São Paulo's trendy, eclectic spot
88 Rooms / 10 Suites
Unique by name and by design, São Paulo’s Hotel Unique resembles the looming hull of a ship, with port holes for windows and two colossal concrete pillars propping up each end of the grey-green, half-moon-shaped building. Far from being gimmicky, however, the luxury hotel strikes a balance between stylish and eccentric — floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the lobby are cut through with 10-foot rusting metal slabs, the backlit bottle-lined shelves of the lobby bar rise almost 20 feet up a sloping wall, and the large Campana Brothers-designed royal blue sofa invites guests to lounge about. Attention to detail is a hallmark of the service, too, with champagne at check-in, fresh coconuts by the bedside in the evening, and a multilingual staff happy to arrange anything from a massage to a tour of the city.
São Paulo, for all its wealth and vibrant arts scene, is surprisingly void of boutique hotels, which makes Hotel Unique a favorite for anyone seeking an eclectic option. Media and advertising executives, fashionistas, romantic weekenders and financiers are all among the regulars here. It’s a favorite, too, for the leather-jacket crowd when the Grand Prix comes to town.
With 98 rooms, the São Paulo hotel has a buzzy, exclusive feel. Dark elevators and dark corridors (so dark you’ll be feeling your way along the walls once the sun goes down) lead to the small but well-appointed black-and-white standard rooms. Tech touches include satellite TV, an iPod docking station and speakers built into the headboard. In the bathroom, guests can push up a sliding glass room divider to watch TV while soaking in the Jacuzzi tub. For more room, opt for one of the 10 spacious suites, famed for their curved, wood-paneled walls and quirky design details.
The rooftop pool, with its 360-degree view, is a suntrap by day; the white, double daybeds are an ideal perfect spot to lay back and admire the view over the treetops of neighboring Ibirapuera Park and the skyscrapers lining the city’s main thoroughfare, Avenida Paulista. Down in the basement, a half-inside, half-outside pool will suit the splashers rather than the serious swimmers. You can zip down the water slide, float out under the night sky, or hold your breath and tune in to the underwater music. Saunas, steam rooms, and spa treatment rooms add a luxurious element to the leisure options. Most evenings, the vast conference complex, tucked away on the lower ground floor, bustles with corporate events and weddings.
The Food and Drink
The rooftop sun-worshippers give way to a glamorous crowd as the poolside Skye Bar opens up to the public in the early evening. You’ll see both tourists and locals sipping signature martinis and inventive caipirinhas as the sun sets. Order one of the alfresco bar’s excellent thin-crust, house-made pizzas or sushi platters, or head inside to Skye where French chef Emmanuel Bassoleil serves up excellent international cuisine. Go for the sumptuous Franco-Brazilian seabass served in a light champagne sauce with yam purée and caviar-filled pastry parcel. Solo diners can sit up at the counter for a ringside view of the kitchen in action.