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Rio gets ready to party as hospitality houses revealed for Olympic and Paralympic Games

More than 30 countries will transform some of the city's most breathtaking locations into venues for enjoying culture, gastronomy and sport

Rio gets ready to party as hospitality houses revealed for Olympic and Paralympic Games
An artist's impression of the House of Switzerland, which will be located on the banks of the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in southern Rio
Everybody knows Rio de Janeiro is one of the best cities on the planet in which to party, but things will reach another level when the Olympic Games get underway. After details were revealed of the official hospitality houses that will spring up for the event, it seems athletes, visiting fans and the city's residents will be spoilt for choice when the action begins in August.
More than 30 countries, and a number of companies, have now confirmed the location for their official residences, many of which will be open to the public. At prime locations across the city, they will offer spectaular settings for watching the sport on big screens, socialising and experiencing the culture and gastronomy of each venue's host.
Hospitality houses have become a tradition of recent Olympic Games; at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 they were some of the most popular places for athletes and fans to let their hair down.
The German consulate's hospitality house on Leblon beach, complete with big screens and teutonic cuisine 
Half of the houses in Rio will be open to the public, while entry to some country houses (such as those of the USA, Great Britain, China and Russia) will be restricted to athletes and invited guests only. Entry to most of the open houses will be free. Germany will have two houses; one open to the public on Leblon beach, which will be operated by the country's consulate in Rio, and another closed location in Barra da Tijuca, which will be the official German Olympic Committee residence.
There will be hospitality houses all over the centre of the city and in the main beach districts, located in a variety of cultural centres, sports clubs and historic buildings. The Portuguese, in keeping with their maritime history, will use a historic sailing ship as their residence.

Celebrating Brazilian culture

Host country Brazil will run one of the largest hospitality houses in Rio. Casa Brasil will be located across two former warehouses in the city’s renovated waterfront district. Visitors will be able to sample Brazilian coffee, chocolate, cachaça and wine.
Mexico will install their house in the National History Museum in central Rio, while France will be based amid the glamour of the horse-racing track near the lagoon (Lagoa) and Jamaica, which is yet to announce its house's location, promises reggae parties. Japan, which will host the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, will take over the modernist Cidade das Artes building (see photo below) in Barra da Tijuca. 
The British house will be located in the historic Parque Lage, which is nestled under the Christ the Redeemer statue, during the Olympic Games. It will be transferred to the Metropolitano shopping mall near Barra Olympic Park for the Paralympic Games. Events about British sport, culture and business will be staged for invited guests.

Highlights

Netherlands (Monte Líbano Club, Lagoa). If there was a gold medal for country houses, the Dutch would be the reigning champions and hot favourites to defend their title in Rio. By day, the celebrated 'Holland Heineken House' is sure to be a popular location for watching events; by night, it is always one of the most sought-after locations for Olympic athletes and spectators to party. The Dutch are charging 15 euros for entry – excluding drinks.
Switzerland (Baseball ground, Lagoa). With classic Swiss punctuality, the house will be one of the first to open. From 1 August, visitors will be able to ice skate and indulge in chocolate, raclette and other Alpine delicacies. After the Games, the Swiss will leave behind them a modernised baseball pitch as a legacy for the city of Rio.
Republic of Korea (Sulamérica Convention Centre, central Rio). The Korean house will be open from 11 to 13 August and will include performances of K-Pop (Korean pop music) and cooking competitions. The Korean city of PyeongChang will host the next Olympic Winter Games, in 2018, and this event will have its own hospitality house, whose location is yet to be revealed.
Australia (Rio Stock Exchange Convention Centre, central Rio) – The house will be open for one week and will provide visitors with information about opportunities to study and work in Australia, as well as a taste of life Down Under.
Austria (Botafogo Club, Botafogo) – The Austria house was a big hit with the public at Sochi 2014. In Rio, the Austrians will operate a round-the-clock bakery and delicatessen, serving up treats such as Kornspitz bread and, of course, wiener schnitzel.
Austria House in Botafogo will provide guests with typical Austrian food and drink (Artist's impression)
Colombia (Health Ministry Cultural Centre, central Rio) – This will be the first Colombian hospitality house at the Olympic Games. Colombian coffee and exotic fruits will have pride of place.
An artist's impression of what visitors can expect from Colombia House in central Rio
Casa África (Casa Shopping, Barra da Tijuca) – The 54 African delegations coming to the Games will share one hospitality house in Barra. Visitors will be able to experience a 60-seat airplane simulator, watch a short film about the continent and participate in a lottery to get the chance to ‘land’ the plane. There will also be plane tickets to be won. One of the highlights of the house will be a fashion show in which Afro-Brazilian models will wear typical African clothes and costumes on the catwalk.
The Africa House in the Barra region of Rio will be home to a hi-tech airplane simulator (Artist's impression)

After the Games

Although the focus of the houses is on entertainment and promotion, many of the countries coming to Rio plan to leave a legacy to the city long after the Games have ended. Casa Daros, a former art gallery which will be the venue for Qatar's hospitalty house, will be converted into a bilingual public school called ‘Eleva School’.
During the Games, the country will transform the historic building into a typical Arab souk where visitors will be able to enjoy shawarmas and get painted with henna. Funds raised from tickets to Bayt Qatar (bayt means house in Arabic) will be donated to local charity Futuro Olímpico and used to give underprivileged young athletes from Rio the opportunity to train at Qatar’s sports facilities.
There will be a traditional Arab souq in the Qatar House in Botafogo (Artist's impression)
Meanwhile, Denmark, in keeping with its cycling traditions, will donate 65 bicycles to the city as well as toys for schools and a massive mock-up of the city made entirely of bricks from house sponsor Lego
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