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Always 10 steps ahead, Sao Paulo is a world away from the lilting sleepy samba rhythm of the rest of Brazil.  Latin America’s fastest growing metropolis has as much rev as a formula one track: a money rolling, souped up, stiletto strutting, hair flicking hive of a skyscraper city on the rapid rise. With little else to do but spend money as fast as it earns it, Sao Paulo buzzes like London in its consumerist heyday and sparklers flash like fireworks in expensive nightclubs as a carousel of magnums are carried across the dance floor. Ostentatious you cry? Well maybe, but with the world economy in ever more dire straits, where else can you party like a race car driver?

As Formula One fever once again grips Latin America’s sleekest city ahead of this week’s Grand Prix, we pick our slickest spots for a weekend off the track.

 1.Where to stay-The latest offering from Brazilian hospitality mogul Rogerio Fasano lies in the rolling hills outside Sao Paulo and is a mere 20 minute hop by helicopter from the centre (anyone who’s anyone travels by chopper, darling).  Fasano Boa Vista has fast become the exclusive weekend retreat for Brazilian moguls and the international jet set who catch the breeze over sundowners under the Sibipiruna trees at the 1930’s vintage rail-road wagon, the golf bar that sits on the first tee of Randall Thompson’s 18-hole course.  The 39 rooms, Italian restaurant and vintage games room are encircled by sleek verandas that look out over a breath-taking horizon and run down to the fresh water lake, specially treated for swimming in the late afternoon sun. Other highlights include the signature pool, equestrian centre, tennis courts, vintage horse-drawn carriages and 6 helipads.

2. Where to eat- The task of choosing where to eat in Sao Paulo can be as delightful and as overwhelming as selecting which racing team to drive for, such is the wealth of innovative, interesting restaurants and superbly constructed food. As tough as it may be to break away from the old favourites (Figuera Rubyiat for a long Sunday lunch under the fig tree and Alex Attal’s D.O.M for serious Italian), our pick of a late night weekend haunt that is guaranteed to be packed to the chandelier encrusted rafters with Paulista fashionistas and their artist boyfriends, head to Lorena 1989 for shaded corners lit by gothic candles and some of the city’s  tastiest food.

3. Where to shop-  Daslu, once cited as one of the world’s ultimate designer destinations and a mecca for supermodel girlfriends looking for some serious retail therapy, tripped over some tax issues a few years back and is now a shadow of its former self.  For the hippest high range Brazilian designers hit Oscar Freire (the Bond Street of Sao Paulo) to snap up deconstructed design pieces by Osklen and then head up the side streets to explore an endless web of independent boutiques and design havens.

4. Where to get your culture fix- Driven by the economic boom, Sao Paulo’s cultural scene has taken flight, with an ever increasing number of independent spaces springing up in artists’ studios to rival the more traditional galleries and experimental warehouses.  Our current favourite is street artist Baixo Ribero who runs Choque Cultura, a gallery and cutting edge urban design collective in a small townhouse in Pinheiros- try and catch him when he is throwing one of his impromptu parties when he will take you aside to give his personal insight into the developing scene.

5.Where to party- To celebrate a big win on the race track, start with champagne at Skype bar on top of the Unique Hotel for unparalleled views across the sky-line.  While the less adventurous may wish to call it a night and risk the security teams wrath by wallowing around in the roof top pool (red by the way), next stop is the playboys favourite D.I.S.C.O to bling it up with a hefty quantity of champagne sparklers, by which time you may be just about ready for D’Edge (voted one of the world’s top ten clubs, it hosts the best international djs who spin tracks to tiny led lights that pulse in time to the music) before finishing the evening off at Love Story (the final after hours club famed for mixing famous playboys with local gangsters and supermodels with ladies of the night).  Just your average night out in Sao Paulo then.

Contact Dehouche for our VIP package for the Grand Prix as well as our inside track on how to make the most out of a weekend in Sao Paulo.

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