Miami Beach is at the edge of arts and culture these days as a new luxury hotel anchors the best of art, architecture, fast-spinning lifestyle, stunning design and luxe hospitality in one extraordinary place.
The Faena Hotel Miami Beach opened in December, the work of Argentine visionary Alan Faena, who is reinventing Miami Beach lifestyle one block at a time.
The Faena Hotel Miami is the first concept to open in a $1billion, eight-block reinvention in Miami’s Beach’s Mid-Beach stretch. The future here includes theaters, art spaces, creative shopping, dining and learning spun together in an act of urban alchemy with the help of some of the era’s greatest architects, designers and forward thinkers.
Alan Faena is well-known for creating Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. Formerly a fashion designer, Faena expanded his core philosophies to create a center of lifestyle, art, fashion, cuisine and luxury hospitality in what had been a run down section of the Argentine capital. Today Puerto Madero is a thriving area of the metropolis and a magnet for art and culture in Latin America.
In Miami, Faena is once again playing magician in a micro world where every element has a meaning and a message, but at the same time serves as a backdrop for inspiration and fun. That world will be the Faena District — the embodiment of this concept that is playing out between 32nd and 36th streets and between Indian Creek and the Atlantic Ocean.
Fastening the District, the Faena Hotel Miami Beach spans three blocks along Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road. It opened in December, a dramatic mélange of mid-century glamour and Art Deco appeal, assisted through creative collaboration with film director and producer Baz Luhrmann and his wife, the production and costume designer Catherine Martin (the movie, The Great Gatsby). Their project: a top to bottom redesign of the Saxony Hotel, once the quarry of Rat Pack wonders Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. and a favorite camp for Marilyn Monroe. The circa 1948 property had many “wows” in its day – the first hotel in Miami Beach to have air conditioning, the most expensive property on the beach at that time in room design costs, a penthouse nightclub, an Olympic-sized pool, all-weather tennis courts. And the “wows” keep on coming.
The 169-room (containing 111 suites) Faena Hotel Miami Beach offers Miami’s only dedicated butler service on each floor for all accommodation options. It has a 22,000-square-foot Tierra Santa Healing House spa is a South American-inspired retreat featuring a wet spa with hamam and a menu of shaman-developed healing treatments.
A restaurant by South American chef Francis Mallmann, Los Fuegos, marks Mallmann’s only such venue in the U.S. and focuses on a menu of roasted meats and vegetables cooked in an open fire kitchen. A second restaurant by James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, Paul Qui, features the chef’s renowned brand of modern Asian cuisine.
A dedicated “experience manager” takes care of each guest from pre-arrival to departure. The hotel fronts 100,000 square feet of pristine beachfront. And then there is the Faena Theater, inspired by the grand opera houses of the world, offering live entertainment from concerts to musical revues.
Upon arriving at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, you’ll find the entry is not a lobby, but a cathedral or “place of reflection,” as Alan Faena has described it. The 18.5-foot ceilings with gilded columns make way for elaborate floor to ceiling murals painted by Argentine artist Juan Gatti. As you look out to the ocean through the wall of windows, on display is a piece by Damien Hirst — “Gone but Not Forgotten” — one of the many conversation-starting pieces of the property.
Rooms bring such touches as animal-print ottomans, coral-crusted lamps, precious jewelry storage created from shells of the sea, and plenty of luscious red velvet to contrast the cerulean hues of the ocean and sky.
It’s a strong introduction to the bigger picture, which is Faena District, scheduled for completion in 2017.
The concept of Faena District combines architecture powerhouses — Rem Koolhaas, Sir Norman Foster and Brandon Haw — in an collaboration to change the footprint of this once ignored section of Miami Beach.
Faena District Miami Beach will offer the Faena Forum among its compelling attractions as a new arts space that that will encourage conversations and collaborations across artistic, intellectual and geographic boundaries. The 50,000-square-foot forum space is the work of Rem Koolhaas/OMA. It’s an open space letting in the bright Miami sun, with walls and stages that are meant to be changed and adapted for concerts, dance performances, and gallery shows with easy flows between outside and in. Beyond the artistry of the architecture will be the lure of the performances: from full-length ballet to solo series by emerging dancers and musicians, to philosophical soliloquies by intellectuals and poets, to debates and interactive experiences within a theater of 300 or so seats.
Other concepts in the Faena District are the recently launched 18-story Foster + Partners-designed Faena House, a most prestigious residential tower and a showpiece on the beach skyline. Also significant to the complex: the Faena Bazaar, a Koolhaas-designed building that is a shopping destination, and Casa Claridge’s, a 50-room beachside guesthouse.
Casa Claridge’s keeps Miami’s roots in mind with much of its 1928 charm as it was when it opened El Paraiso Apartments. The hotel is steeped in Miami Beach’s early Spanish architecture and allows the Faena District plan to keep a core concept alive: to create a home as well as a hotel. Casa Claridge’s offers 50 guestroom and suites for guests that want a different kind of Miami Beach experience, combining art and leisure in an intimate residential atmosphere.
Faena Hotel is a member of Virtuoso with all-season rates starting at around $745, plus tax, per night.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.