From World Cup to contemporary tourist destination: part one

The World Cup is first and foremost a sporting event, though it’s also a chance for national brands to be disseminated widely, and for a sense of shared excitement to gather around the countries competing. No country has the opportunity to launch an ambitious branding effort like the host country, of course, and South Africa has done a good job drumming up interest in its people, history, and sights.

The next step, at least for anyone interested in tying an increased national profile to prospective tourist revenue, is to motivate people to actually visit the countries in question. Following, one hotel or resort each from countries selected from World Cup Groups A, B, C, and D ideal for putting their country’s modern (and in most cases relatively reasonably-priced) foot forward.

Group A. Mexico: Hotel Básico, Playa del Carmen.

Hotel Básico is minimalist yet completely Mexican in spirit, a blending of edginess and warmth. The tourism portrait of Mexico doesn’t usually extend to contemporary cool. This is a shame, especially given Mexico’s strong modernist bona fides. Hotels as bold as Básico go some distance toward rectifying the impression. Doubles from $178.

Group B. Argentina: Home Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires.

There are pricier and cushier hotels in Buenos Aires, but none gathers the ridiculous cool of post-economic crisis Buenos Aires like Home. Décor is chic and fresh, and the location in ultra-hip Palermo is perfect for stylish city slickers. Doubles from $130.

Group C: Slovenia: Nebesa, Livek.

The marriage of modernity and mountains is wonderfully center-stage in Slovenia. Nebesa, from its mountain perch in the tiny village of Livek on the Italian border, gathers this Slovenian tradition. The views are extraordinary (see above) and the houses are perfectly executed. Houses for two from €210 per night.

Group D: Germany: Arte Luise Kunsthotel, Berlin.

Berlin, in the immortal words of its mayor Klaus Wowereit, is “poor but sexy.” Germany’s most electrifying city isn’t just sexy and poor. It’s also remarkably easy on the wallet for visitors, and happily this fact extends to the city’s hotel stock. The Arte Luise Kunsthotel, located in the exciting Mitte ‘hood, features artist-decorated rooms in a range of themes. Double rooms from €79.

(Image: Flickr/Andrea Musi)