The histories of Punta del Este and the Fasano hospitality empire are both fascinating cameos of the eclectic post-colonial landscape of Latin America. Much like its North American neighbor, it is a region that has been shaped and influenced by adventurers and those who packed up their culture, traditions and families and made the perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean in search of their dreams.
Punta del Este was founded in 1829 by Don Francisco Aguilar, described in official histories as a man of fortune, who sought to exploit the area’s bountiful natural resources. He oversaw a bewildering series of highly profitable business ventures in the area, including tobacco and potato plantations, a cattle ranch, silk farms, floor tile manufacturing and even whaling. By the time of his death 1843 he had reached the level of Senator after having had a number of successful terms as Mayor, in which he had established much of the municipal infrastructure of what has now become one of the premier coastal resorts in Latin America.
Punta del Este is a mecca for some of the most wealthy and privileged holiday makers in the world - its pristine beaches and temperate climate afford almost every conceivable water sport, from yachting to surfing, and attract sun-seekers in their thousands, year on year. Its fortuitous geography even offers two kinds of beach - Brava (with powerful surf for the adrenalin junkies) and Mansa (sedate and calm for those looking for pure relaxation). Its nightlife has grown with its visitors and their constantly evolving tastes, and now offers an array the most diverse and vibrant restaurants, bars and nightclubs imaginable.
Vittorio Fasano arrived in Brazil from Milan in 1902, and soon after opened Paulista, an Italian brasserie, on Antonio Prado Square in the elegant center of Sao Paolo. Through the course of the Twentieth Century, first Fasano and his son Ruggero, and then his grandson Fabrizo and great-grandson Rogério established the family name as the last word in elite dining in Brazil’s largest and wealthiest city. With Paulista and then a series of ever more chic and expensive venues, the family defined and redefined gastronomy and entertainment. In the 1960s, the fabulous Winter Garden played host to legendary performers such as Nat King Cole and illustrious guests such as David Niven, Marlene Dietrich, Ginger Rogers, HRH Prince of Wales, President Dwight Eisenhower and Fidel Castro. Operating five of the city’s most respected eateries, the family can be found at Sao Paulo’s gastronomical epicenter.
By 2003 , Rogério made the next logical step and imprinted the Fasano signature of classic styling and world class Italian cuisine onto the hotel business. Hotel Fasano is a $50 million hotel located in Sao Paolo’s most prestigious neighborhood, and recognized as one of the most desirable hospitality locations in the world.
No less than Philippe Starck, one of the brightest stars in the world of architecture and design, created the interiors for Fasano Rio de Janeiro, realizing a timelessly elegant 1950s and 60s style through the use of imported brickwork from England and marble beams from Italy.
Now these two stories of extraordinary pioneering success and luxury come together with the creation of Hotel Fasano Las Piedras, which marks both the Fasano’s first project outside Brazil and a new benchmark in Punta del Este’s already world class reputation in the hospitality industry. It is conveniently remote - located a few minutes’ drive from luxury outpost La Barra, which grew from a tiny fishing village in the 1940s into one of the most important and luxurious tourist sites in Punta del Este and therefore the sub-continent.
Las Piedras is a breathtaking reimagining of the sprawling former Braun ranch by Isay Weinfeld - the renowned architect behind Fasano Sao Paolo - and comprises twenty 650 square foot Deluxe Bungalows and twelve 1080 square foot Suite Bungalows. All afford glorious panoramic views of the spectacular setting, with the suites also featuring a luxuriously appointed dining area and living room. With an exquisitely simple interior design and generously appointed with 32 and 42 inch high definition televisions, fully compatible workstations, 300 thread count Egyptian cotton and goose down feather pillows, these self-contained luxury living units chime perfectly with the beautiful location and casually opulent atmosphere.
Boasting some of the complex's most breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery, the pool is hewn from the rocky landscape itself in a remarkable fusion with the hotel's natural setting. Due to open in 2012, an Arnold Palmer designed professional nine-hole golf course, will offer guests yet more opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural beauty all around.
The family has, of course, brought their history with them in the form of Fasano, the family’s first restaurant outside Brazil. Fasano is the product of over one hundred years of experience in creating and presenting exquisite Italian food in an atmosphere of effortlessly classic elegance and is situated in a beautiful natural setting sumptuously tailored to even the most exacting aesthete. In this both the restaurant and the hotel itself mark the next stage in a journey that Vittorio began a century ago - Fasano now not just a family but an international brand, a byword for style and luxury.
- Ben Stewart
Fasano Las Piedras
Address: Cno. Cerro Egusquiza y Paso del Barranco
La Barra, 20400
Punta del Este
Tel: 55 11 3896 4109 Reserve Online
Fasano Las Piedras, Punta del Este