Sampling ‘Sampa’, Three Perfect Days in São Paulo

As you swing through the gates of Palácio Tangará you enter a world of historic glamour enshrouded in fresh tropical gardens, an extraordinary contrast to São Paulo’s hot pulsating city centre.

From here you can drop in and out of the city’s creative slipstream, catching some highbrow culture, street beat art, haute couture and avant-garde fashion, returning to recoup your equilibrium by our pool, in the spa, gliding serenely through to an elegant evening.

Day 1 - Parks, architecture, art, Italian quarter then spa and chill

Forest, flora and fauna

After breakfast take a shady stroll through Burle Marx Park for a flavour of Brazil’s tropical forests. Burle Marx was Brazil’s most important landscape architect, known as a modern garden artist. The park is beautiful with rugged tangles of creepers in dense palms and ferns, and watery lakes with hints of muddied crocs below, in reality turtles. Look out for opossoms and white tufted marmosets.

The Glass House

A five minute drive from the hotel is the extraordinary Glass House designed and lived in by Lina Bo Bardi, trailblazing Italo-Brazilian architect, who designed the modernist structure for the São Paulo Museum of Art. Some of the surrounding rainforest still survives, encroaching upon the glass walls and gardens. Famously artists Gilbert & George spent a day at the Glass House as living sculptures.

World Class Galleries

Head to São Paulo centre and visit Bardi’s other architectural monument, the Museum of Art known as MASP on Paulista Avenue. It is a divisive brutalist construct in glass and concrete, to convey ‘lightness, transparency, and suspension’. MASP was originally curated by Bardi’s husband, and holds one of the world’s finest collections of European art from Goya to El Greco. An alternative would be Pinacoteca do Estado, with fabulous Brazilian artists, a little further across town.

Italian Quarter

Sampa is the 3rd largest city of Italians, and Bela Vista also known as Bixiga, is a concentration of all things Italian. Look up and there are billowing white sheets streaming from windows, people calling news to neighbours, while on the street intellectuals and artists exchange ideas. Stroll by small boutiques, lunch in one of the numerous Italian canteens or reserve a table at Speranza which has been serving pizza since 1958. The Sunday market on Dom Orione Square is a cornucopia of collectables.

Spa and revive

After the intensity of the centre of São Paulo, return to Palácio Tangará for some tranquility to restore your equilibrium. Relax by the pool watching cockatoos flit between the trees, drinking in the fresh air. Take a spa treatment as a couple, or alone, exclusive therapies are created by the only Sisley spa in Brazil. Return to your suite for a crushed iced juice on your terrace, overlooking tropical forest surrounds, before dressing for evening cocktails.

Champagne and history

Seated at our bar with a glass of champagne, consider the romantic origins of the palace. In the late 40’s the extraordinarily wealthy Italo-Brazilian, ‘Baby Pignatari’, was renowned for romancing glamorous women in the world’s most glamorous places, dispatching planeloads of flowers, diamond necklaces and demijohns of perfume. In one magnificently romantic gesture, Baby built Tangará for his beautiful wife Nelita Alves de Lima. Ultimately he couldn’t resist his playboy lifestyle and his wife and Tangará were abandoned, until the Oetker Collection revived the palace for our guests.

Evening elegance

Dinner is by candlelight, in delicious elegance, with views over the gardens and park through floor to ceiling French doors. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is thrilled to present his restaurant and first South American venture, in Palácio Tangará. He is inspired by the abundant local produce and cheerful lifestyle of Paulistas, and hopes to inspire diners likewise with his cuisine.


Jazz sounds lure you back to the bar, perhaps some classical guitar and soft singing in the bossa nova traditions popularized by João Gilberto. Freshen up with Brazilian favourites, a caipirinha or crushed juice, or mellow with a cognac.

Burle Marx Park

The Glass House by Lina Bo Bardi

The Museum of Art

Exterior Pool at Palácio Tangará

Restaurant at Palácio Tangará

Day 2 - Historic architecture, the Mercado, classical concert and São Paulo dining

Patio do Colégio

Mosteiro de Sao Bento

The Mercado Municipal

Starter by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Sala de Concerto São Paulo

The origins of the city

Start the day early downtown where São Paulo began, at Pateo do Collegio, this building is a reconstruction of the monastery built in 1554, after the arrival of a dozen intrepid Jesuit priests. Soon a village grew, then a city, as two centuries of explorers, bandeirantes and Portuguese colonists came and settled. Inside the museum is a small display of relics from the 16th century, and a peaceful courtyard café.

