Where to Stay in São Paulo?
In a city as large as São Paulo, location is key.
If you are coming on business and will be too tired to do anything else, stay as close as possible to where you will be working. The most important convention centers are far from areas of major interest. If you stay at a hotel close to your business location, but plan on doing other things, it might pay to stay more centrally located.
Balance several factors
Will you be enjoying the nightlife?
If so, stay closer to the venues you have in mind. Remember you may resort to public transport by day, but not by night. Taxis are more expensive from 8pm to 6am, so it makes more sense to pay a lower fare long-ride by day and a higher fare short-ride by night (if you stay in a central location and take a cab to go to work) than the other way ‘round. For more info about transport in São Paulo, visit my Intro page.
Many people think of staying downtown - it's cheaper. True, and there are a few nice hotels. Yet, downtown is seedier, more run-down and more dangerous than, say, Jardins.
Stay close to you major interests.
I feel the best location in SP is Jardins (Cerqueira César), around Avenida Paulista. It is not as expensive as many think. There are hotels below R$100/night/single or double (such as Formule Consolação, Ibis Paulista), mid-priced hotels (such as Caesar Business) and far more expensive hotels, of course.
A good on-line guide is www.guia4rodas.com.br. Click on Cidades (Cities) > São Paulo (State) > São Paulo (Capital) > Hotéis, and select “ordem alfabética” (alphabetically) or “classificação do Guia Brasil” (star rating). It will display over 200 hotels in the city. You get good descriptions, rates, websites, see on a map, etc.
A good hotel chain to check is www.accorhotels.com. They manage several hotels in the city, all price ranges, including self-contained apartments - perfect for longer stays, or if you prefer to have the “home-away-from-home” feel. Longer-term: 1-month minimum
If you will stay for less than 1 year, renting through a regular realtor might not be convenient. Furnished apartments are more expensive that renting an empty apartment, and in Brazil, when you rent a flat, it does not come with appliances, such as the norm in other countries. Sometimes not even a light fixture. Also, most contracts are 1-year long, and if you terminate before you might be liable to a fine amounting, sometimes, to the whole contract term.
If you are looking for self-contained studio apartments, you might want to check, again, www.accorhotels.com, they manage several "Flat Service Hotels" in the city.
A local (and cheaper) company would be www.riema.com.br. They manage 6 FlatHotels in the city.
Price? For instance, their monthly rate for the Poeta Drummond Flat, almost in the heart of Jardins is approximately US$1,100, that including breakfast, taxes and local calls - less than US$40/day.
Do not forget that if you rent an apartment from a realtor, in addition to the rent per se, there will also be other charges (all embedded in FlatHotel rates): condominium maintenance, electricity, property tax and telephony. Not to mention you will probably need some furniturre/appliances. All in all, it may get more expensive - with much more trouble.