Love motels, slums ease Rio's World Cup hotel crunch
By Asher Levine
RIO DE JANEIRO May 2 (Reuters) - Soccer fans coming to Rio de Janeiro for the World Cup can still find some reasonably-priced accommodations, as long as a love motel, slum or campsite is where they're looking.
The countdown to the month-long soccer tournament starting on June 12 has fans scrambling for accommodations in Rio, a spectacular city on the sea where prices for the few available hotel rooms have skyrocketed, driving some to seek out less-conventional options.
"It was ridiculous," said Raphael Ruland, a Germany fan who also attended the last two World Cups. Priced out of a traditional hotel, he eventually found a room after months of haggling on apartment rental site Airbnb.
"Some hosts were charging four or five times their normal rate. There was a time when I thought it wouldn't be worth going, just because of how much accommodations cost."
Of the 600,000 foreign tourists expected for the World Cup, over two thirds will go to Rio, according to the city's tourism agency, where just 21,639 conventional hotel rooms, and sky-high prices, await them.
Fans that haven't yet booked face prices upwards of $700 for the few rooms remaining. There are, however, some alternatives.
Those include Rio's many love motels, traditional Brazilian hideaways for couples seeking privacy from the prying eyes of parents or spouses. They usually charge for stays of 4 or 6 hours but some are now offering daily rates for the World Cup.
Some, such as the Midway and the Shalimar have retrofitted their rooms to attract travelers, switching out the neon-trimmed circular beds for more conventional, family-friendly furnishings. Continuación...