‘‘In those circumstances, we say to the client, ‘Can we upgrade you to a better room, with a better view?'’’ Brandao said. ‘‘And then we send up a complementary bottle of champagne. It usually does the trick.’’
The new rooms ‘‘are the kind of place where you can stay for more than an hour without running away screaming,’’ she said, adding that both the renovated and old-style rooms range in price from $34-$190 for a 12-hour rental, the preferred length of stay for business travelers.
The Shalimar’s management is planning to overhaul nearly all the units ahead of the Olympics, leaving but a few theme rooms, like the iron chain-strewn medieval suite.
Motel operators hope the tourist gold rush brought by the World Cup and Olympics will last far after sports fans have left. Despite its world-famous Carnival, the city attracts around 3 million foreign visitors per year, only twice the number of tourists London typically receives in the month of August alone.
‘‘We've seen it happen before that hosting the Olympics really puts a city on the map,’’ Cerqueira said, citing the examples of 1992 host city Barcelona and Sydney, where the 2000 games were held. ‘‘Rio de Janeiro has so much to offer, the beach, the spectacular cityscape, and with everything that’s happening we can only expect for interest to grow. We'll be ready for it.’’
Associated Press writer Juliana Barbassa contributed to this report.