Fasano Boa Vista in Porto Feliz, Brazil

Fleeing the Concrete Jungle of São Paulo

December 3, 2018

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

Lounge chairs by the pool at Fasano Boa Vista in Porto Feliz, Brazil Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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.

A common area at Fasano Boa Vista Photo by Hideaway Report editor

After minimal paperwork, we were escorted to our duplex suite. On the first floor, its living area came with an accent wall of natural brick, wooden floors topped with white rag rugs, a huge L-shaped white sofa and a round dining table. Floor-to-ceiling windows led out to a private terrace with two wooden armchairs with white cushions, a fireplace and a view over a swath of lawn to a dramatic crimson bougainvillea hedge, the lake and a patchwork of verdant farmland. Upstairs, we found a king-size bed with a quilted cream headboard, a long wooden desk, abundant hanging space and an extremely spacious travertine-clad bath, divided into wet and dry areas by a half-wall. The sizable tub filled quickly, and water from the ceiling-mounted shower descended with gratifying force. Overall, our accommodations were exceptionally spacious, serene and the embodiment of sophisticated comfort.

We decided to take lunch on the terrace outside the principal Boa Vista Restaurant, at a table overlooking the lake. The menu offered Italian comfort dishes with Brazilian inflections, and we opted for a caprese salad, followed by a fillet of hake, served with jumbo shrimp and a citrus sauce. The food was well-prepared and the service was prompt, but most of the dining room staff — in contrast to those on reception — seemed to speak very little English. We began to suspect the resort’s clientele to be overwhelmingly Brazilian, with Americans a comparative rarity. This was later confirmed by a staff member taking us on a tour of the spa, who explained that the property is invariably full from Friday to Monday, when people seek a weekend escape from São Paulo, and relatively empty on other days.

Hake with shrimp from Fasano Boa Vista Photo by Hideaway Report editor

As the chief aim of our stay was relaxation, we ignored the 18-hole golf course and the equestrian center, preferring instead to laze for an entire day beside a magnificent horizon pool. An extensive pool bar menu made it unnecessary to leave — my salmon tartare was outstanding, but the grilled sole was overcooked — and the service was consistently friendly and attentive.

We left the Fasano Boa Vista feeling thoroughly rested and eager to begin our travels. The resort would also be an ideal place to relax for two or three days at the end of a tiring South American itinerary.

- Hotel at a Glance -

Fasano Boa Vista    93Andrew Harper Bird


The tranquil atmosphere; the huge, exceptionally well-appointed accommodations; the two wonderful horizon pools.


Many staff members speak little English

Good to Know

The resort is significantly closer to central São Paulo than it is to the international airport.

Rates: Deluxe Room, $415; Editor’s Choice: Suite, $680
Address: Rodovia Castello Branco KM 102.5, S/N
Telephone: (55) 15-3261-9900

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By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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