Theatro Municipal

Renowned for its eclectic style, the Theatro was built in 1911, inspired by the Paris opera house but its façade is a mélange of renaissance to art nouveau, and the interior is quite rococo with resplendent gold touches. The Theatro was the host for the transformative 1922 art exhibition that gave wings to the Brazillian art movement. Today it hosts the city ballet and symphonic orchestra.


Stroll across to the Mosteiro de São Bento, parts of which date to early 16th Century, see the beautiful stained glass windows from inside. This is the city’s main cathedral, the masses held have the most celestial Gregorian chants, though they are early in the day, and the monks host a legendary brunch if you happen to be there on the right Sunday.

Paulista food fanatics

The Mercado Municipal is the beating heart of ‘Sampa’s’ appetite for food. This is a magnificent cacophony of stalls brilliant with exotic fruit, colourful vegetables, wine and tasty pastries. The ceilings soar above ornate stone pillars and light spills through a 1940s stained glass window. Pull up a stool for a crushed fruit juice or challenge yourself to a typical snack, the towering mortadella sandwich or cod pastries.


Peace and calm is required, after this immersion in Paulista life. If you didn’t eat at the Mercado, return to Palácio Tangará for lunch, the menu includes many zesty salads by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and are delicious on a shady terrace, or by the pool.

Evening preparations

Beauty treatments in the Sisley spa, limbs are loosened, neck muscles are soothed, feet are revived and complexions are refreshed, preparing you beautifully for an evening of elegant entertainment.

São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra

An evening of music begins at Sala de Concerto São Paulo, where the moveable ceiling is designed to adapt by performances, giving the hall a worldwide reputation for extraordinary acoustics. The neoclassical building is interesting as it was originally a 1930s railway station. Today it is home for the highly regarded São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra.

São Paulo gastronomy

Paulista’s typically dine from 9pm so after the concert is ideal to get the city’s enthusiastic culinary vibe. Restaurants are an entertainment for Paulista’s who are hugely appreciative, driving their chefs to ever greater heights. São Paulo is home to one of the world’s Best Female Chefs, Brazilian Helena Rizzo, from the minimalist and original restaurant Maní, while Alex Atala’s D.O.M. was already voted fourth Best Restaurant in the World. Here is a huge community of Italian, Lebanese and Japanese, with absolutely superb cuisine from these countries. Paulista’s tend to dress up so this will be an elegant and entertaining evening.


For after dinner music Sampa is always open. Try the awarded Madeleine Jazz Bar which serves jazz in a charming environment of the best quality, or Casa de Francisca for local samba, Chorinho and bossa nova rhythms, and Baretto which has an A List of national and international attractions. For more adventurous, Jazz nos Fundos in the bohemian Vila Madalena.

Day 3 - Luxury shopping, boutiques, artisans and artists

Hip and haute-couture

The Jardins area has an air of Beverly Hills, where you can find luxury Brazilian designers who shine on the international catwalks such as Osklen, Melissa and Reinaldo Lourenço. The gleaming shopping malls, offer the best of national fashion and high-end global brands from Chanel to Louis Vuitton.

Sushi or SoHo

Lunch in the Jardins, perhaps Japanese, as there are numerous fabulous sushi restaurants in the area. Or head to Sampa’s more bohemian Vila Madalena, this is the ‘SoHo’ of the city. There are plenty of artisans and small eateries, such as Lá da Venda with handmade kitchenware and homemade fare.

Art and boutiques in Vila Madalena

Stroll the streets of Vila Madalena dropping into the art galleries, or Beco do Batman where the street art is an exhibition in itself, people come from far to see the graffiti. There are many little boutiques brimming with work by independent fashion designers and a tempting host of culinary artisans from cheese to beer.

Refresh and prepare to return

Back at Palácio Tangará you can hand over shopping to your butler to pack up with your luggage, then prepare for your journey with a pre-flight spa therapy, or a rest by the pool, to still the mind. An evening cocktail perhaps, a last glimpse of the forest in the fading light, and then into the limousine for your airport transfer. We hope you will always remember the energy of São Paulo and the elegant tranquility of Palácio Tangará, and return to us soon.

Mani Restaurant

Palácio Tangará

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