October 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)International Focus BRAZIL

Land here: A helipad tops the 356-room São Paulo Staybridge Suites.
Land here: A helipad tops the 356-room São Paulo Staybridge Suites.

Rio, with five million inhabitants, ranks among the most beautiful cities on earth, with its miles of bustling beaches; São Paulo, with 13 million inhabitants, is Brazil’s workhorse and the largest business center in all of South America.

With an expanding economy and a grander international profile since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — known here as Lula — was elected president earlier this year, Brazil’s tourism and meeting sectors are enjoying new life. Recently, the Reis, Brazil’s currency, has remained stable, another reason this huge country is attracting renewed interest.

Rio de Janeiro
The Guggenheim Museum is coming to Rio. To open in 2006 or 2007, the facility will be on the Mauá Pier in the Cais do Porto area, the first step in the redevelopment of the city’s port zone. Plans call for most of the venue to be underwater. At press time, however, the project was being challenged in court, with those opposed arguing the museum’s $125 million in construction costs, to be paid for by the city, isn’t a smart use of public funds.

São Paulo
The 754-room Holiday Inn Anhembi is going up next to the Anhembi Exhibition Center (the largest such facility in Latin America). To open in January 2004, the 13-story property will have 12 meeting rooms.

Also in the works, with completion set for 2005, is the new 387,000-square-foot Anhembi Convention Center. When the facility is finished, renovations to the adjacent 581,000-square-foot exhibition center will begin.

The 356-suite São Paulo Staybridge Suites opened in July. The 31-story hotel — the first Staybridge Suites to be built outside of the United States — features a German beer garden, two Italian restaurants, a Japanese restaurant, six movie screens and six meeting rooms. A rooftop helipad affords easy access for VIPs along with fantastic views of the dramatic São Paulo skyline.

Expected to open in early 2004, the 310-room Sonesta Hotel São Paulo Ibirapuera will be the chain’s first Brazilian property. In the city’s Moema district, the 18-story hotel will include 4,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and a business center. SuperClubs, generally known for its fun-in-the-sun resorts, will manage the hotel.

Last fall saw the opening of the 27-story Hilton São Paulo Morumbi. Hilton’s Latin American flagship hotel, the $90 million property has 485 rooms, including 80 club rooms on the top five floors. Other facilities include a spa and 13,000 square feet of meeting space. The city’s World Trade Center, next door, offers another 50,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 415-room Holiday Inn Select Jaraguá was fully renovated and reopened in July. Dating from 1954, the property was purchased last year by the InterContinental Hotels Group. A 50,000-square-foot area behind the building has been earmarked for a conference center. Currently, the hotel has 18,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 2,800 people, including an auditorium for 370. A 600-seat restaurant also is on site.

• By Lori Cioffi IMAGE
Lisbon’s 194-room Pestana Carlton Palace Hotel, formerly the Palácio Valle Flor, opened last year. The main building, a national monument, was restored to its grand 19th-century ambience, and two wings were added to house the guest rooms. The property has 15 meeting rooms, a fitness center, formal gardens and an outdoor pool. (011) 351-291-209100; www.pestana.com Back to Newsline
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