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published on March 01, 2010

São Paulo Hotel Recommendations

by Bill Hinchberger

Luxury at the Emiliano
São Paulo - Visitors to São Paulo enjoy a wide selection of lodging possibilities spread out across the city, with something to appeal to practically every taste and budget. São Paulo’s automobile traffic is notoriously bad, so you should choose a hotel in a neighborhood that is geographically convenient to your business meetings, social obligations and leisure activities. Most of the leading international brands have impressive properties in São Paulo. But for those who can and want to spend the money, more interesting digs can be had at one of the upscale boutique hotels that are springing up all around town.

Below you will find short reviews of many leading hotels in São Paulo. Unless otherwise stated, we have visited the property. (If you represent a place not listed here and would like to schedule a visit, please contact us.)

Browse for São Paulo Hotels

If you prefer to browse a broader range of hotels on your own, here are some reputable websites to check out:

* São Paulo Hotels on Agoda
* São Paulo Hotels on Hotels Combined
* São Paulo Hotels on Venere
* Hostels and Budget Accommodations in São Paulo with Hostelworld for budget travelers.

Design and Boutique Luxury Hotels in São Paulo

Neighborhood: Bela Vista (near the Avendia Paulista)
This elegant hotel is a popular setting for fashion photo shots and the filming of scenes in Brazilian telenovelas and advertising spots. A unique and popular service is the hotel’s “personal shopper.” Hotel employees track down anything that can be found for sale in São Paulo, including hard-to-find items; they’ll even bring clothing to your room to try on, select, and purchase. Alameda Campinas, 266; telephone: +55 11 2183-0505.

Hotel Unique
Neighborhood: Ibirapuera
Shaped as half a watermelon with the flat side on top, this architectural landmark cum hotel near the Ibirapuera Park has become popular with self-styled trend setters like advertising executives and fashion models. Click here to read more about the Hotel Unique on BrazilMax. Avenida Brigadeiro Luis Antonio, 4700 telephone: +55 11 3055-4700.

Fasano Hotel
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins)
Owners of an exclusive Italian restaurant, the Fasano family has poured a substantial portion of their pasta profits into this establishment. The marquee restaurant is now located inside the hotel. With its elegant 1930s-inspired décor, this is the place for those who want luxury with discretion. Rua Vittorio Fason 88; telephone: +55 11 3896-4000.

Emiliano Hotel
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins)
With an employee-guest ratio of 3-1, the Emiliano offers swift and personalized service. For those who return to crash after taking part in São Paulo’s rambunctious nightlife, blackout drapes can be activated by bedside controls. All rooms come with a wide selection of bath soaps and pillows, stretching sessions upon arrival, a complimentary 15-minute massage, two free ironings, and a wine and fruit basket with flowers. Rua Oscar Freire, 384; telephone: +55 11 3068-4399.

Large Upscale Hotels (including the chains) in São Paulo

These properties tend to be popular with business executives.

Gran Estanplaza São Paulo
Neighborhood: Brooklin, near the Avenida Berrini
Set astride the World Trade Center office complex, this hotel holds its own with the best in this part of town – positioning itself as an authentically Brazilian option amid globalized neighbors like the Hilton. In contrast to many of its upscale competitors in São Paulo, the Gran Estanplaza still offers the traditional Brazilian complimentary breakfast spread for all guests. Rua Arizona 1517; telephone: + 55 11 3059-3277.

Sofitel São Paulo
Neighborhood: Ibirapuera
Located near Ibirapuera Park and just 10 minutes by taxi from the domestic Congonhas airport, this hotel is popular with the denizens of the international art world, many of whom choose to stay there during the São Paulo Biennial of Art that is held in a pavilion inside Ibirapuera Park. Rua Sena Madureira, 1355; telephone: +55 11 5087-0800.

Hilton São Paulo Morumbi
Neighborhood: Brooklin (near the Avenida Berrini) This $90 million hotel stands adjacent to the São Paulo’s World Trade Center office complex. First class in every respect, down to the restaurant’s wine list, this hotel was chosen to host then-US President George W. Bush during his 2007 visit to the city. Avenida das Nacões Unidas, 12901; telephone: +55 11 6845-0000.

