Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

  • Avenida Atlântica 1702, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
  • Copacabana
  • 239 Habitaciones

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Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

  • Avenida Atlântica 1702, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
  • Copacabana
  • 239 Habitaciones

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Some of the exotic thrill about Rio de Janeiro may have worn off since its heyday — with the proliferation of budget jet travel, there’s nowhere truly exotic anymore, and major cities like Rio are near commonplace.

That’s no reflection on this hotel, though: the Belmond Copacabana Palace is still the place to live the fantasy of the Rio of decades gone by. Built in 1923, at the birth of the Jazz Age, this gleaming white edifice towers over Copacabana Beach, patterned after a couple of other classic seaside hotels, the Negresco in Nice and the Carlton in Cannes.

It’s odd to think of the hotel as having been a copy, so thoroughly has it become a symbol of retro Rio glamour, a romance that’s still alive around the pool terrace, where well-to-do visitors mingle with shapely Cariocas under the mid-day sun, and in the Copacabana Piano Bar, where guests from all walks of celebrity life hide out from the paparazzi and try not to think of Barry Manilow.

Perhaps one reason this palace’s star hasn’t faded — it’s been quite well kept up, meticulously renovated, with a few modern enhancements, like the new lighting system that keeps the Belle Epoque facade shining bright into the night. The guest rooms are classic in style, with not a hint of minimalism, and a sort of caste system is strictly enforced, as is usual in a hotel like this: forget about a standard room facing the beach, as they simply don’t exist.

Splurge a little, though, and you can have a suite with a postcard view of Copacabana. Or settle for a humbler standard, take in the Rio skyline and beyond, and spend some time in the public spaces, marveling at the décor as well as the clientele. The restaurants are quite up to snuff, the pool deck is a sight, and Copacabana Beach is the kind of place you have to see before you die — why not do it in high style?

Travel advisory: Passport and visa requirements differ from country to country. Please check with your local authority before booking.

How to get there: Belmond Copacabana Palace is located 8 miles from Rio's domestic airport, Santos Dumont, and is approximately a 40-minute drive from Rio de Janeiro/Galeão–Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport.

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