History Copacabana Palace

Copacabana Palace

Certain hotels embody the glamour of a city and keep its history alive, the Copacabana Palace is one of them.

HISTORY IN BRIEF 1923: The hotel opened its doors. This landmark was designed by the French architect Joseph Gire who was inspired by two hotels, the Negresco in Nice and the Carlton in Cannes. With an impressive stucco-fashioned edifice, it was (and remains) Rio's most traditional and luxurious hotel. The owners were the Guinle family of Rio de Janeiro. Missing image

1989: The hotel was sold to Orient-Express Hotels. The Copacabana Palace Hotel would undergo an extensive refurbishment program.

1990: A new method of illuminating the façade was introduced, allowing the hotel to shine as brightly by night as it does by the day.

1991: The hotel's pool area was fully renovated.

Today Belmond manages the hotel into its second century.

A glance through the pages of the Copacabana Palace's Golden Book is enough to confirm the hotel's status among the world's great hotels. It reveals a guest list of royalty, of stars of screen, stage, music and sport as well as the politicians and business leaders who have helped shape the world over the last seven decades. Names include Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles, Rod Stewart, Ava Gardner, Bill Clinton, the Rolling Stones, Calvin Klein and Gina Lollobrigada.

Her name wasn't Lola...it was Orson. Long before it was fashionable to trash hotel rooms (think Johnny Depp in the Mark Hotel), Orson Welles threw furniture out of his room here in 1942.  The filmmaker came to Rio at the urging of Nelson Rockefeller, to film a documentary about Brazil called It's All True. He stayed for eight months at the Copacabana, Brazil's first luxury hotel, which looks like an enormous wedding cake and faces out on the famous Copacabana beach. By this time, the Copacabana had already achieved legendary status, as its first guest was King Albert I of Belgium. In 1931, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, once scooped goldfish out of the hotel aquarium with his bare hands and later jumped into the pool. Welles never finished the documentary, and when his girlfriend Delores Del Rio broke up with him, he threw his furniture out of his bedroom. (Some accounts have him throwing the furniture into the pool.) This being Brazil, there was also lots of nakedness at the hotel. In 1939, Errol Flynn pranced naked around the hallways, and Jayne Mansfield caused a stir by tanning topless by the pool in the '60s. Meanwhile, Marlene Dietrich refused to eat and drink anything but lettuce, chicken, champagne and water flown in from Paris.

Philip S. Carruthers

Managed by: Belmond
108/118 Rooms

Bife de Ouro (elegant restaurant), Pergula(less formal), Copa Piano Bar The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant and The Pergula Restaurant

Swimming pool Solarium Water and jet skiing Water sports in general Boat hire Golf course nearby Tennis by arrangement Hang-gliding

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Our Select Member Hotel

Copacabana Palace
Country: Brazil
City: Rio de Janeiro
Opening date: 1923

Note from the Host

General Manager

Ulisses Marreiros


Avenida Atlântica 1702
CEP 22021 Brazil, Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2548 7070
Fax: +55 21 235-7330

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