a luxurious base to watch the games. Rooms cost £214 a night and there is still availability during the tournament. Although the fact that facilities include a “private helicopter on call” and “a 15-metre yacht, ready and waiting” should tell you all you need to know about the clientele they are aiming for.
With additional research by Nadia Nightingale
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