Copacabana Palace Hotel – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio’s Elegant Beachside Landmark

The neoclassical-facaded Copacabana Palace is one of South America’s most legendary hotels, and perhaps its greatest. Inspired by the French Riviera’s grande luxe Negresco in Nice and the Carlton in Cannes, it exudes a light, airy Mediterranean feel unique in this chaotic city-resort. And fol­lowing an extravagant tiara-to-toe renovation, it is once again the most stylish place in Rio. Overlooking the famous beach from which it takes its name, “the Copa” is a veritable pleasure palace: The semi-Olympic-size pool is the best in town for a dip or a high-octane poolside caipirinha break, and the daily tea service has become something of a cultural experience (reservations necessary!).

Inside, the cool marble halls are lined with sepia photos of the Who’s Who that have signed the Golden Book since the Copa first opened in 1923. Here was the backdrop for Flying Down to Rio; the 1933 film that was the first to pair Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers also helped launch the hotel as the favorite vacation spot of Hollywood stars. Ask for suite 751, home to Carmen Miranda for four months. The myth of yesteryear lives on in the ornate Golden Room; its famous glass dance floor is lit from below and is the exquisite location for the most exclusive black-tie Carnaval ball in Rio.

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