Travel Weekly senior editor Mark Chesnut paid a visit to the
Hotel Inter-Continental Sao Paulo in Brazil. His report
ike so many other hotels around
the world, the Inter-Continental Sao Paulo experienced a downturn
Liane Galina, the hotel's director of sales, said that last year
was marked by shortened stays as well as a major decrease in
weekend occupancy. She added there also were a number of
cancellations immediately following the terrorist attacks in the
But Galina said she sees a brighter future for the 193-room
property, which relies on the U.S. for about 40% of its
The city's role as a business center, coupled with its potential
as a tourist destination, should help to ensure a growth in
arrivals, she noted.
Galina recently moved to Sao Paulo after working at the hotel's
sister property in Rio de Janeiro.
market has changed dramatically in Sao Paulo in the last decade,
according to Galina, who first worked in Sao Paulo in the
mid-1990s. Today, she said, hotels in the city must work harder for
"Things are getting more competitive. When I first came to Sao
Paulo, it was paradise [for hoteliers]," Galina said, noting that
in the mid-1990s, companies were expanding rapidly in the city, and
business travel was booming.
As the hotel industry lagged behind in meeting the demand, "we
had a great occupancy rate -- 94% or 95%," she recalled. Now, the
hotel industry has caught up with the demand.
Additional growth in Sao Paulo is in the works for Six
Continents, parent company of the Inter-Continental brand; the
company will open a 700-room Holiday Inn, the largest hotel in Sao
Paulo, next to the city's convention center in 2003.
It's no surprise that Sao Paulo's importance as a business hub
has increased. Not only is it the largest city in South America, it
is one of the world's largest metropolises and home to industries
including automotive manufacturing, banking, telecommunications,
software and e-commerce.
A spotlessly clean, upscale facility, the Inter-Continental is
well-positioned to compete with the other major players in the
city's hospitality market.
The hotel, which opened in 1996, has an enviable location, one
block from Paulista Avenue, the city's leading financial area. The
property also is 19 miles from Guarulhos Airport and four miles
from Congonhas, the domestic airport.
The 18-story hotel's guest rooms are equipped with cable
television, telephones, voice mail, a safe-deposit box, a minibar
and a work desk. Bathrooms offer health and beauty amenities as
well as touches such as a makeup mirror. All rooms except the
standard category feature a bathtub with a Jacuzzi and a separate
Floors 17 to 20 are Six Continents Club floors, where rooms have
additional amenities, such as an in-room fax/printer/copier. Club
floor guests also have access to a lounge for breakfast and
The hotel's outdoor swimming pool, which features a bar, is on
the rooftop of one of the floors. There are a sizable gym, a
business center and convention facilities, with 10 meetings and
The property's restaurant, Tarsila, is an upscale, gourmet
establishment with international cuisine that often features themed
nights with live entertainment.
The hotel also is in a good location for leisure travelers, as
it is within walking distance to restaurants in the Paulista Avenue
area, which are close to the city's metro system.
The Inter-Continental is a quick walk to the Museu de Arte de
Sao Paulo, the city's best-known art museum, which is housed in a
modern structure on Paulista Avenue.