Can’t find a room at the Rio Olympics? Try the lux­ury sex suite

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

CAN’T get a room at the Rio Olympics? Worry not: The Villa Reg­gia has beds – oh, and sex chairs and an S&M cage. With 500,000 tourists ex­pected to flood Rio de Janeiro for the Games start­ing Au­gust 5, Brazil’s sec­ond-big­gest city is bend­ing over back­ward to make sure there’s enough lodg­ing.

Ho­tel ca­pac­ity has been mas­sively ex­panded, Airbnb par­tic­i­pants are look­ing to seize the mo­ment, and small busi­nesses in the im­pov­er­ished but of­ten spec­tac­u­larly lo­cated favela neigh­bour­hoods hope for a pay­day.

The city’s in­fa­mous by-the-hour “love ho­tels” are also up for the party.

Some 5000 rooms from the net­work have been made avail­able, at prices a se­duc­tive 70 per­cent less than in tra­di­tional es­tab­lish­ments ac­cord­ing to An­to­nio Cerqueira, vice pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Rio Love Ho­tels.

“The love ho­tels are keep­ing their same tar­iffs for 12 hours [about US$100 to $375],” he said.

The round beds and ceil­ing mir­rors have made way for reg­u­lar ho­tel fur­ni­ture – but if guests want to mount their own sex­ual Olympics, Cerqueira says his own ho­tel, the Villa Reg­gia in the re­cently re­fur­bished port area, can help.

The golden-themed Ver­sailles Suite and the Hol­ly­wood Suite of­fer glam­our, while for some­thing more ex­otic there’s a Ja­panese Suite and the Sado­masochism Suite com­plete with black walls, a leather-stud­ded bed, chains and a cage.

“They’ll be avail­able to tourists,” Cerqueira said. “My ho­tel will be full dur­ing the Olympics.”

Rio’s ob­jec­tive was to have 62,000 rooms ready, up from the 30,000 at the time when Rio won the host­ing rights to the Olympics back in 2009.

That has been missed, with only 56,500 rooms avail­able, said Al­fredo Lopes, pres­i­dent of the Rio Ho­tels As­so­ci­a­tion, and some fear this will not be suf­fi­cient.

The US State Depart­ment has told US vis­i­tors to ex­pect “se­vere short­ages of ho­tel rooms”.

But for an in­dus­try in a city pounded by Brazil’s deep re­ces­sion and Zika virus fears, the Olympics come as a wel­come eco­nomic shot in the arm.

“Oc­cu­pancy is al­ready very high, at about 88 per­cent, and it’s ex­pected to peak for the open­ing cer­e­mony at the Mara­cana sta­dium,” Lopes said.

Ho­tels had a “neg­a­tive pe­riod” be­cause of fears over Zika, a mos­quito-trans­mit­ted virus which can cause birth de­fects if preg­nant women are in­fected, Lopes said.

“But we knew that now with [the south­ern hemi­sphere] win­ter when there are no more mos­qui­tos, things would get bet­ter,” he said.

More ad­ven­tur­ous tourists can look for ho­tels in fave­las where the steep walk up nar­row streets and the higher risk of vi­o­lence are com­pen­sated by great views and the chance to see au­then­tic Rio life.

“When you climb up and see the lit­tle houses, that and the peo­ple here make you a bit ner­vous, but by the next day you’re feel­ing com­pletely at home,” said Marcelo Luis Pirelli, a 48-year-old Ar­gen­tine trav­eller stay­ing at the Green Cul­ture Hos­tel in Chapeu Mangueira favela.

There are 37 rooms but the cost of about $55 per per­son re­flects the abrupt price hikes typ­i­cal in Rio dur­ing big events like the Olympics.

Hos­tel owner Pablo Andres Gomez, a Chilean, said busi­ness wasn’t as good as it had been dur­ing the 2014 Football World Cup. “That’s due to all the bad news com­ing out in the me­dia on Zika, vi­o­lence, and the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal crises.”

Those eco­nomic hard times have prompted many Rio res­i­dents to try and earn some­thing ex­tra by join­ing Airbnb.

The net­work has formed a part­ner­ship with the Rio Olympic or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee and has con­firmed 55,000 reser­va­tions in pri­vate apart­ments.

“Airbnb is ris­ing as an op­tion to top up res­i­dents’ in­come and also to at­tract for­eign­ers to visit the coun­try,” said Leonardo Tris­tao, head of Airbnb in Brazil.

Photo: AFP

Rio de Janeiro braces it­self for a huge in­flux of tourists dur­ing the Olympics next month. Photo: Shut­ter­stock.

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