A sprawling megacity with a metro population of more than 21 million, São Paulo is Brazil’s business and financial capital. For leisure travelers, however, its airport is often the point of arrival in South America, as well as a convenient hub around which to construct an itinerary. On our recent trip, we decided to take a couple of days to recuperate after the 10-hour overnight flight from New York. On previous such occasions, we have stayed at the Hotel Fasano São Paulo, a 60-room property in the center of the city, a short walk from the main thoroughfare, Avenida Paulista.
This time, however, we opted to relax at the Fasano Boa Vista, a resort of 39 lavish accommodations, set in peaceful countryside, a two-hour drive west of São Paulo international airport. (The Fasano family arrived in São Paulo from Milan more than a century ago, since when its members have established an enduring reputation for fine Italian cuisine, notably at their eponymous flagship restaurant. Their first hotel debuted in 2003, and they now have a total of six — in Brazil and Uruguay — with two more under construction.)
Fasano Boa Vista
Two-thirds of our drive passed through São Paulo’s seemingly endless concrete sprawl, but eventually we came to green and rolling farmland, interspersed with stands of tall trees and backed by distant blue hills. (São Paulo lies at an elevation of 2,493 feet.) Pulling off the four-lane highway, we came to a security gate, where our reservation and passports were scrutinized minutely. Set on approximately 2,000 acres and dotted with luxurious homes built for some of São Paulo’s more fortunate citizens, the Fasano Boa Vista is as much a clubhouse as a resort. After a sedate 15 mph drive along a road that snaked past polo fields and an 18-hole golf course, we came to an unobtrusive entrance, where we were greeted with extreme politeness. The lobby surveyed an enormous open-plan lounge with magnificent wooden floors, stylish modern furniture, colorful abstract paintings, two central fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows that looked over a large balcony and a man-made lake. The property’s striking modern architecture is the work of the well-known Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld.