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The 6 Best Hotels in São Paulo

Once mostly a destination for business travelers, São Paulo is getting buzzier by the minute. Exciting new restaurants, cool bars, and innovative galleries are opening up almost daily, and the city's hotel scene is booming, with a handful of funky boutiques and chic international brands making the city their own. Here, six stylish options to consider for your next trip.

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While this gathering spot for the city’s glitterati surely benefits from an incredible location just off Rua Oscar Freire (the Rodeo Drive of São Paulo), the Isay Weinfeld-designed interiors mean it’s more than just a flashy name in a hot neighborhood. Just look to the guest rooms, whose wooden shutters, mid-century modern furniture (including plenty of chaise longues and ottomans in soft brown leather), and bright-white marble bathrooms look straight off the set of Mad Men. Stop into Baretto bar for a pre-dinner Aperol Spritz and a taste of some of the best bossa nova and jazz musicians in town, and be sure to book (far, far) in advance for dinner at the hotel’s eponymous flagship restaurant, where regional Italian dishes (including handmade pasta) come courtesy of the deft hands of chef Luca Gozzani. Don’t check out without a dip in the rooftop pool, which boasts two freestanding soaking tubs and stellar city views.

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Guest Urban

This 14-room gem offers great value not just for its spot in up-and-coming Pinheiros, where creatives are opening cafés and concept stores apace, but for its homey feel (a rarity in this bustling city). The guest rooms are located in a small townhouse complete with its own terrace and front garden and feature exposed bulbs and painted brick—a much more industrial-chic look than the rest of the hotel's public spaces, with are decorated with vintage finds like sewing machines and suitcases. Borrow one of the property's bikes to zip around the neighborhood’s co-working spaces and restaurants (the hotel serves breakfast but no other food), or, if you'd rather spend the afternoon in, head to the terrace for a relaxing hour with your favorite book and check out the collection of local art on display.

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Tivoli Sao Paulo Mofarrej

Super-central Tivoli doesn’t hold back when it comes to ostentation: everything from the egg-shaped pool to the enormous penthouse suite and greenhouse glass in the lobby is meant to impress clientele, who dress to the nines and swish in and out of the lobby bar for sake caipirinhas. In fact, one of the on-site restaurants, with glorious nighttime city views and a raw sushi bar, is literally called “Seen.” The hotel is just steps from Avenida Paulista, known for its many Michelin-starred restaurants (for which Tivoli's hyper-efficient concierges will help you book tables). Rather not contend with São Paulo's notoriously bad traffic? The Anantara Spa menu is long and varied enough that you could easily while away an entire day here.

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Hotel Unique

The ultra-modern design of this ship-shaped hotel in chic Jardins is the creation of local starchitect Ruy Ohtake, and it’s a stunner. Guests enter the hotel, which is shaped like a ship's hull, via a sloped circular driveway that leads to a soaring atrium lobby, where staff hand out welcome glasses of champagne. The nautical theme continues in the high-ceilinged guest rooms, which feature porthole-shaped windows covered by remote-control drapes along with free-to-borrow pairs of Havaiana flip-flops. (The fresh cookies that come with the nightly turndown service is another nice touch.) The place to be, however, is the rooftop, where you'll find an always-bumping bar and red-tiled pool with an underwater sound system. The space is guests-only during the day but a see-and-be-seen spot for well-heeled locals once the sun sets.

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No request is out of order at this 57-room Arthur Casas-designed hot spot, which prides itself on exquisite service (a mini-massage, bottle of wine, and fruit basket all come complimentary for guests). The Emiliano even goes that extra mile and offers a helipad for people who really can’t bear to sit in traffic. We love the Japanese toilets and abundance of towels in even standard guest room bathrooms, but if you can, splash out on the Cube Suite, a penthouse with 180-degree city views and a swimming pool in the living room. Design fiends should make a beeline for the Fernando and Humberto Campana–designed golden ropes chairs in the lobby bar—they’re excellent Instagram fodder. Bonus: this part of Jardins is home to some of the city’s best restaurants including Alex Atala’s world-famous D.O.M., just a block away from the hotel.

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Palácio Tangará

The German-owned Oetker Collection made its South America debut with this one-of-a-kind parkland retreat in the tony Morumbi neighborhood, and it’s set the bar high. The Brazilian version of Downton Abbey, Palácio Tangará is a neoclassical mansion surrounded by 26 acres of rainforest 10 miles from the city center, though it feels worlds away thanks to landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who spent 40 years laying out the estate with native Atlantic-forest species and rolling greens. The building is a testament to restrained taste; never flashy, the emphasis is instead on pale yellows and grays and vintage furniture (think Brazilian landscape photography, bullhorn coffee tables, and wall hangings), although there’s an exuberant work in brass by Laura Vinci hanging in the lobby. Rooms have plenty of natural light, aided by balconies, and lots of space to stretch out in, but you’ll likely spend more time in a deckchair by the outdoor pool (there’s another one indoors) or feasting on locally flavored sea bass ceviche with coconut, lime, and chili tapioca at Tangará Jean-Georges—Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s only restaurant on the continent. Don’t forget to ask the sommelier for their pick of Brazil’s excellent sparkling wines.

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