For long, Maksoud Plaza was the first 5-star landmark, the benchmark hotel, when talking about hospitality and sophistication in São Paulo. The hotel was the creation of Henry Maksoud, multi-talented entrepreneur, engineer, publisher, political activist, one of the Syrian-Lebanese Brazilian success stories and who at one particular point decided to begin lifting hotel standards in Latin America.
Of course, it takes time to get to know a great hotel. While my family and I lived in São Paulo, we had an apartment just across from the Maksoud. Of course, the apartment find had been a lucky break. Accordingly, the marvelous Maksoud lobby became the living room extension of our home, of our social area, a place to entertain, always at the ready, to meet with friends – during the day sometimes for a quick cafezinho and peeking at a newspaper which could be bought at a newsstand off the lobby as well. Happy Hour was another happy time at the Maksoud, to unwind, have a drink, enjoy some delicious petisco bites, especially socializing with friends who had come there for the same reasons. We’d pass the time inquiring about the kids, about work, talking current events, playing a hand of cards, keep the Happy Hour happy, including the petiscos (tapas) coming, the friendships going. Those were the days – and thanks very much to the Maksoud Plaza. At the time, sometimes, Henry Maksoud, the hotel creator, and his Filipina wife, could be seen off the lobby, mostly discretely rushing along, not to attract attention, on their way to private quarters…
If anything, the professionalism of any top hotel is in its staff… Saturday, Sunday lunch time, these Maksoud professionals - kitchen and service personnel - would become especially visible, preparing for one of the typical Brazilian culinary celebrations. The Café Brasserie Belavista, just left off the main lobby, would be set off for Feijoada, the improbable speciality of Brazilian cuisine. Why improbable? Because, simply, somehow, Feijoada dishes do not really come across as specialties for a tropical country. Nevertheless, Saturday, or was it Sunday, at lunch time, Feijoada, including all its various trimmings would be the one and only menu item at the Café Belavista. Feijoada can be had in many places in São Paulo, all over Brazil, but few places in São Paulo would prepare it with the professionalism, the care, the guaranteed high quality standards like at the Maksoud. Not every weekend, but sometimes, my wife and I, our little son back then, would show up for the eatery event as well. The Maksoud Feijoada would always be well attended. Many of the solid members of our neighborhood would show up in their Sunday best. Many Paulistas from all over town would neither miss out on these ample buffet style eating affairs. I forgot the exact price, but hardly outrageous. Unspoken, on these Feijoada occasions, the guests would be strictly of the Christian persuasion. Feijoada dishes are prepared on the basis of pork. Yes, some sirloin too, but mostly pork meat ingredients: ear, tail, feet and pork ribs, and again various pork-based sausages. Of course, not to be missed on those occasions, plenty of properly seasoned feijão preto, i.e., black beans... Drinks on those occasions: best some of the Brazilian beers, Brahma upfront, super frio, por favor...
What else to mention about Maksoud, of course, the hotel features many more cuisine choices, from pizzarias, to Italian, to Thai, to haute French cuisine. The hotel side itself was always practiced with the same fine professionalism, with meticulous attention to details. Rarely, or never a complaint from the many business visitors we lodged there over the years. The organ-like bank of spectacular glass-open elevators, independently zipping up and down off the lobby, at the time, would also be a sight by themselves. All the rooms I got to know over the years, mostly for business guests, were impeccable and generous. Long distance bookings could be expensive. Special deals were often available for locals.
A final Maksoud pleasure I’d like to single out was a weekly delicate delight, a Brazilian musical education, at the ground-floor bar off the lobby, one night a week. Mostly local musicians, playing string instruments, would play the wonderful sounds of São Paulo’s very own Chorinho music, always melodious, full of soul, the sad saudade sounds for which all Brazil is famous. When in São Paulo, the Maksoud Plaza Hotel is a must… It’s also easy to find, everybody knows it, just one street over from the famous, always busy Paulista Avenue.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As one of the most iconic hotels in São Paulo, Maksoud Plaza Hotel is quite simply the place to stay when visiting the city for business or leisure. Perfectly located just one block off of fashionable Avenida Paulista, steps from top businesses and the finest shopping and restaurants in the Bela Vista district, our hotel is a beacon of five-star luxury. Whether you are relaxing in our 416 exquisitely designed rooms or suites, unwinding in the heated indoor pool or savoring gourmet cuisine in our renowned restaurant, you will experience the epitome of elegance and sophistication. Guests arriving at Maksoud Plaza find themselves immersed in a rare union of art and architecture. The majestic Atrium Lobby is adorned with the works of world-famous artists yet the ambiance is warm, cozy and inviting. At every moment of your stay, you will enjoy the bespoke service and gracious hospitality that have set Maksoud Plaza as São Paulo's premier business and social hub for over 37 years. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maksoud Plaza Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Maksoud Plaza Hotel Sao Paulo