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Rio de Janeiro’s his­toric Ho­tel Na­cional has re­branded it­self as the Gran Meliá Na­cional Rio. Built by renowned modern ar­chi­tect Os­car Niemeyer in 1972, the cylin­dri­cally shaped rooms of the Na­cional were a favourite haunt of Liza Min­nelli and other celebri­ties in the seven­ties and eight­ies. The re­launch, in time for the Rio de Janeiro Car­ni­val, which kicks off on February 24, makes the ho­tel the first Gran Meliá prop­erty in Brazil and sees the aban­doned na­tional her­itage build­ing come back to life after years of dis­use. Many of the ho­tel’s cel­e­brated orig­i­nal fea­tures such as pain­ter Hec­tor Bern­abo’s sculpted en­trance Painel de Carybé and gar­dens fea­tur­ing 46 na­tive Brazil­ian plants, de­signed by famed land­scape ar­chi­tect Burle Marx, have been re­tained. The re­fur­bished ho­tel now has 413 rooms, one pres­i­den­tial suite and 66 ex­ec­u­tive suites with floor-to-ceil­ing views of the elite São Con­rado neigh­bour­hood, a rooftop bar, two restau­rants – the Mediter­ranean Sereia and a sig­na­ture restau­rant set to open in April – and the only Spa by Clar­ins in Latin Amer­ica.

Clas­sic rooms from Dh745 per night on gran­

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