Hotel Online  Special Report


The Famed Casino Rooms in the Copacabana
Palace Receiving Extensive Restoration


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, 2 August 2005 - The famed Casino Rooms in the Copacabana Palace will reopen in March 2006 following a US$4 million renovation, adding more than 11,000 square feet of function space.  The interior design of the rooms will echo their individuality and heritage:  The columned Palm Room will have a tropical atmosphere, and in the Crystal Room, light will be reflected in cascading crystal chandeliers. 

“We have worked for two years with the listed building authorities in Rio to conclude a plan that allows us to reopen this area which has been closed for many years,” said Philip Carruthers, General Manager of the Copacabana Palace.  “With the designs now agreed we are moving ahead to restore these magnificent rooms.”

Simon Sherwood, President of Orient-Express Hotels commented: "This is excellent news. The Copacabana Palace Hotel is one of the highest earning hotels in the group and is set to have an outstanding year with year-to-date RevPAR up 35%, well in excess of the 12% growth seen in Rio as a whole. It is another example of how a special experience can drive rate growth and occupancy much faster than one might expect from broad market measures. I want to thank the hotel team and the local authorities for persevering through the permitting process that will make the hotel even more special."

The Copacabana Casino had its heyday from the mid-1930s until a law was passed outlawing gambling in April 1946.  Millions were won and lost while a cast of Rio’s most exuberant, elegant and glamorous characters played the tables to a backdrop of two orchestras and 12 chorus girls.  It was here in 1939 that American impresario Lee Schubert first watched a show starring an as yet undiscovered Carmen Miranda and the hotel played host to Hollywood luminaries such as Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.  After the tables were removed, the party continued with dances lead by some of the world’s best imported bands, such as Simon Boutman and his band, who played foxtrots in the rooms every evening for over 12 years. 

The new function rooms will increase the hotel’s conference and banqueting space by more than 60 percent.  The works should not create any significant disruption to guests, as the rooms are located in an isolated area toward the rear of the property. 

Copacabana Palace History

A glance through the pages of the Copacabana Palace's Golden Book is enough to confirm the hotel's status among the world's great hotels. It reveals a guest list of royalty, of stars of screen, stage, music and sport as well as the politicians and business leaders who have helped shape the world over the last seven decades.

Opened in 1923, this impressive stucco-fashioned edifice is Rio's most traditional and luxurious hotel. This landmark was designed by the French architect Joseph Gire who was inspired by two hotels, the Negresco in Nice and the Carlton in Cannes. Since opening it has only two owners, the Guinle family of Rio de Janeiro and from 1989, Orient-Express Hotels. The Copacabana Palace Hotel has undergone an extensive discreet refurbishment program, which was designed to retain and enhance the hotel's position as South America's premiere hotel.

A new method of illuminating the façade was introduced in 1990 and allows the hotel to shine as brightly by night as it does by the day. By the end of 1991, the hotel's pool area which houses one of the city's largest an most attractive swimming pools was fully renovated.

Copacabana Palace has two restaurants, The Pergula situated by the pool area where guests may enjoy breakfast, buffet lunch, dinner or refreshments, and the Cipriani restaurant, already rated among the city's best, offers a selection of Northern Italian cuisine. The restaurant and its bar are located on the ground floor of the Annex, overlooking the hotel's pool.

Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises ( is a hotel and leisure company providing luxury travel experiences for discerning travellers in areas of outstanding cultural, historic or recreational interest.  Founded in 1976 when the company acquired Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Orient-Express owns or has investments in 49 businesses: 38 highly individual hotels, three restaurants, six tourist trains and two river cruise operations, located in 22 countries worldwide. 


 Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises

Also See: Orient-Express Hotels Reports Net Earnings of $28.2 million For the Year 2004 Compared with $23.6 million in the Prior Year; Maintained Worldwide Average Daily Rate of $366 / February 2005
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd Appoints New Execs at European and North American Properties / February 2005

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