The renovation of the historic Hotel Gloria in Rio de Janeiro has been delayed by two years, and it will now be completed just five months before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup.
The hotel is being renovated by Brazilian billionaire Elke Batista’s holding company EBX Group Co. Ltd, and should have opened this year, but the project has run into engineering difficulties. EBX bought the property in 2008 for $50 million.
At the moment hotels in Rio are enjoying high capacity rates on the back of the country’s spectacular economic growth which has increased business travel. According to a survey by the state of Rio’s hotel association, occupancy for 91 hotels in April was at 79%, which is a record level for the month. In addition to the World Cup, the country will also be hosting the 2016 Olympics.
The Hotel Gloria was once famous for hosting several heads of state and Albert Einstein, and originally opened in 1922. By the time Batista bought the property it had fallen into a state of disrepair, and the fashionable residents of Rio had moved to more southerly neighborhoods such as Ipanema and Leblon. Once the hotel re-opens it will have 231 rooms, two restaurants and a conference center. The hotels art deco exterior is to be restored to its original design and color.
Batista, who is the world’s eighth richest person according to Forbes magazine, used to be a powerboat racer, and plans to expand the marina adjacent to the hotel so it will be ready to host various events during the Olympics. It is estimated that Rio will need another 2,430 hotel units for the World Cup, in addition to its existing stock of 19,413 units.