By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While five billion people across the globe are expected to watch the 2016 Rio Olympics in less than two weeks, only the lucky visitors on the ground in Rio will be able to take advantage of the Olympic Hospitality Houses sprinkled in prime locations throughout the city.
Almost thirty countries along with the continent of Africa have confirmed their Houses for the 2016 Games to promote their culture and history, as well as provide a fun meeting place for fans and athletes to relax, mingle and, hopefully, celebrate Olympic success.
The Olympic Houses are a recent tradition of the Olympics and were a crowd favorite at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. This Olympics, the U.S., Great Britain and China houses will be restricted to athletes, officials and invited guests only, but the majority of the other hospitality houses will be open to the public.
One of the houses open to the public will be perennial fan-favorite, the Holland Heineken House at Clube Monte Líbano in the upscale Leblon neighborhood. Appearing in its twelfth straight Games, the Dutch site has developed a reputation for delivering a good time, and this Olympics should be no exception.
The Holland Heineken House will feature live Olympic event screenings, a swimming pool, and, of course, a full bar with live music and DJ’s performing into the early morning. Tickets are €45 and are available at the Holland Heineken House website. With a limit of four thousand tickets for each day, Dutch officials advise getting tickets early to avoid being shut out.
Expected to give the Heineken House competition for the late-night, early morning Olympic party-goers, the French House, aptly named Club France, is located at the Sociedade Hípica Brasileira (Brazilian Equestrian Society) next to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. For eight consecutive nights, the venue will transform into a nightclub complete with DJ’s and a dance floor that can hold up to two thousand people.
During the day, Club France will offer family friendly activities including autograph sessions, sports demonstrations and medal celebrations with French Olympic team athletes. French gastronomy will also be showcased with an array of French food trucks and a restaurant managed by Chefs Claude and Thomas Troisgros. Tickets for Club France are R$20 with a separate entrance fee at night and are available through the Club France website.
Sure to be filled with raucous crowds on the day hometown hero Usain Bolt competes, the Jamaica House at the Jockey Club will promote all aspects of Jamaican culture, cuisine, music, and sports through exhibitions and live demonstrations. In addition to DJs playing mento, ska, reggae and dancehall, there will also be live music each night including a performance from Kymani Marley, son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley.
“We welcome the support of our many partners to help us showcase Jamaica and all that it has to offer, whether it is through our music, our cuisine, our culture or our sporting ambassadors,” said Paul Pennicook, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism, at the House’s unveiling. “For those traveling to Rio, Jamaica House Rio is a must see.”
Finally, with Tokyo the next city to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Japan House will be making a big effort to impress visitors to the 2016 Rio Olympics. And in securing Cidade das Artes, the giant cultural complex in Barra da Tijuca, as a venue, it shouldn’t be difficult. Located close to the largest Olympic site, Olympic Park, the Japan House program will include free exhibitions showcasing the country’s culture, meet and greets with Japan Team athletes, as well as special glimpses of Tokyo’s plans for the 2020 Olympics.
The following is a list of the Olympic Houses open to the public. Dates, times and any admission fees are subject to change, so please check each House’s website or the country’s Organizing Committee before visiting.
Casa Shopping, Av. Ayrton Senna, 2150, Barra da Tijuca
August 1st to 21st, noon-10PM
Bolsa do Rio Convention Center, Praça XV de Novembro, 20, Centro
August 6th to 12th, 11AM-7PM
Clube Botafogo, Av. Venceslau Brás, 72
August 5th to 21st, 10AM-11PM
Avenida Rodrigues Alves, 10, Armazém 2, Gamboa
August 4th to September 18th, 10AM-8PM
Praça Marechal Âncora 95, Praça XV, Centro
August 4th to 21st and September 5th to 18th, 10AM-8PM
Av. Das Américas 3434, Barra de Tijuca
August 5th to 21st, 11AM-midnight
Ipanema Beach, Posto 10 Praia de Ipanema
August 2nd to 21st, 11AM-10PM
Casa França Brasil, R. Visconde de Itaboraí, 78, Centro
August 13th, 14th, and 20th, 10AM-6PM, and August 21st, 10AM-4PM
France House (Club France)
Sociedade Hípica Brasileira, Av. Borges de Medeiros, 2448
August 5th to 21st, noon-2AM
Germany House (OliAle)
Leblon beach at Av. Delfim Moreira, 12, Leblon
August 4th to September 18th, 2:30PM-9:30PM
Holland House (Heineken House)
Clube Monte Líbano, Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 701, Leblon
August 5th to 21st, 11AM-1AM
Jockey Clube Brasileiro, Tribuna C, Praça Santos Dumont, 31, Gávea
August 5th to 22nd, 3PM-5PM
Praça Santos Dumont, 31, Gávea
August 10th to 21st, times to be determined
Cidade das Artes, Av. das Américas, 5300, Barra da Tijuca
August 5th, 6th, 18th to 21st and September 7th to 18th, noon-8PM
National History Museum, Praça Marechal Âncora, Centro
August 3rd to September 15th, 10AM-5:30PM
Navio Escola de Sagres boat docked at Ilha das Cobras at Praça Mauá
August 3rd-22nd, 10AM-11PM
Copacabana beach, Kiosks QL03/QL04, Avenida Atlântica, Leme
August 4th to 21st and September 7th to 18th, times to be determined
Qatar House (Bayt Qatar)
Rua General Severiano, 159, Botafogo
August 5th to 21st, times to be determined
Baseball field at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
August 1st to September 18th, 11AM-11PM