When we launched Luxury Latin America in 2008 we took our time getting to Brazil because there wasn’t much of a luxury travel infrastructure there. One of the first hotels we did review was Hotel Unique in Sao Paulo. It was one of the true standouts then and it’s still one of the best in the country today.
I wish we could say there’s been an explosion of high-end hotels in Brazil like we’ve seen in Argentina, Chile, and Peru, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Despite the World Cup and the Olympics, South America’s biggest country is still woefully short on world class lodging. That means Hotel Unique is still unique, offering boldness and flair that keep it standing apart.
The carefully curated furniture that has been placed in the lobby asserts itself with crisp angles, demanding colors, and unexpected forms. Staff buzz around in smart uniforms designed by Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch. I saw staff in two different versions of the one each day of my stay. Many staff members speak strong English (not always a given, even in Sao Paulo) and after six months on the job, sales and service staff stay in the hotel as guests to help them better understand service from a guest’s point of view.
The hotel architect and designer werem’t afraid to make bold moves throughout, including the rooftop swimming pool (one of two on site). Instead of the traditional blue tiles or paint it is lined with reflective red tiles, making it look like the pool is filled with a light red wine. Underwater speakers keep the party going even when you’re swimming laps.
The rooms aren’t as flashy as the common spaces and aren’t as airy, but the ten suites are certainly impressive if you’re willing to upgrade. The top choice is the presidential Oasis Suite, with 3,360 square feet and a panoramic skyline view. Oh, and a private elevator.
Regardless of your choice, each room is well-equipped, including a jetted tub and bath pillow, Nespresso coffee maker, Bulgari amenities, and a pair of white Havaianas flip flops in your size.
As is typical for Brazil, attentive service is not the strong point once you get beyond the front desk, but Hotel Unique does better than most in the city at competing on a level comparable to the top hotels in neighboring countries. (With a reported 3,000 security cameras in the hotel, ensuring your safety seems to be a bigger concern.)
When we first reviewed this property it was just a few years old, so we’re glad to see it is still wowing jaded guests and looking fresh more than ten years after its debut.
See more photos and our detailed review of Hotel Unique in Sao Paulo, Brazil.