“When we re-open we will have a new outdoor restaurant, surrounded by lush forest that attracts multi-colored toucans,” says Celso David do Valle, GM of Palácio Tangará São Paulo.
The six-floor Palácio, Oetker Collection’s 150-room palace set in the 27-acre Burle Marx Park in São Paulo, Brazil, looks heritage but in fact only dates back to 1998, and it officially opened May 2017. Several months before virus-closure on 24 March 2020, David do Valle already had the idea of monetizing one of its 62,000-square-foot patios.
“Before, the space had a fountain, and some lounge seating, but no revenue activity. People sat looking around at the gorgeous trees in the park, and birds that include at least two varieties of vividly colored toucans. Now we will make Pateo do Palácio, as it will be called, into a real attraction for local people, hotel guests and passers-by and encourage staycations.”
São Paulo’s daytime traffic is, well, terrible, so it makes sense for Paulistas, as locals are called, to head for the Palácio for an evening, and perhaps stay over. Usually, anyway, up to 70% of restaurant and bar business is Paulista. In addition to the hotel’s ongoing Michelin-starred and international-casual restaurants, plus bars, David do Valle is 100% confident Pateo do Palácio will be a big draw.
“We have brought in eight jabuticaba — Brazilian grape — trees, in pots and about 12 feet tall, and shade will also come from different sizes of umbrellas. There will be a total of 90 seats, set out in groups of two, four or six, but they can easily be moved to accommodate the parties of 12 or more that are so typically Brazilian (we are all family people). We tend to eat late, so the Pateo will operate from breakfast through to midnight,” explained this Brazilian hotelier.
Pateo do Palácio will serve Mediterranean-chic food. Servers will have taupe aprons with leather neck and waist ties, and the GM is thinking of pairing these with panama hats, white shirts and black pants. There is still a little time to finalize details as the entire hotel will, he said, speaking from São Paulo on 12 July, most probably re-open in September.
Currently his total 272-strong team is, apart from a skeleton core of 30 providing engineering, maintenance and security, furloughed, on 30% of salary plus 20% government support. “HR updates everyone twice a week, and on two occasions the entire team has had to come in to sign physically for that government support.”
Celso wistfully admits he should have given more time to his own passions, led by playing his saxophone, during lockdown.
“I have honestly been too busy planning ahead. We will have lots of outdoor activities, personal trainers in the park and things like that. Brazilians are obsessed with keeping fit and we will have even more tempting offers than before.”
Yesterday he signed a partnership with South America’s signature Albert Einstein Hospital, only three miles from the hotel. “They will be supervising our new-look safety and hygiene regulations. We will be able to add that as yet another reason to come to stay, in the palace in the park that offers toucans to entertain as you dine under Brazilian grape trees.”