From Chrysalis to Butterfly to São Paulo

A 21st century force to be reckoned with, sprawling São Paulo’s place as an economic hothouse is firm… and still growing.

Second in population only to Mexico City within the western hemisphere, sprawling São Paulo is Brazil’s largest city, twice the size of Rio de Janeiro.

According to Citi in a 2011 report published by Business, São Paulo heads a list of the world’s megacities expected to boom by 2025. An additional 3 million people will be added to the current 19 million along with a significant rise of $394 billion in the metro’s GNP.

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São Paulo Surges Ahead

sao-pauloOn an average Friday night, the rush hour tailback extends 112 miles. The number of private helicopters per capita is second only to New York City. Office space rental is more expensive than in Manhattan. This is home to Latin America’s largest shopping mall with 500 stores; there are 90 museums but not a single beach.

In this land of hyperboles, the Fasano represents something of a contrast, as the city’s best hotel address is understated. While all the bells and whistles are present, from a live jazz bar to shiatsu treatments, the 1930s presentation of the independent hotel is far from flashy. See and be see dining room’s clubby interpretation of hot and handsome.

Renaissance by Marriott, Grand Hyatt, Sheraton and Hilton round out the North American hospitality brand offerings focused on business travelers. Atop Hotel Unique, something truly unique in an urban work of art — Skye is an outdoor rooftop restaurant/bar with crimson red pool with underwater music overlooking the skyline from a boat-shaped contemporary architectural landmark. Bloody Mary ceviche, anyone?

Hardly in a position to climb in the rankings, Chef Alex Atala’s D.O.M. ranks best in Latin America for four consecutive years, number six in the world. Referring to the cuisine as “contemporary Brazilian/Amazonian,” where else on earth could one find such a menu sourced from rainforest sustainable farming? To be sure, you will be eating flowers and other such tropical delicacies.

Mani clinches a place in S. Pellegrino’s top 50 restaurants in the world. Bráz Pizzeria, surely the best pizza this side of Naples, is famous nationwide. Sushi and saké lovers are never disappointed; São Paulo has the largest Japanese community outside Tokyo.

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