Glamorous Icon of the '70s by Oscar Niemeyer Reopens after 22 Years

Hotel Nacional Oscar Niemeyer Rio de Janeiro.jpg

The glamorous Hotel Nacional, located in the wealthy neighborhood São Conrado, reopens after an extensive renovation, disputing the luxurious hotel market of Rio de Janeiro.

After 22 years, the iconic building designed by Oscar Niemeyer resurrects with the Spanish operator group Meliá.  In the ‘70s, it attracted people like Liza Minelli, Chet Baker, James Brown and Tom Jobim who stayed at the former Hotel Nacional. So far, the Brazilian top model Gisele Bündchen honored the hotel during a photo shoot with the Italian photographer Mario Testino. 

The renovation of the listed building had to follow Niemeyer’s concept. The São Paulo based architect Debora Aguiar, maintained the curvilinear language and the open views. Even the lamp of papier mâché by Pedro Corrêa de Araújo, which never left the ceiling hall, was carefully restored.

The cylindrical tower with 34 stories obtains 413 rooms and suites with views either to the sea, the forest, or to Rocinha, one of the biggest favelas (slum) of South America. Among the facilities are two restaurants, three bars and an event center. The Gran Meliá Hotel Nacional Rio is the only hotel in Rio with a helicopter landing point. 

Center piece of the hotel is the lobby, a room of three thousand square meters with absolutely no pillars and only with curved lines. The pillar free structure even holds the roof garden of two thousand square meters, designed by the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. The pioneer in Brazilian landscape design is known as the creator of Flamengo Park as well as the pavement design of the Copacabana board walk in Rio de Janeiro. 

The hotel, originally inaugurated in 1972, was national pride. In its convention center, prestigious events were held and its theatre was platform for festivals such as the Free Jazz Festival. Today, the hotel reopens with the goal to get the Golden Age back to the Marvelous City. 

April 6th 2017

Barbara Iseli