Hotel Transamerica
Neighborhood: Interlagos
It may seem remote, but this hotel offers easy access to sundry offices of multinational and large Brazilian companies nearby, and it sports a three-hole golf course and putting green, lighted tennis courts, a small soccer field and a large pool. Complementary shuttles take guests to the Morumbi shopping mall. The Transamerica serves as headquarters for the annual Brazilian Grand Prix, the Formula One race held in the nearby Interlagos Speedway. Avenida Nacões Unidas, 18.591; telephone: +55 11 5693-4511.

Caesar Park São Paulo Faria Lima and Caesar Business São Paulo Faria Lima
Neighborhood: Vila Olímpia
There are few hotels worth mentioning in Vila Olímpia, a booming district of offices, bars and nightclubs located between the traditional Jardins region and the burgeoning Berrini Avenue in Brooklin. To of them are the Caesar Park and its sister the Caesar Business next door. Both are owned and operated by Mexico’s Posadas group. Though part of a chain, the twins do their best to mimic the experience of boutique hotels; that starts with the reduced number of rooms and extends to the beefed up concierge service and adjunct business center. Rua das Olimpíadas, 205; telephone: +55 11 3049-6622.

Grand Hyatt São Paulo
Neighborhood: Brooklin (near the Avenida Berrini)
This establishment – located, at the time, within five minutes walking distance of BrazilMax headquarters in Brooklin - opened to rave reviews in 2002. Since then, however, it seems to be resting on its laurels. This property still counts among the city's top players, but the level of service seems to be lagging in comparison to neighboring competitors like the Hilton Morumbi, Gran Estanplaza and Blue Tree Morumbi. If you are a Hyatt person or if you have business at the Globo TV studios nextdoor, go for it. Otherwise look elsewhere. Avenida das Nações Unidas, 13301; telephone: +55 11 6838 1234.

InterContinental Hotel São Paulo
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins), near the Avenida Paulista
Opened in 1996, this hotel now numbers among the senior citizens of São Paulo, given all the newly constructed properties. Unlike some competitors that have multiple entrances, there is only one place where guests and the public can enter the building, a feature that provides added security. Like the entrance to the building, once inside there is only one way to reach the events area, a feature that appeals to cautious organizers. For this reason, Brazilian President Lula twice made his election night victory speech at the Intercontinental. Alameda Santos, 1123; telephone: +55 11 3179-2600.

Renaissance São Paulo Hotel
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins), near the Avenida Paulista
The outdoor sculpture, spacious lobby of curved wood and metal, marble floors, and photographs of old São Paulo set a classic contemporary tone in this building designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Ruy Ohtake. Security-conscious travelers can rest easy thanks to the extra efforts on this point: the hotel runs is own security operation instead of outsourcing it as do many hotels. A Marriott property. Alameda Santos, 2233; telephone: +55 11 3069 2233.

Sheraton WTC Hotel São Paulo
Neighborhood: Brooklin (near the Avenida Berrini)
This hotel is part of a multi-use complex that includes the adjacent office tower and upscale shopping mall that specializes in interior decorating and design and a major auditorium. It seems to be catering to mid-sized events. It has bounced around from one brand to another. Stay there if you are participating in an event that will be held there or if you want Sheraton points. Avendia Naçôes Unidas, 12.559; telephone: +55 11 3055 8000.

Basic Hotels in São Paulo

For business travelers who need to watch their wallets and leisure visitors who don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the hotel.

Comfort Suites Oscar Freire
Neighborhood: Pinheiros
Nothing special – a basic budget business hotel. But if you want to stay in or near the Pinheiros/Vila Madalena region without slumming or paying a fortune, this is a good choice. Rua Oscar Freire, 1948; telephone: +55 11 2137-4700.

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins), near the Avenida Paulista
This hotel is a standout for business travelers looking for practicality over formality, Chinese business travelers, and mid-range budget Brazilian weekenders. Special services cater to Chinese and Japanese guests, including receptionists fluent in the respective languages, Asian-style breakfasts and room service meals. Other directed programs include the Crown Plaza Sleep Advantage, with features and amenities developed by the well-known sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, and weekend “romantic” and “cultural” packages aimed at Brazilians who live within driving distance of Sao Paulo. Frei Caneca 1360; telephone: +55 11 4501-8000

Golden Tulip Paulista Plaza Hotel
Neighborhood: Paraíso
Located near the Jardins neighborhood but a few blocks away from the hub of activity, in a quieter, less upscale quarter, this probably offers one of the area's better bargains. Some airlines use it for flight crews. Alameda Santos, 85; telephone: +55 11 3177-0400.

