Quite the hotspot of the 1970s and ’80s, Rio de Janeiro’s Hotel Nacional was frequented by the likes of Liza Minnelli, BB King and James Brown; and was the venue of choice for the esteemed Rio Film Festival. Built in 1972 by Brazilian starchitect Oscar Niemeyer, the 108 metre, 34 storey building had lay abandoned and neglected since its 1995 closure; Spanish chain Meliá Hotels having just breathed new life into the old icon.
Now the home of Gran Meliá Nacional Rio de Janeiro, Niemeyer’s towering beauty has been restored to its former glory; maintaining the hotel’s original features and bringing some much-needed glitz and glamour back to its neighbourhood, São Conrado.
A new flagship property for the brand, Gran Meliá Nacional Rio is resplendent in that the original circular design and glass façade affords all 413 rooms floor to ceiling views of the city and beach. Recognised as a national heritage site, the hotel also houses some of Brazil’s most revered modern art and design: Painel de Carybé by Hector Bernabó’s (aka Carybé); Alfredo Ceschiatti’s original Mermaid, which holds court over the hotel’s swimming pool; and modernist landscaper Roberto Burle Marx’s original gardens, home to 46 species of native Brazilian plants.
Having just reopened its famous doors to considerable fanfare, guests can also find two restaurants, a rooftop bar and helipad, and Latin America’s first Clarins spa. São Conrado beach, with its celeb-favoured shops, restaurants and bars is just steps away. Vamos!