Sao Paulo has accommodations to suit every backpack and briefcase—from inexpensive but grubby rooms in the downtown area to luxury suites in five-star hotels throughout the city. The least expensive hotels are in streets around Praca da Republica and in the area between Avenida Sao Joao and Estacao da Luz. The cheapest of all (not recommended) are near the bus stations. At night, these districts are seedy and can be dangerous. Quality accommodations can be found around Avenida Paulista, Jardins and the commercial and financial district on Avenida Engenheiro Luis Carlos Berrini, as well as in Itaim Bibi.
Because Sao Paulo is not strictly a tourist destination, normal holiday periods are considered the off-season, and accommodation availability depends more on economic activity within the city. For this reason, you can often get weekend bargains at good hotels when businesspeople have returned home. Even upscale hotels offer significant discounts during the off-season. Business winds down in December at the start of Brazil's summer holiday period, with a slump in activity until Carnival in February or March. The high season runs through the end of June—when business takes a backseat to another monthlong holiday period—and picks up again in August.
Hotels suited to business travelers recommend you book 10 days in advance, although 3-5 days is normally sufficient.
Remember that because of the city's enormous size, a hotel outside of the downtown area or its immediate environs may translate into a time-consuming commute if you're in town on business. The ideal for business visitors is a hotel within walking distance of whatever commercial or office center will be visited. This is true also given Sao Paulo's problematic traffic: Even short distances can sometimes take up to an hour or more to traverse.
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