São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil, is South America’s largest city, brimming with samba beats. It is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, diverse cuisine, and towering architecture such as the Edifício Copan. But with green spaces including the Ibirapuera Park and the city’s museums, there’s also the chance to step back and take a breath. Here’s our guide to the best hotels and where to stay to enjoy this effervescent metropolis.
Hotel Emiliano is situated right the heart of Jardins, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Sao Paulo. An esteemed member of The Leading Hotels of the World since 2001, this accommodation option oozes majesty, elegance and sophistication, and is an idyllic place to spend an evening in the bustling city.
Made to last, not to tire, this timeless masterpiece drawn up by designers Isay Weinfeld and Márcio Kogan, put the rest of São Paulo’s hotels to shame when it opened in Jardim Europa in 2003. Order a comforting single malt in the ground-floor bar, Baretto. How visionary owner Rogerio Fasano’s eponymous Italian restaurant doesn’t have a Michelin star is one of the world’s great mysteries.
This French bourgeois palace, in a privileged spot in Burle Marx Park, is possibly the most extravagant place to sleep in São Paulo. Owned by the Oetker Collection (of the Lanesborough in London and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes), this urban oasis in the heart of São Paulo’s concrete jungle is as luxe as it gets, with fine-dining by multi-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a spectacular setting to impress your special plus-one. If you’re traveling with the entourage, the Grand Suite has a little more space than your average São Paulo hotel room. That said, all rooms come with balconies.
Decorated with a mix of up-and-coming art, flea-market finds and plenty of industrial interior touches, Guest Urban Hotel is a hipster hangout in one of São Paulo’s most happening ‘hoods, Pinheiros. The cool coffee shops, bars, art galleries and sensational sushi of Jun Sakamoto on your doorstep make it all too easy to shortcut straight to São Paulo’s social scene. Explore on foot, or with one of the free bikes available at reception, armed with friendly tips from founders Fabio Queiroz and Demian Figueiredo, and the like-minded creatives that use their place as a remote office.
Long before there was Airbnb, journalists Paula Queiroz and Henrique Paludetto wanted people to enjoy staying in their Jardins home and experience life as a Paulista. Guests get slipstreamed straight into Brazil’s mega-metropolis with a truck-load of useful intel’. The impeccably designed, three-bedroom hostel is located close to Paulista Avenue. Fans of Brazil’s mid-century modern masters should not miss the couple’s guided tour of hidden architectural gems by Lina Bo Bardi, Artigas Vilanova, Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Oscar Niemeyer.
The neighborhood of Vila Madalena’s particular brand of nocturnal bustle, colorful street art and all-round hipster vibe makes it the obvious choice for a Selina. The barrio’s creative buzz is a perfect fit for the hip hostel chain’s honed playbook of cinema screenings, industrial-chic interiors and morning yoga sessions. It feels like it’s been here forever, even though it opened for business well after bohemian Madalena reached the zenith of the São Paulo zeitgeist.
There are a heap of corporate hotels in São Paulo, but few enjoy the strategic location at the intersection of Cidade Jardim and Faria Lima. Traveling for work? Ultimately, that’ll determine where you stay in São Paulo, so picking a hotel near your meetings is key. As well as being in the thick of the city’s most important HQs, Radisson Blu puts you next to the upscale Iguatemi mall which has some great eating options, including healthy favorite Rascal.
Downtown São Paulo lost its place as the city’s epicenter to a string of more serene districts years ago, but the area around Praça da Republica retains a degree of charm and allure for artists and architects alike. Getting up close to two of the city’s architectural landmarks, Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edifício Copan and Franz Heep’s Edifício Itália, are just two reasons to stay here and enjoy an authentic São Paulo experience. Rooms range from dorms to doubles, stitched together in hipster-ready Selina style.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Nicole Marcuzzi.
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