• ZW

    Select your country and language

    Selected country/territory
    All countries/territories
  • MENU
Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
            Back to Open Skies


Gran Meliá Nacional, Rio de Janeiro

30 April 2017

Words: Andrew Nagy / Images: André Nazareth

When the Hotel Nacional opened in 1972, it was the epitome of glamorous Rio. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, it was a key example of modern architecture while James Brown and BB King were regulars.

But after a steady decline, it closed its doors in 1995, becoming a blank canvas for graffiti artists – including a bizarre occasion in 2013 when the pop star Justin Bieber was arrested for spray painting inside the hotel. However, after an extensive restoration, it has now reopened as Gran Meliá Nacional Rio de Janeiro, the group’s first Brazilian property. Its 34 floors overlook Sao Conrado beach while the 413 rooms feature stunning mountain views, two restaurants, three bars and the only Clarins spa in South America.

Home to a number of art works, you’ll find Héctor Bernabó’s Painel de Carybé in the lobby, a VIP floor and rooftop designed by Brazilian architectural star Deborah Aguiar and the famous Burle Max gardens, featuring 46 species of plants native to Brazil. It’s clear the building itself is no longer the only star of the show.