When the Copacabana Palace opened in 1923, it was the first luxury hotel in South America.
The gleaming white icon of progress stood out among the low-rise buildings along Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.
Taking the style of the grand hotels of the South of France, the Palace imported the best fittings and fixtures such as English carpets and chandeliers from Czechoslovakia.
When the Copacabana Palace opened in 1923, it was the first luxury hotel in South America
It became the byword for glamour with a long list of celebrity guests from Albert Einstein to Frank Sinatra.
Today, the hotel retains the grand presence of its designer’s vision. The distinctive exterior is magnificent among the late 20th Century buildings on the beach.
Arriving at the hotel, you are thrown back to a romantic era. Doormen in crisp white uniforms reveal a lobby filled with flowers and the marble staircase is padded with thick carpet.
The vast outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by glamorous people lying on loungers, enjoying a cocktail and taking in the warm sun.
The Mail On Sunday’s Emily Perry said her room overlooking the beach didn’t disappoint
The hotel was due to open with a casino, but gambling was banned in Brazil before it was finished.
The space is now given to the hotel’s restaurants. Our room overlooking the beach didn’t disappoint.
From the early morning, Cariocas (the residents of Rio) are up pounding the beachside paths and playing sport on the golden sand.
The desire to be outside is contagious, and we dutifully walked along the seafront to Ipanema.
Rio is known for its vibrant social scene, with dance and music and the heart of local communities
This was the setting for songwriters Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes’s famous bossa nova song The Girl From Ipanema.
The sunsets in Ipanema are breathtaking – like watching a moving postcard – especially if you have a caipirinha cocktail in hand.
If you’re visiting Rio, it is worth booking a guided tour to orientate yourself.
We used Xplora Rio, which offers small-group tours in a Land Rover to famous attractions such as the Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf mountain and the Lapa Steps.
The appearance of Rio has changed a lot in the past 95 years but the Copacabana Palace maintains the style and glamour of this special city.
The Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio offers rooms from £214 per night including breakfast.