Upscale rooms and suites with marble bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and iHome docks
Deluxe Suites with spiral staircases and balconies
Central location one block from Paulista Avenue and close to a metro
Suite Dreams, a modern art installation in a Penthouse suite that can be reserved for parties
An upscale restaurant with an international menu and special Saturday meal; 24-hour room service
Vintage lobby bar with excellent cocktail program, named after Frank Sinatra, who once performed at the hotel
Updated fitness room, indoor heated pool, and a spa
A VIP lounge with free happy hour
Conference center with 38 rooms, accommodating up to 1000 people
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Helipad access for certain VIP guests (depending on room level)
Complaints of mildew odors
Room furniture and some bathroom fixtures need updates
Maksoud Plaza has been a well-known establishment in Sao Paulo for decades. This storied four-pearl hotel with 416 rooms and suites has a vibe that oscillates between vintage and, perhaps too often, dated. Nothing about the hotel is boring -- one-of-a-kind features include a vintage bar named after Frank Sinatra, an indoor pool, and a habitable art installation. While the history and grandeur might dazzle at first, the devil is in the details: carpets are worn, furniture is old-fashioned, bathrooms are overdue for updates. It’s true that some elements don’t live up to the upscale category, but when considering all the hotel offers at reasonable prices, the Maksoud becomes an appealing option with charm for days. A much more modern luxury alternative is the Tivoli Mofarrej -- but prices are higher.
A grand, historic hotel with vintage charm and a celebrity pedigree
The Maksoud Hotel first opened in 1979 and has become one of the most grand and storied buildings in the area, carrying a lot of history in its 37 years. Henry Maksoud was an architect and entrepreneur, and the Maksoud was his vision. In the hotel’s heyday, which seems to be centered around the 1980s, it was a place of glamour and buzz, a scene where artists and musicians mingled with politicians and businessmen. Frank Sinatra once crooned his world-famous tunes in the jazz club, a moment of history the hotel takes great pride in. In fact, the lobby bar is named Frank Bar in the singer’s honor. The hotel’s celebrity guest pedigree is deep, with names ranging from Margaret Thatcher to Chuck Berry to Axl Rose (who famously threw a chair at reporters in the lobby in 1992).
The grandeur of the space is evident in the atrium-style lobby, which opens up 22 floors to the sky above. Bringing an element of the outdoors in, the light in the lobby noticeably changes as the clouds pass in front of the sun. The natural light feeds one of the lobby's other notable features: hundreds of live plants hung from the balconies reaching up 22 floors. The hotel says that they have 1000 square meters of plants in the atrium. In the middle of the atrium a large modern sculpture floats and there are many notable artworks on display throughout the hotel, including a gold statue perched in the middle of the lobby fountain.
The Maksoud displays splendor and style on a grand scale, with a history to match. Though on a closer look, some of the evidence of yesteryear has lingered in the wrong places. Note the dated furniture, tired lighting, and worn carpets. With lots of brown marble, a mix contemporary and old pieces, and a business-focused clientele, the mood of the lobby can feel more formal and serious than light and carefree. But despite the uneven updates and aging furniture, the grandeur and charm of the hotel is evident. In fact, they don’t necessarily want to become modernized -- the hotel staff noted that they aim to maintain a traditional style and vintage vibe.
Centrally located one block from Paulista Avenue and near a Metro stop
Maksoud Plaza is conveniently located in one of the most sought-after areas of Sao Paulo, in the Bela Vista District and next to popular Jardins. It's situated just one block back from the bustling Paulista Avenue, a fashionable road known for it's many upscale shopping malls and dining and nightlife options. It's about a 10-minute walk from the Brigadeiro metro station, providing easy access to the city's public transit system. It's also just a short walk from the modern works at the Museum of Art Sao Paulo and the lush gardens of Trianon Park. Expect about a 25-minute drive to the Congonhas-Sao Paulo Airport.
