WITH a team of chefs available 24 hours a day, games rooms, bar and beauty salon, it has the air of a luxury holiday campsite.

But the Athletes' Village for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which officially opens its doors today, will soon be the scene of intense preparations by thousands of competitors.

The site in Dalmarnock in the east end of the city, which covers the equivalent of 54 football pitches, is expected to host up to 10,000 people when at its busiest, including around 7000 athletes and officials, as well as workers and volunteers.

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However, Juliet Thorne, the village residents' services manager at Glasgow 2014, said it was likely the last few days before the Opening Ceremony would be the peak time for the arrival of the athletes.

"It will be quite a slow start and the athletes will come in over a period of time," she said. "They want to time it right in terms of coming into the village to get settled, but not so long they are not at their peak during competition."

Arriving athletes will first encounter strict security to get into the village, with a series of entrance gates and airport-style screening in place. The facilities are housed in a series of huge white tent-like structures, all of which will be taken down after the Games. At the centre is a village green - albeit with fake grass - which has a specially commissioned nine-metre long sculpture of the Loch Ness Monster, designed by Speyside sculptor Stuart Murdoch.

Key facilities sited around here include the main dining hall, which will be open 24 hours from today. The huge hall - which has 2014 seats - will serve up around 400,000 meals over the course of the Games, all of which is provided free for athletes and team officials.

Catering manager Deborah Cordiner, who has been involved in 10 Games around the world, said: "In previous games we have seen athletes walking up and having a whole cooked chicken, and then 20 minutes later going back for another one. But then you get the gymnasts, for example, who come up and eat very little. So we are hoping it will all balance out."

A team of 130 chefs will serve up around 2000 menu items - including Scottish produce such as potato scones and haggis - on an eight-day rotation, but any request can be catered for.

Cordiner added: "Towards the end of the Games when athletes are a bit less strict in their diets I'm sure we will have a deep-fried Mars Bar day - but they are not on the menu."

The medical facilities at the village will be provided in a polyclinic which has everything from a small A&E department and high-tech CT scanners to dentistry and optometry equipment.

There are 12 dedicated staff employed by Glasgow 2014, but most of the workforce is made up of 1400 medical services volunteers.

A dedicated recovery centre in the polyclinic offers various forms of ice baths and sports massage tables. It is being renamed the Holdsworth Recovery Centre, in memory of Keri Holdsworth, a 36-year-old physiotherapist from Edinburgh, who was due to volunteer at the Games but was killed in a car crash last month.

Liz Mendl, head of medical services, said: "Many athletes will bring their own medical team, but they might want a scan, blood test or an X-ray."

The only permanent feature at the village is the accommodation - a mix of flats and houses - which will be turned into private and social housing and a carehome after the Games. Much of the furniture - including brightly coloured sofas, beds, beanbags and wardrobes - was also used in the London Olympics.

In their spare time, athletes can relax at one of seven recreational centres, which feature TVs, pool tables, Xbox games and have cafe and laundry services or visit the salon.

Thorne said the aim of the village is to provide a "home from home" environment to allow athletes to focus on their preparation.