Clubby, design-forward luxury in São Paulo
Expect dapper gents and coiffured ladies lounging in antique leather armchairs and sipping cocktails in the lobby of Hotel Fasano São Paulo. And that’s exactly what the exclusive luxury hotel’s designers were gunning for when they tucked the reception desk discreetly away out of sight making the Lobby Bar the focal point when you walk in the front door. The name Fasano is synonymous with tradition and sophistication, and despite the brand’s expansion — there are Fasano hotels and restaurants across the country and in Uruguay, with more being built — this is still very much a family affair. The current owner, Rogério Fasano, is the fourth generation of restaurateurs, immigrants from Italy, whose empire started with a brasserie in downtown São Paulo in 1902. A century later, this, their first hotel, opened in 2003.
There’s a no-expense-spared feel to the Fasano, from its façade of bricks, imported from England, to the interior of dark woods, brown leathers, travertine marble and exquisite furnishings, many of which were sourced on treasure-hunting trips abroad by the hotel’s Brazilian architects, Márcio Kogan and Isay Weinfeld. Look out for the 1938 United States Navy map of the world, hung on the wall in reception. The look here is one of subtle refinement, a blend of contemporary design with period details that embody the spirit of the 1930’s.
The rich leather chairs, parquet flooring and linen curtains are the stand-outs in the spacious rooms, rather than the flat-screen TVs, DVD players and iPod docks, which all come standard. All 60 of the luxury hotel’s rooms have ample closets and large windows (with excellent blackout blinds) that look out over the high-rises and houses of the Jardins neighborhood, home to most of the city’s best restaurants and designer boutiques. The bathrooms are wall-to-wall white marble luxury, with flip-flops, white robes and heated towel rails. Deluxe rooms and suites boast bathtubs big enough for two.
Need a meeting room or to print off a document? The business center can adeptly cover that. If relaxation is what you’re after, the intimate penthouse spa offers a good range of massages, plus facials. The top-floor fitness center offers personal trainers. The pool area, with its expanse of white marble and commanding city views, is more of a design feature than an extremely functional space (the pool is not large enough for exercise and not outdoors, either). But it does have a dry and steam sauna, two ofuro (hot) baths and luxe accoutrements like Hans Wegner chairs and antique fixtures.
The Food and Drink
Fasano the restaurant is a destination for diners looking to splurge on serious Italian food and excellent wines. Slip past the pianist into the stunning eatery, a grand atrium with a large, retractable skylight opened on cloudless nights. A slick operation of black-suited maîtres and white-suited waiters make this a true fine-dining experience. You can opt for one of the tasting menus or the truffle menu, though the sublime duck ravioli in an orange sauce remains a popular classic. Retire to the intimate Baretto, the Fasano’s live music bar. Finish a night out with a whiskey in hand (the bar has one of the best collections of single malts in São Paulo) and the smooth sounds of bossa nova or jazz.