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Belmond - Copacabana Palace Hotel

Belmond - Copacabana Palace Hotel (8)

A jewel against the golden sands of Copacabana Beach, this hotel is one of the finest and most iconic in Rio de Janeiro.

The Belmond Copacabana Palace has hosted the richest, most famous and stylish people in the world. Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Nat King Cole, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, Lady Diana, the Rolling Stones, U2... you can even see U2 in one of the hotel rooms in their "Walk On" video.

This amazing art deco building opened in 1923 following a request from the then president Epitácio Pessoa, who wanted a large hotel for a big event to accommodate the large number of visitors expected for the great Centennial Exposition of Brazilian Independence.

But the opening of the hotel had to be delayed by a year due to problems with the supply of materials.

The building was built by entrepreneur Otavio Ginle who, together with other businessmen specialising in the hospitality industry, funded the project by architect Joseph Gire. Inspired by the hotels of the French Riviera, its white marble corridors, bohemian glass and wide carrara marble staircase give the Palace the classic and dignified air of an architectural masterpiece.

In 1948, an annex was added to the main building to house some of the hotel's 239 rooms.

Considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, it has appeared in many Hollywood films to represent the city of Rio, such as Flying Down to Rio by Thornton Freeland, in which the protagonists Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers can be seen dancing in one of its wonderful ballrooms. It has also been a source of inspiration for many artists, including Barry Manilow, whose song Copacabana came to him while the musician was talking to Bruce Sussman at the hotel. Months later Sussman and Jack Feldman composed the song that would go on to be a huge hit.

In 1989, it was renovated and acquired by the Orient-Express Hotels Group, which changed its name to Belmond Hotels in March 2014, so now it is called the Belmond Copacabana Palace.

Incidentally, if your stay coincides with Carnival, you're in for a magical experience. The hotel hosts the Magic Ball, when the elite of the city and the whole world comes together for an extravagant night of fun. Every year it welcomes its guests with splendid and lavish décor and also keeps a few surprises up its sleeve. The dress code is a long or party dress for women and a suit for men, but wearing a dazzling costume is the best way to fully enjoy the carnival. Tickets usually cost between 700 and 1000 euros.

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