Alan Faena doesn’t do things halfway. The pioneering Argentinian hotelier didn’t just open a hotel in Buenos Aires — he transformed a piece of abandoned waterfront real estate into a glamorous urban destination, turning a once-derelict neighborhood into a thriving arts district. And now he’s brought the Faena brand to Miami Beach. It’s a place that, of course, doesn’t require the same kind of vision or transformation. This part of Miami is well-developed, to say the least. But in some ways the Faena Hotel Miami Beach is an even more ambitious project. That’s because Faena, just as he did in Buenos Aires, isn’t just opening a hotel: he’s taking over the neighborhood.
The Faena District occupies an eight-block stretch of prime oceanfront real estate. There are condominium towers, a high-end design bazaar, and a cultural center, but for the moment, the knock-out highlight is the newly opened hotel. Faena enlisted a dream team of designers, including architect Rem Koolhaas, to bring his fantasies to life, and the result is fanciful indeed. The grand entryway, nicknamed “the cathedral,” features gold-leaf ceilings, intricate mosaic floors, and a series of gargantuan murals by the Argentine artist Juan Gatti, plus a massive glass wall revealing views of the sea beyond. Upstairs, guest rooms and suites evoke Miami’s glamorous Art Deco past. It’s all curving lines, jewel tones, and retro-inspired decor, with luxe amenities and a distinctly Faena twist: bespoke bed linens made in Italy, Carrara marble bathrooms, and private butlers to attend to your every need. Suites have freestanding bathtubs, opulent dining rooms, and balconies with ocean views and plush furnishings.
Trust us, the Faena Miami Beach is the kind of place where you’ll want to allocate some time for hanging out by the pool. But if you’re in need of some beautifying treatments before you hit that particular scene, there’s Tierra Santa, the hotel’s lavish spa, purportedly the first in Miami that’s inspired by South American traditions. Elsewhere, the sumptuous dining and drinking venues at Faena Hotel Miami Beach are destinations on their own. There’s Pao by Paul Qui, serving in the chef’s signature modern Asian cuisine in a moody, low-lit space with half-moon leather booths and a glimmering unicorn sculpture presiding high over the room. And there’s the more casual Veranda, an idea place to sip cocktails while gazing at the ocean or people-watching by the pool. But perhaps the most hotly anticipated restaurant is Los Fuegos, by the visionary Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann. Keep an eye on this space: if Faena’s achievements in Buenos Aires are any indication, the hotel is just the tip of the iceberg.
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