What’s Hot in Hotels for the 2016 Rio Olympics: Belmond Copacabana Palace

Posted on August 4, 2016 by Marianne Abbott

Belmond Copabana Palace butterflies Rio Olympics 2016

The Belmond Copacabana Palace is a must-see landmark for travelers visiting Rio de Janeiro on any given day. However, the next 15 days are not just any day for the breathtaking Brazilian city. As the host city for the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro has been booming with activity, its streets crowded with visitors from every corner of the globe. To match the city’s colorful pulse, the Belmond Copacabana Palace has commissioned an installation from artist Kristjana S. Williams to accentuate its Art Deco exterior and welcome travelers from near and far to Rio de Janeiro.

A cultural patrimony of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the Belmond Copacabana Palace has been welcoming legendary artists and royals since the day it opened its doors in 1923. Notable guests of the luxury hotel include Madonna, Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. For the next few weeks, however, with Kristjana S. Williams’ vibrant installation illuminating the hotel’s façade, the Belmond Copacabana Palace “welcomes the world.” The Icelandic artist’s nightly projections begin with a swarm of multi-colored butterflies fluttering up the building’s exterior. Each butterfly in the display carries a different country’s flag on its wings, representing the coming together of nations from around the world in celebration of cultural diversity. When the kaleidoscope of butterflies disperses, the words “Rio Welcomes the World” appear, first in English then in Portuguese.

While Kristjana S. Williams grew up halfway across the globe in Iceland, her masterful employment of textures and colors, as well as her track record of combining themes of artificiality and nature, make her an ideal collaborator for the Belmond Copacabana Palace. Ever since she was a child in Iceland, Williams found inspiration in nature and all living things. With its unique ecology and unparalleled natural beauty, Brazil offered the artist an endless stream of colorful inspiration.

Beyond the hotel’s iconic façade, the harmonious collaboration between Williams and the Palace continues. The Palace has installed an equally colorful window exhibit with a series of striking art pieces by Williams on the Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana. The series of window panels serves as an homage to the spirit of hospitality of past and present Olympic cities from Barcelona in 1996 to Tokyo in 2020. Each of the window panels highlights the host country’s unique architecture, flora and fauna. The window panel series can be enjoyed by anyone walking along the “avenida” and yet to enjoy the full scope of Williams’ vibrant creations, visitors must wander inside the hotel lobby. In addition to the majestic lobby’s classically decorative chandeliers and tropical plants, two of Williams’ whimsical creations have been installed above the reception and the concierge desks. The interior art pieces entitled “Belmond Map of the World” and “Rio Welcomes the World” were handcrafted by interweaving layers of 18th century engravings, photographs, and drawings with contemporary illustrations.

In support of the global phenomenon, the luxury hotel has extended the Olympic theme to almost every aspect of its accommodations. The Palace’s spa is offering themed gold, silver and bronze spa treatments and cocktails July 31st through August 14th. So whether it’s to soak up the magic in Kristjana S. Williams art creations, to indulge in the nostalgia of the hotel’s Old Hollywood past or to enjoy the five-star spa accommodations, the Belmond Copacabana Palace is – more than ever – a must visit in Rio this Olympic season.