England's pampered millionaires appear to be in for a shock when they get to the World Cup next summer, if reports on holiday review website Tripadvsior are to be believed.
Roy Hodgson's men are provisionally booked into the Royal Tulip Hotel in the Brazilian metropolis, but many who have stayed there left far from impressed, with one visitor claiming that, "it makes a North Korean prison seem like a dream destination."
A report in The Sunday People has collected some of the most gruesome stories and descriptions surrounding the £180-a-night hotel, and splashed them across the front page under the eyecatching headline: "The Slumdog Millionaires: Team's rundown hotel is next to open sewer and overlooks violent shanty town."
The shanty town claims appear to have some basis in truth at first glance, citing an astonishing siege in 2010 when gunmen from the shanty town in question, Rocinha, stormed the hotel and took 30 guests hostage, leading to a shootout with police in which one woman was killed.
Since then, however, the hotel has changed for the better, at least according to the Sunday Telegraph's reports: it been taken over by a different group - changing name from the Intercontinental Hotel to the Royal Tulip - and the shanty town, which is Rio's largest, has been "pacified" by a series of armed raids by dedicated squads of police.
Many of the other complaints appear more recent, however. "In the hotel’s Spanish restaurant, a cockroach landed on our table. The waiter took a slap at it, knocking it on to the floor where it took off," wrote one reviewer on the hotel's own website. Such a complaint seems a little harsh on the waiter, however: those giant tropical cockroaches move like lightning.
A Tripadvisor user from New York grumbled about the surrounds: "An open sewer outside the place ensures that the following is literally true: this place stinks. The internet NEVER worked during our four night stay, the carpets were so wretched we gave up doing yoga and the service was slow and begrudging. There’s a beautiful beach across the street – but it’s polluted by raw sewage."
Others have apparently complained about mould growing on the walls, rusty bathroom fittings spewing out filthy water, dirty sheets and broken TVs and air conditioning.
The FA - which had originally booked a hotel on the iconic Copacabana beach, until the city chose it to be the site of the World Cup Fanzone - told The People that they knew of the problems, but have had assurances from the owners that the problems will be rectified before next summer as a refurbishment is apparently imminent.
Which sounds positive - but as anybody who's ever been on a package holiday knows, what hotels say and what they end up delivering aren't always exactly the same thing...
- Travel & Tourism
- Travel Accommodations
- Roy Hodgson
- shanty town