By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Inspections of some of the top hotels in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), including Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, have found that many fail to comply with legal regulations designed to protect and inform consumers.
Beginning on December 9th, state-led Consumer Protection Agency (PROCON) carried out inspections to ensure that local hotels comply with legal regulations before New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The inspection’s primary focus was violations of service levels, including food and drink quality control and signage for local laws regarding prostitution.
Rio’s New Year’s Eve celebrations typically see thousands of people flocking to Copacabana and the surrounding beaches to watch the city’s legendary firework display, including tourists likely to stay in some of the inspected hotels.
In Ipanema and Leblon, flaws were found with the Ritz, Everest Park Hotel, Everest Rio Hotel, Praia Ipanema and Golden Tulip Ipanema. Failure to comply with regulations was also found in some of Copacabana’s best-known hotels, including the Toledo Hotel, Real Palace Hotel, the Savoy Othon Hotel and Merlin Hotel.
Police discovered more than ten kilograms of expired food at the Sheraton in Leblon, in addition to a further thirteen kilograms of food without a visible expiry date. Inspectors discarded bread, beans, spices, cold cut meats and shellfish among other items, and also found that the kitchen bin was broken.
Officials threw away more than one kilogram of beetroot and five hundred grams of cabbage past their expiry dates from Copacabana’s Real Palace Hotel and more than one kilogram from Leblon’s Ritz’s kitchens.
Inspectors also discarded 1.5 kilograms of mortadella past its expiry date from Toledo Copacabana Hotel and discovered that Ipanema’s Everest Park Hotel did not have a certificate to verify that it could provide drinking water.
Nohelia Sanchez, co-founder of travel and tourism agency RdJ4U shared, “I think that lodging services in Rio are very expensive comparing it with other destinations because everything is concentrated in Zona Sul, and such a high demand affects the quality of the offer.”
Adding, “Middle range hotels usually have poor infrastructure and average service for the price you pay and if you definitely want to stay in a hotel, the best to ensure a great experience is to book with one of the top international brands […].”
A lack of facilities for persons with disabilities was also common, with Golden Tulip, Everest Park, Hotel Fasano, Toledo Hotel and Merlin Hotel among the offending hotels.
Other common failures to comply included a lack of information of regulations around sex tourism, child exploitation, violence against women, STIs and AIDS.
No irregularities were found with Atlântico Praia Hotel, Othon Palace or Sofitel, all located on Atlântica Avenue in Copacabana, or with Ipanema’s Caesar Park Hotel, located on Avenida Vieira Souto.