Melia Hotels International has opened the first property under its Gran Melia brand in Brazil.

The Gran Melia Nacional Rio is located in the city’s upmarket Sao Conrado district, and features 413 rooms ranging from 33 to 300 sqm.

The hotel is housed within a circular building designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It was formerly home to Hotel Nacional, famous in the 1970s and 1980s as a celebrity hotspot, but which had lain empty for over a decade.

Design features include the Painel de Carybe artwork at the entrance to the property, consisting of 270 individually sculpted concrete slabs depicting “classic carioca characters”, and gardens designed by Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.

Facilities include a 32nd floor signature restaurant by Brazilian chef Felipe Bronze which is set to open in April, a rooftop bar, Clarins spa, gym and fitness studio, and a VIP Red Level lounge with private reception (again set to be operational from April).

Commenting on the opening Gabriel Escarrer, vice chairman and CEO at Melia Hotels International, said:

“Rio de Janeiro is a city with a huge amount of history, incredible architecture and a booming luxury market. The outstanding cultural heritage, art and natural scenery available in the city really enriches the traveller’s experience.

“We are very excited to finally launch this unique property with such a huge historical significance in one of Latin America’s most important cities and we believe it has the potential to bring back the time of splendour of the city’s tourism.”