Operation: Hotel, part 1

One of the bigger headaches in planning our trip to Brazil was securing accommodations.

When you travel to the World Cup, you have one of two choices: book your accommodations through FIFA or go rogue.

For the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, we went rogue. Rates for rooms booked through FIFA’s hospitality arm, MATCH, were set at an obscenely high rate. Everything is going to be marked up for the World Cup, yes, but there’s a limit to what a reasonable person is going to drop on a hotel room and that limit is somewhere around 20 times the usual rate. Seriously.

In lieu of falling victim to MATCH’s hotel scam, we found a really awesome independent guest house and booked it right through the proprietor and it was all good until the place burned down. We ended up getting rebooked in a hotel that was originally offered up by MATCH, only to get all of its rooms returned because surprise, surprise: the rooms were so expensive that nobody booked.

Keeping all of that in mind, reserving a hotel via MATCH was not even an option for Brazil. We would bypass The Man and go rogue once again.

Easier said than done.

Our first attempt at booking accommodations came in May, 2013. A hotel that hadn’t been booked up by FIFA was impossible to find. Smaller Bed & Breakfasts or guest houses either don’t exist in Brazil or they don’t have a web presence. We’re not really the hostel types. And so that left us with the community hospitality websites, like Airbnb and VRBO, where we would be renting directly from the property’s owner.

airbbAt first, it seemed like it would be okay. The selection seemed decent, the prices somewhat reasonable. Many inquiries were fired out into cyberspace. But it was too early. A lot of the proprietors pushed us off until later. Others never responded. We were really hopeful to close a deal with an American man who owns an apartment in Recife. Until he set his rate.

The apartment you rent for $70/night is now $400/night? PLEASE. All accommodations costing $400/night need to feature a nightly turndown service and a spa on the premises. He most certainly found a group to over his apartment but that group was not us. He sucks.

More failed attempts at booking an apartment followed. So we did what anyone with common sense would do when faced with adversity: put finding an accommodation on the back burner and ignored the problem indefinitely.

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