Grand suites with marble bathrooms or apartments -- but some dated details
With 416 rooms in total, the Maksoud has several room categories on offer. All rooms include a refrigerated mini-bar, updated wood floors, flat-screen TVs, and other upscale features like free bottled water, robes, slippers, iHome speakers, and USB chargers next to the bed. All rooms have marble bathrooms with bathtubs, but for many there are older fixtures in the baths and some guests report issues with the water pressure.
The hotel has around 50 suites, which provide a more lavish experience. The Brasiliana Suites feature more than 700-square-feet of room, including a living room with a bar, large closets, a separate bath and shower. Some suites feature two full Carrara marble bathrooms with a shower in each. The Presidential and Penthouse Suites are located on the top floors of the hotel. The Penthouse Suites are arranged over two levels and feature a spiral staircase providing vintage vibes and balconies with sweeping views of the city. The second level includes a half bathroom, a desk, and a living room area. The first level has a second living area, a bedroom with a larger flat-screen TV, and a spacious Carrera marble bathroom. The Presidential Suites are the largest, featuring additional luxury details like a home theater, a crystal chandelier, modern art pieces, butler service, and a dining room that seats eight. Guests in the Brasiliana, Penthouse, or Presidential suites are allowed use of the hotel’s helipad (the number of take-offs and landings included depend on the suite level). The suites all include a welcome drink and access to the hotel’s VIP lounge.
In 2016, the hotel converted one of the Penthouse Suites into a living modern art installation created by local artist and photographer Philipe Morozini. The entire two-floor suite is decorated from floor to ceiling by the artist, and still functions as a hotel room. Titled Suite Dreams, the artist calls the work a “habitable installation.” When entering the suite, guests are given 3D glasses to help them experience the art, especially the neon signs. The first floor imparts a jungle-inspired theme that’s a play on the urban jungle, featuring large plants, a fountain, animal sounds, and jungle wallpaper. The bedroom, in stark contrast, has a minimalist style with all white furnishings. There are intimate phrases displayed around the suite, including “You are a little bit of me” on a wall and “I knew you existed” on a bathroom mirror. On the second level, a desk is outfitted with a number of security cameras, a commentary on modern surveillance and privacy. The mood of each of the bathrooms is set with colored neon lighting. This truly one-of-a-kind suite (which will be installed for an indefinite amount of time) can be reserved for private parties and events, or just for guests who want a completely unique and immersive overnight stay.
A vintage cocktail bar named after Frank Sinatra, upscale restaurant, heated indoor pool, and ample event space
Maksoud Plaza's most famous feature is the Frank Bar, a destination not just for hotel guests, but tourists and locals as well. It’s known for the vintage decor, featuring deep red leather bar stools and booths, and a prestigious cocktail program. The cocktail menu is a leather bound affair containing illustrations and stories about the drinks. A piano player or other live music often sets the scene for the bar and surrounding lobby.
The hotel has one restaurant,150 Maksoud, which serves an upscale international menu with European and American influence. The breakfast buffet provides a hearty assortment, and on Saturdays it hosts a traditional Brazilian family-style meal called feijoadíssima. Above the restaurant, there’s a VIP lounge, accessible depending on room level, with deep leather couches and a daily happy hour with drinks and snacks.
The hotel has an indoor heated pool in a solarium with a wave decoration on the ceiling. A few chairs are available for lounging in the sunny space. Next to the pool, the fitness room offers cardio machines and TVs. Nearby there’s a spa with a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, and rooms for massage services.
Reaching for two floors below the lobby, the hotel is home to a massive event and conference center, with 38 meeting spaces that can accommodate from 10 to 1000 people. The spaces include a ballroom and a 420-seat theater. The hotel also has a small business center, a helipad, and valet parking for a fee. Wi-Fi is free. Also located around the bustling lobby, there are a few small shops, including a hip men’s barber shop called Man Lab, a jewelry store, and a clothing boutique.