Hip, innovative and unrivalled urban cool, while São Paulo will never win an award for Brazil’s most photogenic tourist destination, this sprawling concrete metropolis is a treasure trove of historical and cultural attractions, and boasts some of the best food and nightlife in Brazil and art.
One of Brazil’s most culturally explosive and diverse urban centres, São Paulo is a truly global melting pot. São Paulo has the largest number of Japanese people outside of Japan, as well as a population of Italian ancestry, and the hottest cuisines in São Paulo include world-class Italian cuisine and some of the trendiest and most innovative sushi restaurants on the continent, as well as world-renowned traditional restaurants Presenting Brazilian flavours in an original way that is an absolute must. For foodies, São Paulo offers a dizzying array of glamorous restaurants and boutiques, as well as plenty of chic bars and clubs where you can dance the night away after dessert.
São Paulo is a feast for all senses and culture fanatics, with an impressive collection of art museums, concerts, arthouse cinemas and experimental theatres. MASP is an iconic urban museum on stilts, housing cutting-edge contemporary works, while the Museu de Arte Sacra houses a fine collection of traditional religious artefacts. Art talent and expression of ingenuity flow from the museum to the street at this vibrant creative hub. Neighborhoods like trendy Vila Madalena and Japanese-influenced Liberdade are an eclectic collage of some of the boldest, slickest and most political street art in South America. A particular highlight is the work of world-renowned muralist Eduardo Kobra, from São Paulo, where colorful portraits of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna adorn the facades of two of the city’s towering skyscrapers.
If you’re coming to Brazil on vacation or on business, you’re likely to be arriving or departing from São Paulo. Here are the top 5 luxury hotels in the city.
Rosewood São Paulo
Rosewood’s first South American hotel has been in the works for more than a decade and the arrival of Rosewood in São Paulo significantly ups the luxury hotel scene, which was already exceptional. Rosewood São Paulo is a contemporary hotel where a contemporary oasis meets downtown sophistication, surrounded by shopping, dining, lush parks and tree-lined avenues. The lobby restaurant and bar are packed every night with Brazilian models, athletes and wealthy entrepreneurs.
Stunning interiors by Philippe Starck, tree-lined towers by Jean Nouvel and signatures of nearly a hundred artists make this hotel a landmark of the city. Housed in a converted century-old building, the hotel retains historic character while introducing the delights of modern luxury. Rooms and suites offer refinement, comfort and modern amenities. The beautifully designed living spaces feature stylish furniture, fine linens and plenty of natural light. Amenities include fluffy bathrobes, heated towel rails, shoe shine services and more. The six different dining venues in the hotel offer a variety of moods and specialties. The Asaya wellness spa features a six-treatment-room spa as well as a fitness centre. Relax in one of the two pools at the hotel where you can soak amid the tranquil and lush gardens or laze by the rooftop pool. The arrival of Rosewood in Sao Paulo has brought a new standard for all hoteliers to aspire to.
Hotel Fasano Sao Paulo
Hotel Fasano Sao Paulo enjoys a privileged location in the heart of São Paulo’s exclusive Jardins district. Since its opening, this new Art Deco masterpiece designed by Rogerio Fasano has been the city’s most luxurious and desirable hotel, living up to its status as one of the city’s most exclusive destinations reputation. Located in one of South America’s most desirable shopping and dining districts, a stone’s throw away from two Michelin star D.O.M, international designer brands and flagship boutiques.
The interior is themed in Fasano’s Art Deco style, with a strong Italian flair. Following the Fasano design pattern, warm, polished woods and contemporary items add a chic touch to this luxury hotel. Large windows, light coloured bedding, minimalist marble bathrooms and king-size beds ensure that all rooms are spacious and relaxing, a respite from the busy city. If you’re looking to unwind at the end of the day then the hotel has one of Brazil’s best spas whereas an excellent gym and pool, plus access to a personal trainer offer the perfect facilities for those who feel more energetic. The Fasano family are famed for their gastronomy and the hotel is home to a Michelin star restaurant.
Nestled in the 27-hectare Burle Marx Park in the Atlantic rainforest on the outskirts of São Paulo, Palacio Tangara is a renovated mansion that opened in 2017 and oozes luxury. The location is fantastic , nestled in an oasis surrounded by a myriad of tropical birds, close to commercial, leisure and cultural areas, is the ideal place to experience all that São Paulo has to offer.
This stunning European-style property reflects its location from the inside out, with generous green terraces and large open spaces, ensuring you enjoy the tropical surroundings. Design is key to the hotel’s stunning natural surroundings, with local artists creating majestic installations in the lobby, and stunning Amazon photos everywhere. All bedrooms have views of the park, some from the balcony or terrace. The hotel also offers 59 suites. Brazilian designer Bick Simonato’s Italian design with muted tones of blue, beige and gray ensures a tranquil and luxurious stay. Large beds, luxurious bathrooms and open spaces ensure that each bedroom offers a chic and comfortable stay. The hotel has two 25-meter indoor and outdoor swimming pools. For those seeking further relaxation, the beautiful Flora Spa is ideal, offering a range of Sisley Paris treatments. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness centre.
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Hotel Unique Sao Paulo
True to its name, Hotel Unique is one of São Paulo’s most famous and desirable hotels. The hotel is situated on a sprawling lot in the leafy Jardins district, just a short walk from Ibirapuera Park and the Museum of Modern Art. Designed in the shape of a boat by renowned Paulistano architect Ruy Ohtake, this extraordinary hotel guarantees an unforgettable experience. The use of light was key to the design, with guests walking through darkened elevators and corridors to light-filled rooms and huge windows overlooking this wonderful city. Colorful lighting, contemporary furniture and curved walls create an atmospheric yet sophisticated environment that further enhances your experience.
The rooftop of the hotel is extraordinary and legendary in São Paulo. Skye Top features a crimson pool with an underwater sound system and stunning views of the city. At night, the rooftop becomes one of São Paulo’s most exclusive and popular hotspots.It’s the perfect place to sip designer cocktails, catch famous DJs and take in city views. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, the hotel offers the Caudalie Spa, sauna and pillow menu to ensure a good night’s sleep. The gym is spectacular, with all kinds of equipment and slides that take swimmers into the brightly colored green, blue and yellow pools. Then head to Skye for one of the most coveted dining experiences in São Paulo.
Hotel Emiliano Sao Paulo
Hotel Emiliano Sao Paulo is ideally located in the Jardins area of Sao Paulo’s Rua Oscar Freire. The hotel is within walking distance of designer shops and world-renowned restaurants, including the two-Michelin-star D.O.M. It would be hard to find a more ideal location ion. This chic and luxurious hotel is designed in a classic, minimalist Brazilian style. Smooth, warm woods, soft furnishings, open spaces and neutral tones dominate this property, creating a sense of calm and comfort. Impressive vertical living walls and sky orchid gardens bring the tropical world to life.
A strong connection to Brazilian art and design is felt throughout the hotel, from the beautiful rope chairs designed by the Brazilian Campana brothers to the Siron Franco “Cocoon” hanging in the bar. Each bedroom has been designed with privacy, lightness and luxury in mind. Eames armchairs and desks, Italian soft leather and Egyptian cotton sheets and Hungarian goose down pillows ensure this will be a stylish stay. The spacious marble bathrooms, Santapele toiletries, and Japanese toilets add an additional level of luxury while the service at the hotel is exceptional. Guests are offered a complimentary bottle of wine, a free massage and daily fruit basket. The Emiliano Restaurant offers gastronomical treats which will not disappoint.
Simon Williams is Director of Humboldt Travel. Humboldt Travel is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America.