World Cup Fever: A Guide To São Paulo’s Best Hotels
With the World Cup set to light up Brazil in the summer of 2014, São Paulo, which is hosting games at its newly built Arena Corinthians, will explode with football fans. Hotels prices are guaranteed to skyrocket, and sorting the best from the rest will be tough. These ten hotels, which range from luxury to boutique to budget, offer cultural experiences that guarantee a fulfilling visit to São Paulo, beyond the football fever.
Renowned for its highly stylised retro interiors and art deco exterior, Hotel Fasano offers visitors a luxury experience in boutique surroundings. The hotel is the realisation of a long held dream for the Fasano family, who have been highly successful restaurateurs in São Paulo for over a century. They wanted to create a hotel which would evoke the best of 1930s style and glamour, whilst offering visitors all the modern amenities. The stunning art deco brick façade of Hotel Fasano, designed by Isay Weinfeld and Marcio Kogan, is matched by a meticulous attention to detail within the hotel. Given the Fasano’s background in fine dining, the hotel’s Fasano Restaurant is unmissable and has a reputation as one of the best Italian restaurants in South America. Alongside this Baretto, an intimate live music and jazz bar, is one of the hippest nightlife spots in the city.
Situated on Alameda Campinas, close to the restaurants and museums of Avenida Paulista, L’Hotel Porto Bay is a refined and relaxed boutique hotel which purposefully evokes classic European style. The hotel attempts to offer visitors a cultural experience, as well as maintaining the highest standards of service and comfort. The hotel is decorated with a range of incredible artworks, including a Flemish tapestry woven in Brussels in the second half of the sixteenth century. This artistic emphasis is complemented by the very best facilities, including a spa, swimming pool, and indoor gym.
Living up to its name in more ways than one, Hotel Unique prides itself on the quirky and distinctive hotel experience it offers. The striking design of the hotel itself makes it a tourist attraction in its own right; it resembles a slice of watermelon whilst its porthole like windows give it a nautical feel which is emphasised by the curved inner floors. This curvature is highlighted throughout the hotel, with an aesthetic based around ellipses, circles and gentle curves, which extends to every aspect of the hotel. The hotel also features vertiginously high ceilings in its public areas, including its famous bar The Wall, in which a 60 foot high wall towers over patrons. Aside from its design, the hotel ensures that visitors have a memorable experience by offering themed packages through their ‘Dream’ programme, which can include tours of São Paulo and its most popular attractions with a personal biker, shopping appointments with a personal shopper and Wasabi Martinis Cocktails served at the Skye Restaurant on the hotel’s rooftop.
São Paulo’s Vila Madalen is renowned as the gastronomic and artistic centre of São Paulo, and its bohemian atmosphere and thriving nightlife make it one of the best districts in the city for those seeking the alternative side of São Paulo. Casa Club Hostel embodies that bohemian atmosphere with its combination of a relaxed and cosy environment and a continuous programme of live music and cultural events. The hostel prides itself on its relaxed vibe and cosmopolitan spirit, with a constant rotation of creative types frequenting the bar and enjoying the regular rooftop barbecues put on by Casa Club. This party atmosphere which pervades Casa Club makes it the perfect place to stay for those searching for a cheaper and livelier stay in São Paulo.
Located just off Avenida Paulista in the heart of the city, Maksoud Plaza is one of the most well-established of São Paolo’s hotels and remains one of the best. The colourful façade and 1980s style interior lobby may seem slightly dated but the hotel nevertheless offers the best in modern amenities to counteract its more retro fittings. The location on the highest plateau of the city makes the views from the hotel rooms particularly stunning, whilst its proximity to such cultural attractions as Casa das Rosas, the Centro Cultural FIESP-Ruth Cardoso, Museu de Arte de São Paulo and Museu de Arte Contemporânea make it ideal for culture lovers.
Located in São Paulo’s fashionable Jardins district, Emiliano prides itself on offering a uniquely Brazilian type of hospitality. The hotel facilities include a spa, a gym and a champagne and caviar bar in which the house DJ regularly performs. The hotel is also notable for its location on Oscar Freire Street, which is renowned as Brazil’s most luxurious shopping street and features outlets of many of the most swanky and sought after brands in the world. The rooms of the Emiliano match these luxurious surroundings, with contemporary Brazilian furnishings combined with classic Eames pieces and the best in high end amenities.
Located in the Jardins district near to Avenida Paulista, Tivoli is renowned for its unique take on Brazilian hospitality and service. The elegant rooms are livened up with some Brazilian themed accessories and a complimentary caipirinha, whilst the Arola Vintetres restaurant, run by Catalan chef Sergi Arola, offers a Brazilian twist on tapas. The glass enclosed lobby is surrounded by thick vegetation, making it seem more like an Amazonian hotel rather than one in the city centre. The location allows visitors easy access to the São Paulo Museum of Art and the bars, restaurants and shops of the Jardins area.
An artsy boutique hotel which presents something different from its more luxury orientated Jardins neighbours, Pousada Dona Zilah offers a reasonably priced and very cosy hotel experience. The rustic design extends throughout the family run enterprise, and the owners are always available to offer city tips and other recommendations for football weary travellers. The hotel’s restaurant, The Zilah Gourmet, offers the best Brazilian cuisine using only local, sustainable ingredients.
An established boutique hostel which caters particularly to travellers who love art and design, Vila Madalena Hostel is the best place to experience the arty side of São Paulo. The hostel boasts a creative atmosphere and a regular programme of exhibitions, as well as a drawing wall where guests can indulge their own artistic talents. The utilitarian accommodations are offset by quirky interiors and a friendly atmosphere, as well as hammocks and a game room where guests can relax. The Pinheiros location is ideal for visiting the nearby Benedito Calixto Square, which is São Paulo’s main market for handcrafts, antiques and design, and is a popular nightlife area with a thriving arts scene.
Located amidst the rolling hills near São Luiz do Paraitinga about two hours’ drive from São Paulo, Fazenda Catuçaba offers an ideal retreat from the bustle of Sao Paulo. The hotel’s property stretches to over 450 hectares and includes an operational organic farm and numerous lakes and rivers, all of which allows for a range of outdoor activities including canoeing, fishing and swimming. The combination of luxury amenities and rustic authenticity makes Fazenda Catuçaba perfect for those seeking to see rural Brazil in comfort, whilst the proximity to São Luiz do Paraitinga and its historic monuments means that there are plenty of cultural experiences for guests to enjoy.