At a Glance
In an iconic scene from the 1933 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic Flying Down to Rio, a troupe of chorus girls dances on the wings of planes soaring over Rio de Janeiro’s beaches. Between the sea, sand and mountains, only one building is recognizable: a palatial grand hotel, the Copacabana Palace. It was built in 1923 and, 100 years on, is still Rio’s glamorous grande dame. Pink and white Brazilian marble, mahogany furniture and richly patterned carpets provide just the right amount of opulence, while the hotel staff ’s warm, caring service embodies Carioca charm. Fun in the sun is usually on every guest’s agenda, including time at the beach and the resort’s fabulous main pool (or, for guests in the two penthouse suites, an exclusive, jet-black rooftop pool). Michelin-starred dining is also on offer, as are spa treatments utilizing natural Brazilian products like acai and white Amazonian clay.
The Standout: The Teatro Copacabana—originally the hotel’s casino, but transformed into a theater in 1946 and restored in 2021— which has welcomed the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf and Brazilian superstar Anitta
Don’t Miss: A private breakfast atop Rio’s iconic Sugarloaf mountain
- People-watching across Copa’s massive swimming pool
- Colossal ceilings in the main historic building
- Ocean-front rooms overlooking buzzing Copacabana Beach
The grande dame of Rio de Janeiro is a jewel of 1920s resort architecture (it was inspired by the Negresco in Nice and the Carlton in Cannes). Yet it is also the very embodiment of the elegant, tropical, cosmopolitan lifestyle of Rio’s golden age. The neighborhood may not be what it used to, but the Copa has retained its glory and, in the hands of Belmond since 1989, acquired the 21st-century amenities to put it back at the top of its game.
Copacabana completed a multi-million dollar renovation of its 145-room Historic Building in the 2010s. Formerly outfitted with dark woods and chintzy floral patters, rooms and suites have modern furnishings in softer pastel colors. Sizable bathrooms (all of which have double vanities) have new marble. All rooms are vast, with uniquely high ceilings and many have breathtaking views of Copacabana Beach. Even those that overlook the pool or hotel rear are a great value for the quality. The seven Penthouse Suites are like apartments, with large terraces and more spacious than many Manhattan flats.
The Copacabana’s common areas, which include a seven-treatment room spa, beauty salon, fitness center and iconic swimming pool are an enormous part of the draw. As the only hotel in Rio boasting two Michelin-starred restaurants on property, Cipriani restaurant is the place to see and be seen with its old world elegance, while Mee serves up Asian fusion cuisine and is great for a big night out. For a more laid-back meal, try the poolside restaurant, Pérgola.
Who Should Stay
Families who appreciate a resort-like experience and will take advantage of the Copa’s unparalleled facilities; a group of friends
Written by Indagare