Lonely Planet Writer

Rio announces its Olympic hospitality houses, the cultural hubs that compete for who's best

The Olympic Committee has announced the return of the incredibly popular Olympic hospitality houses, which will be on for Rio de Janeiro 2016 from 5 August to 21 August.

Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Image by Antonello

The houses are a novel part of the Olympics, first introduced to Beijing and later taken up by the London Olympics. The houses act as a sort of home-away-from home, as well cultural hotspot for the various countries that choose to host an Olympic hospitality house.

People are invited to eat food native to the host house’s country, as well as engage in cheering (as long as it’s for the right team one presumes) and immerse themselves in the hospitality house’s culture. The US, Great Britain, China and Russia, all have houses that will not be open to the general public but only to athletes and guests. However, the majority of the countries make their hospitality houses open to everyone.

Artist's impression of one of Rio's Olympic hospitality houses
Artist’s impression of one of Rio’s Olympic hospitality houses Image by Rio2016.com

Reportedly a certain element of competition enters into the events and displays put on by the hospitality houses. South Korea is set to host a series of K-Pop concerts that are sure to prove popular, whilst Switzerland will have a ski rink and an endless supply of Swiss chocolate at its hospitality house. Qatar will be going that extra bit further and taking over the old art museum of Casa Daros and turning it into a fully functioning Arab market.

It won't quite be Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro but Warsaw will have its own beach sporting activity during the summer
It won’t quite be Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro but Warsaw will have its own beach sporting activity during the summer Image by Michael Heffernan

Whilst the competition will no doubt just get fiercer as the Olympics near, the clear winners are fans, who will get to avail of it all.