Dona Zilah
Neighborhood: Jardim Paulista (Jardins)
A small, family-run “pousada” (or inn) along the lines commonly found in popular tourist destinations like the Northeast. Because it was then a one-of-a-kind place in a city full of business hotels, and because the authors could probably afford to stay there while remaining close to the Avenida Paulista, Dona Zilha received a lot of ink from the guidebook writers. Unfortunately the press seems to have gone to the heads of Dona Zilah’s braintrust and, like the Hyatt at the high end, it seems to be resting on its laurels. Even in the best of times, this was a place for people who didn’t need to worry about returning phone calls and making Internet connections – which is all fine and good. Who wants to check email on vacation? We wish it all the best in what we hope will eventually be a comeback effort. Alameda Franca, 1621/1633; telephone: +55 11 3062-1444.

Regent Park Suite Hotel
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins)
This family-owned and operated property, formerly associated with Best Western, is set in the heart of the shopping district of the haute Jardins region, on the trendiest street in the city, Oscar Freire. Despite the location, the hotel pretty much offers just the basics. It is clean and tidy, offering personable but unsophisticated service. It is notable in that it is one of the few all-suite hotels in the neighborhood and in that all rooms include fully-equipped kitchens. Discounts can be had for long stays. Rua Oscar Freire, 533; telephone: +55 11 3065-5555.

Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi
Neighborhood: Anhembi
Brazil’s largest hotel, located eight km from downtown (a 30-minute drive in normal traffic) and without easy access to the city’s deficient subway system, is only interesting to commercial travelers attending events in the adjacent Anhembi Convention Center, Latin America’s largest, and to Carnival revelers who want a place nearby to crash after the annual pageant in the equally handy “sambadrome” parade grounds. People on large group tours sometimes become unwitting guests as part of their all-inclusive packages. The building was designed as a hotel by modernist architect Miguel Juliano and was partially built in the 1960s. Its skeleton marred São Paulo’s skyline for three decades, and the white elephant and at different times seemed destined to become an office building or public housing. Rua Professor Milton Rodriques, 100; telephone: +55 11 2107-8844.

Chain Hotels in São Paulo

Of course, “chain” technically includes many of the international brands mentioned above. What we mean by the term here are companies that have several similar properties in different parts of São Paulo.

Accor - The Accor group offers a full range of properties from top end to budget. Brands include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis and Formula 1 in São Paulo. We have visited very few of these properties.

Blue Tree Hotels – Blue Tree caters to women business executives with an Asian touch, reflecting the personality of founder and CEO Chieko Aoki. We inspected two of their properties in São Paulo, and stayed in one of those. Verdict: good quality but overpriced. Here are some of their leading offerings in town:
* Blue Tree Morumbi in Brooklin, near the Morumbi Shopping Mall
* Blue Tree Berrini in Brooklin, near the Avenida Berrini
* Blue Tree Faria Lima in Pinheiros
* Blue Tree Paulista in the Jardins neighborhood
* Blue Tree Anália Franco in the most southern end of São Paulo
* Blue Tree Verbo Divino in Santo Amaro


The Gran Estanplaza (see above) claims to attempt to add a Brazilian touch to its services. We have visited the flagship property, but none of the apparently no-nonsense business-oriented spin-offs. In any case, here are some links:
* Estanplaza Berrini in Brooklin, near the Avenida Berrini
* Estanplaza Funchal-Faria Lima
* Estanplaza Ibirapuera
* Estanplaza International Boutique Hotels & Convention Center in Chácara Santo Antônio
* Estanplaza Nações Unidas in Brooklin, near the Avenida Berrini
* Estanplaza Paulista

Classic São Paulo Hotels

The city of São Paulo experienced an unbelievable amount of growth during the 20th century: its population grew from just 60,000 in 1890 to about 10 million a century later. Certain hotels marked different the era. Some, like the city’s first five-star hotel, the Ca'd'Oro, and the old downtown Hilton have gone out of business. But many are still operating. Some have been renovated or even changed their names. Most are in the old downtown (Centro) or near the Avendia Paulista.

