In 2009, a Brazilian businessman snapped up an ailing piece of Rio de Janeiro’s architectural history. On January 15, it will reopen for business.
The Oscar Niemeyer-designed Hotel Nacional, an enigmatic, 33-story column of glass and steel that opened in Rio in 1972, closed in 1995 and stood abandoned for nearly 15 years before it was purchased for a sum of about 85 million Brazilian reals (or about $26 million today).
Apparently, the building had an exciting life in temporary retirement: In 2013, pop music performer Justin Bieber (yes, that Justin Bieber) was arrested for defacing the Hotel Nacional’s interiors with spray-painted graffiti. And for years before that, vandals stripped the hotel’s fittings and finishes for spare parts—including its elevators.
Now, the hotel will finally make its return premiere as—natch—a “five-star” luxury resort with 413 rooms, a restaurant and bar, and a spa. While we’ve yet to see photos of the inside, we expect that the proceedings are quite swanky and will keep you updated as images become available.