Important lessons learned during the 2014 FIFA World Cup; on the ground experience in Rio is invaluable for those looking to find the perfect location to host guests and be seen during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The mixture of the huge mountains and the vibrant urban forests, combined with the interesting architecture around the city, is what gives Rio its famous nickname: Cidade Maravilhosa (The City of Wonder) and is also one of the reasons why Rio won the right to stage the Olympic Games in 2016. But all this is also Rio’s foe.
Due to its geography and the way the city was built around Zona Sul (the South Zone where most hotels are located – map) it can be very hard to find the best location in Rio for a brand that wishes not only to be seen, but also to amaze and give their guests a unique experience. “Almost 80% of the brands or countries want their space to be at Zona Sul, where you can find the true spirit of Rio, not in Barra (map), which feels like a complete different Rio experience”, argues Arnaud Bughon, owner of Rio Exclusive, a company specialized in finding the right luxury property in Rio – one of RPMC’s partners in Brazil since 2013.
“Rio can be tricky. The mixture of the forest, beaches and the hills in the middle of the city creates an amazing backdrop to all the mega events, but some of those special places are very hard to reach, so you have to be careful when considering the right location”, explains Arnaud.
Apart from the hard to reach places, there is also a severe limitation of venues around town, which in some cases have been overturned by negotiating directly with the owners of the houses where Brazilian millionaires live and convincing them to rent it for the duration of the games. “I believe they saw the potential during the World Cup and now they want a piece of the cake”, says Arnaud. This has been essential to increasing the amount of places available around town.
Some brands have also looked at places around the centre such as Santa Tereza (map), one of the first residential neighborhoods in the city famous for the cable car (Bondinho) and not quite chosen during the World Cup, and also some spaces around the Port area of Rio that have been going through a massive renovation process in the past few years with new museums opening and new transportation links being built.
All eyes on Rio…
For those thinking that due to the recent devaluation of the Brazilian currency (the Real has lost almost 40% of its value compared to the Dollar in the past year) prices are now cheaper, think again: most of the accommodation cost, including hotels, are rated in Dollars. Prices are actually more expensive now than they were during the World Cup, says Arnauld from Rio Exclusive. “During the World Cup, although the final game was in Rio, there were other 11 cities fighting for tourists and brands, now all eyes are on Rio.”
The good news is that there is still time to find the right place to stay during Rio 2016. Although there is now less than 300 days to go, there are still some good locations available around town. “We already have 18 spaces booked for different countries and brands around town and have 40 queries that are currently being negotiated (way more than London had a year before the games, 8 and 20, respectively) but there are still some good places available”, says an insider at the Rio 2016 committee. “My recommendation is that brands and countries looking for the perfect accommodation come here before the end of the year to make sure they get the location their brand or country is looking for”.
If you are still looking for a place in Rio we recommend to partner with a local agency to benefit from their true local knowledge and contacts from other big events in Rio as well as understanding the routes and accessibility from airports to the venues and back, to avoid booking a space where it is almost impossible to take your guest to, for example. But you better be quick, places are going fast. “For us it has been an incredible run. So much so, that I am all for Rio hosting the winter Olympics as well!” jokes Arnaud.