The Fasano

The reasons to love the Hotel Fasano are many. There are the blackout blinds that let you sleep in the middle of a Brazilian summer afternoon. Or the fact that the sleek minimalist rooms are never oppressively chic or impossibly modern but both simple and comfortable. Or the rainforest showers and the stacks and stacks of thick white towels. You can sit in the caramel leather club chairs in the lobby bar and sip a caipirinha and watch le tout São Paulo cavort. In the Trattoria, an amiable restaurant for breakfast and lunch, you'll probably run into somebody you know. At the serene rooftop pool, you thankfully won't.

The hotel is owned by São Paulo impresario Rogério Fasano, whose family has long been a restaurant powerhouse in the city, and not surprisingly, the dining room is sensational. Marble floors, polished surfaces that reflect light, ultra- deep booths—it's alluring, sexy, and very grand, a place you dress for, where you drink great wine. The food is Italian in the style of a fine Milanese restaurant, though there are menus that feature Ve- netian, Sardinian, and Piedmontese fare.

Unlike most boutique hotels, the Fasano is built up not out. The architect, Isay Weinfeld—who also did the store Clube Chocolate—put only a few of the 60 rooms on each floor, yet you never feel as if you're trapped in somebody's townhouse. (If I wanted to stay at somebody's house, I'd do it. There's nothing worse than coming to rest at a B&B pretending to be a hotel.) The Fasano is the best hotel in Latin America or, who knows, anywhere else. From $400 to $1,200. At 88 Vittoria Fasano; 55-11/3896-4000.