The Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel is the most famous and luxurious hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s considered South America’s premier hotel, having received the rich and famous for the past 80 years.
It faces the Copacabana Beach. It consists of an 8-story main building and a 14-story annex. The 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, two bars, a nightclub and two restaurants. 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 group bought it. 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, Walt Disney, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Diana, Princess of Wales, Harald V of Norway, Queen Sonja of Norway and Luciano Pavarotti.
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.