Every hotel should have an Apothecary, not for medicinal purposes but for the smile it brings to your face. Back in São Paulo, you sure need a reason for smile after your flight arrives from Lima 15 minutes ahead of schedule but then you have to wait 45 minutes (I repeat 45 minutes) for buses to take everyone from your full flight to the terminal.
But the gal recovered quickly, and the driver from Grand Hyatt São Paulo was waiting and soon she was in room 2131, a corner suite, slightly retro in a delightfully comfy sort of way.
I knew from my last visit that this is the kind of luxury hotel that you sink into, so to speak. So comfortable – as well as being well located and so well run – that during the week all its 466 rooms are generally taken. One hundred per cent.
At weekends, of course, the business travellers have left, and locals move in, for the spa and generally to be pampered. From 2131, you look out at the Pinheiros river and a complicated bridge that looks almost Santiago Calatrava in design.
According to this month’s Travel+Leisure this is the ideal hotel for pleasurable business travel, and the room is full of those pleasures. The bathtub has a television in the wall at its foot. The big glass-walled shower sensibly has plenty of towels right there, in the shower.
Everywhere, it seems, there are boxes of different soaps, all from Granado, the local company that also runs the Apothecary down in the lobby.
Everything from Granado is made with oils from natural Amazonian fruits, herbs and roots. Look around the rooms, too, and you see you have a six-seat dining table.
There are several jars of sweets, and a full bar setup, and a Nespresso machine. And you have lots of fresh flowers, and little cactus things, and a standing palm tree. You actually could live in here, very easily.
But of course you are not going to live here, entirely. You have work to do, but you need to have pleasure, too. Think of it as one or the other, but the gym – Technogym – is open 24 hours, and, daytime only, there is an indoor pool and a spa that is so busy you definitely need to reserve.
Brazilians are arguably the world’s most body-conscious people anywhere and they know that working out, and being pampered, is a necessary part of luxury lifestyle. Eating is, too, so head for Eau.
This a French brasserie with a difference, reached via a outdoor walkway with decorative pools in which six full-size palms appear to grow. Chef Laurent Hervé offers everything from cold cuts through to Hereford steak, from Argentina, and all 122 seats are generally filled right until the restaurant’s last orders, at 23:00 (São Paulo operates 24/7, it seems).
Tonight, he sent out cheeses and rough artisan bread, as starters. Some of us then went on to local foie gras, served as cold terrine, but I went for a cocotte of organic vegetables tossed in truffle oil, following it with a local milk-fed veal tenderloin.
The fries are more like English chips, the chunky kind (though of course Hervé lists them on the menu as ‘chunky French chips’).
With a French General Manager, Thierry Guillot, who started his career as a chef, you can be sure you will eat well here. Sure enough, the Club floor breakfast, on the 20th floor, has masses of fruits, and assortments of yoghurts, and coffee made direct from a big Nespresso machine.
There is a private boardroom next door, for Club-room guests to hold private meetings. With pleasure.
Amazingly, the moment I was due to leave, I saw a bellman outside the door of 2131 ‘waiting for your bags’. Wow, does that ever happen in the USA (if so, please let me know)?
And when I got down to the lobby, and made a last trip to the Granado Apothecary, there was M Guillot to see me off, personally. This is the way to do business, with pleasure – as it always is, here.