For $39, I found the Mercure São Paulo Nacoes Unidas to be an ideal “lounge” for my day-long layover in Brazil’s most populous city.
Mercure São Paulo Nacoes Unidas Review
I arrived into Guarulhos (GRU) airport at 7:55AM and had the whole day ahead of me before my 11:10PM flight from Viracopos (VCP). As far as I know, there is no arrivals lounge at GRU and currently there is no departure lounges at VCP, so I knew I needed a day room at a hotel in order to stay productive.
First, I reached out to the Grand Hyatt, but they wanted the prevailing overnight rate, which was close to $100. Now that’s not bad in the big scheme of things, but two considerations ran through my mind: 1.) I didn’t need breakfast since I ate it on the plane and 2.) I didn’t want a place to sleep, just to work.
While searching for hotels, I saw the Mercure São Paulo Nacoes Unidas (United Nations) pop up since it was so close to the Hyatt. While not in a part of town I really needed to be in (I probably should have looked to Pinheiros to get better coffee and food options), the hotel was very highly rated on online travel sites, looked clean, had a pool, sauna, and fitness center, and most importantly, cost only $39.
I had Orbitz Orbucks that were expiring, which I hate to use on Hyatts since you often do not get stay credit when booking with a consolidator, so I figured this would be a reasonable space to spend my day, working and working out ahead of my late-evening departure.
From GRU, I took an Uber to the hotel (about $20), which only took about an hour (pretty decent considering I was departing during the morning rush hour).
Now came the big question: would I be able to check-in early?
Even though the hotel was technically (I think?) in the same business district as the Grand Hyatt, the neighborhood felt a bit more rough.
Thankfully, I had no trouble checking in early and was even invited to breakfast, located in a dining room adjacent to the lobby.
I was assigned room 712 on the 7th floor. A sign on my door indicated the room had been sanitized.
My room had two twin beds…which I booked because it was $15 cheaper than a king room. I did not even plan to nap, but even if I did, I can sleep in a twin bed just fine.
The refrigerator was sealed and contained a minibar inside with snacks on top, though I did not see a price list.
I spent most of the day at the desk in the room and was quite productive. Internet was not lightening fast, but sufficient for me to upload photos for the blog and conduct calls on Teams and Skype. I forgot my electrical adapter (rookie move, I even have one that permanently stays inside my bag but took a different bag on this short trip), but thankfully the hotel had one that I could use.
The restroom was very small, and included a shower but no tub.
Interesting trash can…
At about 10:00AM I did head downstairs for some coffee and to check out breakfast. I wasn’t hungry, but enjoyed a decent espresso and saw that the breakfast spread included:
(Quite honestly, it did not look appetizing or particularly fresh. The signs were only in Portuguese, so it was not clear if you could order eggs or any hot dishes from the back.)
Fitness Center + Sauna + Pool
The sauna was closed due to COVID-19, something the hotel website did not mention and that was quite disappointing. I question whether the sauna really had to close as it was open at the Grand Hyatt down the street when I stayed there.
The rooftop pool was small and more for wading than for swimming.
Here’s a view from the rooftop:
The fitness center was also located on the top level and included a single strength training machine but mostly cardiovascular equipment (treadmills plus bike).
Café Next Door
Next door to the hotel was a little café where I stopped for coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice in the evening. What. A. Mistake. The orange juice was just fine (but why put ice in it?), but the cappuccino was powdered and very sugary. Oh well…
Just in case my flight was cancelled or delayed, I did not check out – I just left the hotel around 8:00PM to make the 100km journey to VCP. This hotel provided what I needed: a quiet, comfortable place to work. For the price I paid, I really have no complaints.