Hotel Glória, one of Rio de Janeiro's best-known landmarks and the first luxury hotel ever built in Brazil, was sold by Eike Batista's EBX. The hotel had been purchased by Batista and closed in October 2008 for a retrofit with a project by DPA&D Architects and Designers, from Argentina. The work is not concluded.
Hotel Glória History
Built in neoclassical style for the 1922 celebrations of the centennial of Brazil independence, the Glória broke into the country's hotel industry scene with a project by French architect Jean Gire, who also designed the Copacabana Palace, opened the next year.
The hotel was built by the Rocha Miranda family, who sold it to Italian businessman Arturo Brandi.
The location in the Glória District afforded both a gorgeous view of Guanabara Bay and a convenient closeness to Palácio do Catete, then the seat of federal government under President Epitácio Pessoa. Politicians were still among the hotel's habitués after Brasília became the nation's capital in 1960.
The hotel fulfilled the glory in its name under Eduardo Tapajós, a young administrator brought from São Paulo by Brandi. Tapajós bought Hotel Glória shares and gradually became a partner.
In 1964, he met his future wife, the beautiful Maria Clara, when she was staying at the Glória. The Tapajós couple, who lived in the penthouse, took the hotel to new heights of prominence and luxury. Many international stars and presidents – among them Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who stayed at the hotel when campaigning in Rio – were among the guests.
In the 1950s, the hotel's tropical pool and nightclub were some of Rio's most fashionable spots. The hotel also had a theater.
Maria Clara's taste for antiques and objets d'art was reflected in the hotel's every corner – she decorated suites and common areas with pianos, mirrors, chandeliers, couches, and rugs which have left a mark of opulence in the history of Rio's hotel industry.
Eduardo Tapajós died in a helicopter crash in 1998. Maria Clara managed the hotel until she received the offer from EBX in 2008.
Hotel Glória: The Book
The history of the Tapajós era is told in the book Hotel Glória – Um Tributo à Era Tapajós, Afetos, Memórias, Vínculos, Olhares (3R Studio, Portuguese, 312 pages, R$200).
Written by Maria Clara Tapajós and Diana Queiroz Galvão and released in August 2009, the book shares many of the experiences lived by Maria Clara during her 33 years at the hotel. The book is available in a limited luxury edition. You can buy it from the publishers or bookstores such as Livraria Cultura.