When I went to Mr Sharp's private home in Toronto, when I lived in Qatar, we discussed a Rio Four Seasons. However, Sao Paulo was the choice for the first Brazil Four Seasons in the end and GM Michael Schmid kindly offered me a complimentary stay, when I asked to try it.
I travelled overnight from Punta del Este, Uruguay to experience my first Four Seasons Executive Club Lounge; take a look at Barcelona-based Ignasi Monreal's book of paintings 'Four Seasons: The Art of Hospitality'; swim in my first negative edged indoor/outdoor swimming pool and encounter Four Seasons in Brazil.
It was a bit of a disappointed that, despite the effort I made to do this, Four Seasons Hotel Sao Paulo at Nacoes Unidas did not put much thought into the welcome amenities in my suite but the Brazilian owners of the property were visiting the hotel at the same time as me, so I guess the hotel was caught a little off guard.
Just as with Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, I have decided it is unfair to 'teddy score' the Sao Paulo Four Seasons at this early stage of its development. It is impressive that the 'spirit of Four Seasons' is firmly established in Brazil, after only two months, and the issues I encountered are just a feature of any new luxury hotel. I am confident they will be addressed very quickly.
An 'Epic' Journey with No WiFi
I was surprised that a small nondescript car had been sent to collect me from the airport. This reminded me of my stay at Four Seasons Beirut and reinforced my safety concerns about Sao Paulo.
The journey to the hotel, in this South American mega city, took almost two hours and there was no WiFi in the car. However, the driver spoke perfect English and entertained me with stories of London in the 1990s.
A Four Seasons Welcome
GM Michael & Patricia (who manages the Club Lounge) were waiting outside the hotel to welcome me. It was good to finally meet Michael, who explained the hotel had only been open for two months, and Patricia took me up to my suite.
My Four Seasons Executive Suite
My compact but elegant Four Seasons Executive Suite was smaller than I expected and I was disappointed that fruit & a card were the only welcome amenities left for me. The view of the messy back of a Shell garage was not very 'Four Seasons perfection' either. However, the a/c was set at 18.5, so someone had clearly read my Four Seasons' profile.
Patricia explained that my suite did not usually give assess to the Four Seasons Executive Club Lounge but invited me to try it later. I explained I had been unaware Four Seasons provided Club/Executive Lounges and she replied that Four Seasons Hong Kong were another one she knew about. I said that I did not think it was there when I stayed at that hotel.
Room Service & A Sleep But No Ice
I decided to order room service & try to sleep. I could not find how to indicate "do not disturb" and sent some laundry out, while waiting for the food.
The burger was fine but the Caesar salad bland, with tasteless chicken & the romaine lettuce a soggy mess and the ice requested was forgotten. The problems of a new hotel.
No "Do Not Disturb"
The bed was excellent but, as expected, I was woken by the efficient return of my laundry.
A Stunning Bathroom
Then I freshen up. The modern freestanding bath reminded me of Four Seasons Toronto & I loved the huge shower.
Given my Sofitel So Bangkok Christian Lacroix teddy bear Greta, it is a shame the hotel did not have his bath products yet. They are expected in January 2019.
My First Negative Edged Indoor/Outdoor Swimming Pool
The hotel's negative edged indoor/outdoor swimming pool is striking and I had it to myself. One of the advantages of Four Seasons' business hotels.
A Four Seasons Executive Lounge With A Better View
Next I experience my first Four Seasons Executive Club Lounge and took my first look at Barcelona-based Ignasi Monreal's book of paintings 'Four Seasons: The Art of Hospitality'. It was fun recognizing so many Four Seasons locations I have visited in this coffee table book but irritating there is no index to explain the paintings you are not sure about.
While the 12th floor view, & quality of the cold meat & cheese in the lounge at 'happy hour', were excellent there was no champagne and the range of spirits was very limited. Nothing like the Mandarin Oriental Taipei Executive Lounge and I understand the Club Lounge at Four Seasons Hong Kong offer champagne too.
Other guests appeared while I was there but when their choice of drink was not available (eg tequila) they left quickly.
The Lobby Bar
I last stayed in Sao Paulo in 2001, when I had a dreadful stay at The Sheraton. That evening in the bar extinguished all those 'unhappy memories' with perfect cocktails and knowledgable English speaking staff.
I drank perfect very dry Grey Goose martinis and 'lethal' caipirinhas. I first drank 'real caipirinhas' at El Fortin San Miguel with a Swedish friend and have rarely got drunk so quickly, on so little liquid.
A Good Night's Sleep
Having missed a night's sleep during the journey to Sao Paulo, it was a relief to get a very good night's sleep.
Breakfast in Neto: Staff Wanted to Know Why I Did Not Have a Brazilian Member of 'the Gang'
Given the small size of my suite, & after the breakfast buffet at Four Seasons Buenos Aires last year, I decided to go down for breakfast. Sao Paulo is a much more business focused hotel and my 'soft toy gang' caused some stares.
My Eggs Royale, with smoked salmon, were creamy salty perfect and staff asking if the hotel had given me anything Brazilian for my 'gang' brought a wry smile from me.
A Morning Swim & Some Time in the Pool
Following this it was another swim & before some time outside in the sun on the terrace by the pool.
Meeting with the General Manager
In the late morning I met GM Michael again. He explained 'do not disturb' can been indicated by pressing the maid service button more than once or by using a button by the bed but added that I was not the first customer to be confused and they need to make things clearer for exhausted guests.
We then talked about this Swiss guy's hotel career and I enjoyed being reminded of my stays at the excellent former Four Seasons Berlin & friendly Four Seasons Chicago.
I explained my Goldman Sachs Sao Paulo wedding story about armed guards & jewellery and Michael countered that Sao Paulo & Brazil had become safer but you still have to be sensible/careful.
Shopping in Sao Paulo
I then decided to head out for a walk & some shopping. The area outside the hotel in certainly not Mayfair but I was soon in a huge modern shopping mall full of monied office workers on their lunch breaks.
The queues to pay for things were huge and so I decided to leave my shopping for Rio the next day.
Housekeeping Deserve Praise
I got back to my suite to find it had been serviced. It is so nice to come back to a clean & tidy suite. I went for a last look at the view from the 12th floor Executive Club Lounge with a spring in my step.
A Last Cocktail
After checkout, where the staff were charming, I decided I had to have a 'last' caipirinha before leaving & admire the lobby 'botequim' (a Portuguese term for a meeting place or watering hole). Brazilian hotel Manager Raphael joined me for a brilliant Four Seasons chat.
He was such fun to swap stories with and has emailed me since to say he was unaware of www.sifrew.com before my visit but has been entertained by the Four Seasons stories it contains since.
The Long Journey Back
The journey back to the airport was just as long and in an unimpressive car with no WiFi again. However, the English speaking driver kept me amused and advised on a longer route where traffic moved. He claimed it was unwise to be stationary in traffic in Sao Paulo, which set my mind racing again!
My Tips:- use their stunning pool; enjoy an exceptional cocktail at the lobby bar; talk to the remarkable management team; try to see the view from the 12th floor Executive Club Lounge; and take a look at the new Four Seasons book.