Maksoud Plaza
Neighborhood: Bela Vista (near the Avendia Paulista)
This 23-story atrium-hotel became the place to be after Sinatra inaugurated it with his first South American concert in 1980. Before cable TV, it was one of the few places in town with the US Armed Services Network and thus one of the only places in Brazil to watch Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers beat the A’s in the 1988 World Series. The bartender didn’t appreciate leaving the game on, but as long as I ordered caipirinhas it was OK. After one of the games, my wife and I ran into Caetano Veloso out front, guitar in had, waiting for a cab. In the 1990s investment bankers from New York and London dropped anchor at the Maksoud. Alameda Campinas, 150; telephone: +55 11 3145 8000.

Tivoli São Paulo Mofarrej
Neighborhood: Cerqueira César (Jardins)
Near the Trianon Park, this 23-story tower, dating from 1988, was the place to be in the 1990s. More recently it has experienced sundry physical and brand renovations – and even suffered through a temporary closing. As a result of bad publicity related to these changes, it has lost some of its aura – and become a pretty good bargain, especially for business travelers who need to be near the Avenida Paulista. Alameda Santos, 1437; telephone: +55 11 3146-5900.

Neighborhood: Consolação (near the Centro)
This is the old Hotel Firenze, where everybody from Caetano Veloso to Bob Marley slept. We briefly visited this property a few years ago but cannot really express an opinion. Rua Frei Caneca, 80; telephone: +55 11 3123-2021.

Hotel Jaguará
For years, starting in the 1950s, this hotel stood above the newsrooms of the Estado de São Paulo newspaper. Then the Estadão, as Brazilians call it, abandoned downtown. What happened next is a long story, but in the early 1990s I was working as a correspondent for The Financial Times and had my office via an FT accord courtesy of the financial daily Gazeta Mercantil, which had taken over the Estadão editorial offices. The Gazeta also left. The Diário Popular took over. It was all mixed up. I may not even have the story straight. But I do know that the hotel closed, opened again, had administrative problems, and is now part of the Accor Group.

São Paulo Airport Hotels

Marriott São Paulo Airport
City: Guarulhos
Near São Paulo’s international airport, this is the best alternative for passengers in transit or businesspeople who have meetings in Guarulhos, an industrial suburb of Sao Paulo and home of the international airport. Amenities like the large outdoor pool, well-equipped fitness center (which offers massages and a sauna), lighted tennis courts and game rooms with card and pool tables attract a day-use crowd of people who have extended waits for connecting flights. Avenida Monteiro Lobato s/n, Guarulhos; telephone: +55 11 6468-6999.

Bristol Dobly International Hotel
City: Guarulhos
In addition to harboring São Paulo’s international airport, the 1.2 million-strong industrial suburb of Guarulhos is the second largest city in São Paulo state and boasts Brazil’s 8th largest municipal economy. For business travelers with meetings on this side of the traffic-ridden São Paulo metropolitan region, the Dobly offers a downtown alternative to the isolated Marriott and Caesar Park astride the runways. It also offers a budget alternative for travelers who want to spend their last night near the airport to avoid early morning traffic jams or who want a day-use option to sleep off their jet-lag while waiting for a connection. Just 10 minutes from the airport, the hotel offers a regular shuttle service. For travelers waiting for connections, stuck with a layover or who need or want to spend a night near the airport, the Dobly offers a cut-rate alternative. It will also appeal to those who would rather spend their time in Guarulhos in the city itself instead of in isolation near the airport. Rua Jose de Andrade, 63; telephone: +55 11 6463-9000.

Caesar Park São Paulo International Airport
City: Guarulhos
We have been by this hotel hundreds of time on the way to the airport, but we have never visited. People say good things about it. Carretera Hélio Smidt, sector 1; telephone: +55 11 2124-5800.

São Paulo Spa

Unique Garden
City: Mairipora
This is a spa located on the outskirts of São Paulo run by the same folks who run the Hotel Unique. We have not visited this property. They have invited us, but our schedules have never worked out. Estrada Laramara, 3500; telephone: +55 11 4486 9700

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