São Paulo

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Sao Paulo is a global city of epic proportions and Brazil’s cultural capital. Also known as ‘Sampa’ or ‘city of drizzle’ for its unreliable weather, it has 20 million inhabitants, some rich, some very poor, a large middle class, lots of foreigners, and a landscape to match this cultural diversity. Skyscrapers, cracked pavements, thousands of restaurants and bars, art-house cinemas, museums, shopping etc. The best places to stay in Sao Paulo vary between some of the most design conscious hotels and the smaller scale boutique, both have lots of individuality but offer different scales of luxury.

So what does this raucous city of flavour have to offer?

  • The shopping is on another level! On Rua Oscar Freire you'll find Tiffany, Cartier, Louis Vuitton as well as Clube Chocolat, then there are lots of flea markets on Sundays.
  • Paulistanos, as they are called, are quite international with ethnic groups from Italy, Japan, Korea, Syria, Lithuania, Greece, Poland, Hunagry, the list goes on! You'll find evidence of these heritages in the flavours of the restaurants, the dancing in the nightclubs, the cocktails in the bars, and the artefacts of the museums, the films of the art houses etc!
  • The restaurants are amongst the best in the world, so you're taste buds will be tantalised.
  • Nightclubs never sleep, so you can expect to party on into the early hours.
  • It is a buzzing metropolis akin to London or New York, perhaps a little dirtier and more polluted, but every inch as cosmopolitan.

On the downside, crime is a serious issue in Sao Paulo so it's essential to keep hold of your pockets. Remember to pack an umbrella, or buy one, it rains on and off throughout the year. It's more humid in January and a little drier after March.

Best places to stay in Sao Paulo

Designer Boutique

  • Emiliano - Extremely cool luxury hotel, chic designer suites with private butlers, complimentary massages, some with private pools. Gourmet Italian restaurant, beautiful spa, helipad for those who jet straight in!
  • Fasano Hotel - Five Star, terribly sophisticated, almost masculine, top of the range spa, two excellent restaurants, and a jazz bar. Very hip.
  • Tivoli Sao Paulo - Mofarrej - a luxury boutique to the hilt, minimalist with all the mod cons, but still bags of individuality. Fabulous French restaurant, Banyan Tree Spa, and roof top terrace with pool. Surprisingly family friendly as well.
  • Hotel Unique - A Five Star desginer boutique in the shape of a ship, suites in minimal muted tones and style, wonderful roof top terrace and pool with views, gourmet fusion restaurant. Definitely one for the unconventional or movers and shakers!

Traditional charm

  • Villa Bahia - a gorgeous little boutique, previously a colonial house, with bags of charm. Romantic bedrooms, four poster beds, little balconies. Rooftop terrace bar and plunge pool. Much more understated than the rest, but extremely pleasant in terms of character.

Still can't decide? Browse through all our recommendation for Sao Paulo, or contact a friendly guru for advice.

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The best hotels in São Paulo

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  • Ilha de Toque Toque

    São Paulo (Toque Toque Grande)

    A contemporary chic collection of suites above the bay of São Sebastião. Stunning views, hammocks on private decks, lots of natural light and all the mod cons. Excellent seafood restaurant and verandah, gym, pool, and private hot tubs in some rooms. Ideal for total relaxation and beach life.

    from $89
    Beach Life  -  The beach is 50m below and the perfect place to chill out.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Private Hot Tub
  • Tivoli Sao Paulo - Mofarrej

    São Paulo (Cerqueira César)

    A Five Star boutique with flair. Luxury rooms and suites in minimal design with all the mod cons. Fantastic French restaurant, Banyan Tree spa, gorgeous roof top terrace and pool. A hotel with the wow factor. Family friendly, romantic, and gourmet.

    95 rooms from $188
    Spa breaks
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Parque Trianon, Planetarium and Teatro Municipal.
  • Villa Bahia

    São Paulo (Higienópolis)

    A glorious boutique hotel, previously a colonial house, right in the heart of a UNESCO heritage district. Romantic bedrooms have four poster beds and elegant furnishings, all in different themes. Lovely roof top terrace, plunge pool, good local cuisine. Bags of character, family friendly.

    17 rooms from $215
    Sights nearby  -  The hotel is in the Pelourinho district, a historic UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Hotel Unique

    São Paulo (Jardim Paulista)

    A boutique designer chic hotel in the shape of a ship. Five Star luxury rooms and suites have all the mod cons and minimal decoration. Fantastic roof top terrace with a pool and lounge area, gourmet fusion restaurant, and extensive spa. Extremely hip hotel, perfect for movers and shakers.

    95 rooms from $281
    City Style
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Sights nearby  -  Professor Aristoteles Orsini Planetarium, Ibirapuera Park, Ibirapuera Gymnasium and Ibirapuera Auditorium.
  • Fasano Hotel

    São Paulo

    A designer chic Five Star hotel with utmost luxury. Seamless contemporary suites, top of the range spa with indoor pool, two fantastic restaurants, rooftop health club, and a Jazz bar. Incredibly hip, the place to be.

    60 rooms from $566
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Reboucas Convention Centre, Professor Aristoteles Orsini Planetarium.
    Restrictions on children  -  Over 2s welcome.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Emiliano

    São Paulo (Jardim Paulista)

    Probably the coolest most luxurious boutique hotel in Sao Paulo. Utterly chic suites come with private butlers, complimentary massages, skyline views, and even a private pool. Gourmet Italian and seafood restaurant and luxury spa. Each living area is a work of art. For those who can afford it.

    from $707
    Foodies  -  Fantastic Italian restaurant.
    Good wine list  -  296 labels.
    Romantic Break
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
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