Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Tivoli Sao Paulo Moffarej

A colleague of ours recently stayed at the Tivoli Sao Paulo (not comped, by the way), and here's her report:

I'm happy to report that the experience was just as I remembered it—excellent service, great location, in a city where five-star distinctions can sometimes be debated (and I'm being nice about that--you need to do your research in Sao Paulo!).

In Sao Paulo, your hotel location is even more important than in other major cities, because a difference of two blocks can leave you in an entirely different environment. It might not be as walkable or it might not be as fun for children, so choosing a well-recommended hotel is of paramount importance.

With security concerns in mind, I find locations close to the “main drag” of Avenida Paulista more enjoyable for a general tourist trip to S.P. . . . you are close to everything, and you can take a stroll and shop without feeling like you are sticking out in a crowd. There are several parks near the hotel as well, and while room service is always a big part of the hotel experience, I would recommend venturing out to dine as much as you can: there are tons of great restaurants in the neighborhood, plus cafes and interesting fresh juice stops. There's also a metro station right around the block from the hotel, and the MASP—the Museum of Art, Sao Paulo.

If you can swing it, get a room with a view on a higher floor. No matter where you stay in Sao Paulo, you'll find that being up and away from the street is the way to go. There's less noise, less pollution, and you can feel more comfortable opening the windows wide during the day. While the area is very nice, I also recommend double-checking on whether or not your room is renovated... some are more up-to-date than others, and if you're paying the rates, get the best.

I was told that the gym at the Tivoli is one of its strongest points, and experts were right. While some people don't like to work out during their vacation, it's another part of the experience that you won't forget. Some of the best views and best hotel memories I've had were in hotels like the Tivoli, where the gym has a bird's eye view of the city and very up-to-date equipment. (Check and check.) The Tivoli gym is also frequented by upscale city residents, to give you a good idea of just how popular it is.

While I didn't get to stay in the Presidential Suite, I've heard that is positively palatial—one of the biggest in South America, even. The entire 22nd floor makes up the suite and includes three bedrooms, a private fitness center, a private kitchen, and a huge living/dining space that's actually larger than the hotel lobby. Don't worry, the Classic and Collection rooms are great, too.

My only problem? That the time went by faster than I would have liked! I've run into issues from time to time where I simply don't want to leave: that was definitely the case this time. I felt like time spent outside the hotel was time wasted when there was something great waiting back on Alameda Santos. But if that's my biggest complaint, then the Tivoli Sao Paulo is doing its job.

Find out more about the Tivoli Sao Paulo Moffarej here at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The London NYC

Another month, another hotel stay! This time, I was lucky enough to swing by The London NYC, where I’ve actually stayed in the past (November 2008). It was good to be back -- if you like a hotel enough in a certain city, why not come back after a few years and see how it’s changed?

In the "Big Apple" on business, I was looking for something centrally located to do some interviews and have meetings. The London NYC, while ideally positioned for a tourist, is also an excellent place to hold court for client meetings. The downstairs restaurant is a dream; the rooms are high above the streets and away from the hustle and bustle of New York that can disturb even a deep slumber if you’re not far enough away. Service is excellent, and if you want to feel glamorous? This is the place to be.

First, the setting: The London NYC is considered one of New York’s “best-situated hotels,” and you can feel that from the second you arrive. The city throbs around it, and while located on a quieter section of street, you simply turn the corner and you are in the middle of it all. You’re just blocks away from MoMA, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Carnegie Hall and Central Park, for starters, and midtown Manhattan sets you squarely between downtown and uptown pursuits--the perfect place to be for business or pleasure.

While modern and perfectly renovated (the hotel was redone in 2006), it's not so modern or futuristic that one feels overwhelmed in its presence. The 561 Suites have fun, large windows that leave you feeling like you’re looking out of a fishbowl into a wild world--you’re in an undisturbed bubble that’s perfect for napping, working, or just recharging before a night out. I loved staying close to the windows and watching what was going on around me--The London NYC has a fun street view without the noise.

And if you want to eat while you’re in New York and at The London NYC? You’ve got to visit Gordon Ramsay’s spot, MAZE, which is called “casual yet sophisticated” by the hotel. There’s an in-suite dining menu and an exclusive Chef’s Table, and it’s been ranked for service, food, and “best experience overall” by The London Bar offers breakfast and traditional afternoon tea in addition to Ramsay’s MAZE lunches, dinners, and brunches, so you don’t have an excuse to not swing by and have a bite. Who knows? It could be the best experience you have in New York--Gordon Ramsay’s been awarded a total of 16 stars from the Michelin Guide!

I've also created a cheat sheet list of all my favorite features of The London, so you can just scan and book. My mini-list of favorites follow:

1. "The BEST Concierge Service," as voted by New York Magazine (and confirmed by me)
2. Top chef in residence, described above, and great dining options in general
3. A tucked-away feel while still being center of the action
4. Attention to detail regarding design and renovation
5. Exceptional suites with interesting views
6. Fantastic decor and comfortable beds
7. Perfect work areas
8. Exclusive Complimentary Perks

What hotels have you tried in New York City?