Rua Vittorio Fasano, 88, Paulista District, São Paulo
With more than a century of tradition in offering Paulistas the finest dining experiences, the Fasano family now welcomes guests to a classic, elegant home away from home.
Just inside the doors of the Hotel Fasano’s sleek wood and brick facade, you enter a comfortable living room. It’s tempting to sink into leather chairs, set aside the hustle of travel and simply relax. There are books, newspapers and magazines, a small bar, and a wood-burning fireplace that’s lit whenever temperatures dip below 63º F, which Brazilians find chilly.
Behind the lounge, a wall of antique ochre bricks and natural light streaming through a skylight highlight the long reception desk. Here someone appears to offer you refreshments while the check-in process is completed. Each guest receives an artistically rendered map and guide to the excellent arts, culture, shopping and fine dining nearby.
This member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World has been open less than a decade, yet exudes the restrained elegance of the 1930s. Perhaps that’s because the Fasano family have been operating popular restaurants in São Paulo for more than a century.
Fasano’s gastronomic history began in 1902 when Vittorio Fasano arrived from Milan and opened the Brasserie Paulista on Antonio Prado Square, the historical center of an elegant and prim city. It has continued through four generations and in a number of locations – in the 1950s, the elegant Fasano Bakery became the stopping point for high society to indulge in its ritualistic afternoon teas. Now Vittorio’s grandson Fabrizio and his son Rogerio command the Fasano group that, more than a hundred years later, is progressing from fine dining into the luxury hotel business.
Located between the business centers of Paulista and Faria Lima Avenues, the Fasano São Paulo is just steps away from exclusive shops and trendy cafes. Its 23 floors hold 50 regular rooms in two sizes, as well as 10 suites ranging from 815 square feet to 1,290 square feet. All have lovely views over the Jardins district, though of course the largest suites are the most posh, with two bedrooms.
Only four rooms in various configurations are on each floor: four individual rooms, one four-room suite, or a three-room suite plus one room. All rooms exhibit a classic, subdued style with white walls, sleek dark wood furnishings, leather chairs, and benches. Soft throws and Persian rugs on dark hardwood floors provide cheerful accents.
Each room is fully equipped with all the expected technology and when not working, you can snuggle into the Egyptian cotton linen, tuck a goose–feather pillow under your head, and plug in an iPod or watch a favorite show on the widescreen TV with DVD/CD. Internet access requires a hefty additional fee, but butler and concierge service is included.
Arriving guests receive a 15–minute complimentary massage and a personal trainer in the fully equipped rooftop fitness center. If that’s not enough, you can enjoy a good-sized heated swimming pool with a 21st floor view, sauna, steam room, two Japanese Ofuro baths, and spa services, including Ayurvedic massage.
A different sort of relaxation is on offer in the basement-level Baretto bar. It’s in British style pub with overstuffed leather chairs and, yes, cigar smoking is allowed. It also boasts an unusual flag: the British Union Jack presented somewhat cheekily by the Fasanos in the colors of the Italian flag—red, green and white.
The celebrated Fasano dining room awaits dinner guests with an air of elegant history. Subdued tones of rich woods, leather wall tiles and cozy banquettes are cheerily accented with small bouquets of vivid yellow flowers on each table. The walls are lined with wine bottles autographed by their often–famous imbibers. Service is impeccable and reservations are absolutely required.
The Nonno Ruggero, an Italian-style trattoria on the first floor is a lighter, brighter space and its lunch buffet is outstanding. Fare is of the highest quality and is simply but beautifully presented.
Fasano staffers tell us they want guests to feel comfortable and it shows. Service is simple, discreet, and never ostentatious: a stark contrast to the poor service many guests experience at the company’s second hotel, the Fasano Rio de Janeiro which opened in 2007. We’ll see which route new ones take that are planned for Boa Vista and Trancoso, Brazil, and in Punte del Este, Uruguay.
For style accompanied by comfort and service with a smile instead of attitude, the Fasano Hotel is in many respects the best in the city.
Web Address: www.fasano.com.br
Total Number of rooms and suites: 60
Published rates: $480 to $2,400
Review and photos by Paul and Lorie Bennett, large photo courtesy of Fasano Hotel.