Belmond Copacabana Palace
History and museums
The Belmond Copacabana Palace is a luxury hotel located on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The hotel is widely considered as South America's premier hotel, and has received the rich and famous for over 90 years. It faces the coast, and consists of an 8-story main building and a 14-story annex. The Art Deco hotel was designed by French architect Joseph Gire. It has 216 rooms (148 in the main building and 78 in the annex), a semi-olympic swimming pool, an exclusive swimming pool for VIP guests located at the penthouse, a tennis court, fitness center, a 3-story spa, three bars all of them inside the respective restaurants, one with Italian food, one with pan-Asiatic and other with international food. It was inaugurated on August 13, 1923. It was featured in the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio.
After Brasília became the Brazilian capital in 1960, the hotel underwent a period of slow decline and was surpassed by the more modern hotels which were built in the 1970s. There were plans to demolish the hotel in 1985, but they were scrapped afterwards. The hotel was refurbished sometime after 1989 when the Orient-Express Hotels bought it.
Since being refurbished, the hotel once again rose to the top of Rio de Janeiro's (and South America's) luxury 5-star hotel market. (In March 2014 Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. renamed itself Belmond Hotels, and the hotel was renamed Belmond Copacabana Palace.
Many famous people have been guests at the Copacabana Palace, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams, Walt Disney, Rolling Stones, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Diana, Princess of Wales, Harald V of Norway, Queen Sonja of Norway, Luciano Pavarotti among others.
In 1998, Alexander Frey conducted the Rio de Janeiro Philharmonic Orchestra in a sold-out gala concert in the hotel's Golden Room featuring the music of James Helme Sutcliffe, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms.
In 2008, the Copacabana Palace was confirmed as a cultural patrimony of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It had already previously been appointed as such by the federal government (8/14/86), by the municipal government (4/7/2003) and in 10/30/2008 was confirmed as such by all three spheres of government.