IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE RICHNESS OF FAENA HOTEL’S CULTURE AND SINK INTO RED AND GOLD-LADEN OPULENCE.
The Cathedral at Faena PHOTO: BY NIK KOENIG/COURTESY OF FAENA MIAMI BEACH
Miami is lauded for its over-the-top extravagance—synonymous with glitz and glamour, white sandy beaches and unrivaled nightlife. However, in recent years, the city has transformed into so much more than that, and no destination truly embodies or delivers this lifestyle as elegantly and uniquely as the five-star Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Brought to Miami by visionary Alan Faena in 2015, the Argentinian-born district—complete with hotel, residences, spa, theater, award-winning restaurants, retail and event spaces—sets itself a level above the expectations of a luxury destination, placing emphasis not only on lush accommodations, pristine beaches and decadent epicurean delights but also on its vast cultural and arts programming, entertainment and wellness offerings.
Living room area of Tierra Santa Healing House. PHOTO: BY NIK KOENIG/COURTESY OF FAENA MIAMI BEACH
As I walk through the grand entrance of the Faena, I’m greeted with striking gold columns that lead straight ahead to the hotel’s patio, pool and beach area, centered around its emblematic Damien Hirst golden mammoth structure. Its walls are adorned with intricate, handpainted, colorful animal and floral designs, immediately transporting guests to the enticingly exotic world of the Faena utopia. No need or want is left unattended as its attentive staff whisks me up to my hotel room, which overlooks the turquoise blue waters of the beach as the sounds of melodic live music thrum from the lobby bar below. The striking hotel room stuns in a bold red and white color palette with delicate golden fixtures and a state-of-the-art bathroom, which features irresistible rainfall showers.
Faena Theater PHOTO: BY IVAN BELASTEGUI/COURTESY OF FAENA MIAMI BEACH
As the clock strikes seven, I head down to dinner at one of the property’s three signature restaurants, Los Fuegos, Francis Mallmann’s award-winning eatery that centers around South American live-fire cooking—paying homage to Faena’s Argentinian roots. In a breathtakingly romantic setting that boasts the Faena’s signature deep red hues juxtaposed with cheetah animal prints and jaw-dropping grand chandeliers from above, Los Fuegos offers the best of both worlds—five-star cuisine in an intoxicating setting, complete with live music from the adjacent bar, the Living Room.
The staff is both educated and deeply passionate about the menu, guiding us through the standout menu items. Landing on a selection that samples the vast technique of Mallmann’s craft, we begin the culinary exploration with the signature beets al rescoldo carpaccio—a tongue-tantalizing amalgamation of flavors with roasted beets, pistachio yogurt, arugula, shallot vinaigrette and garlic chips. The scallop special of the day is up next, presented gorgeously in a giant shell and dressed in a mouthwatering butter sauce that complements the perfect, medium-rare shellfish. Mallmann’s beef tenderloin Milanesa is the standout of the evening, the chef’s personal take on the steakhouse favorite, served grilled as opposed to fried and complemented by a poached egg atop crispy boulangere potatoes.
Aerial view of Faena’s pool and beach setup. PHOTO BY PETER JACKSON/COURTESY OF FAENA MIAMI BEACH
Following an extraordinary meal, we’re whisked off to the Faena Theater’s current show, Tryst Cabaret. The bold, red cabaret theater is one of the city’s most noteworthy locations—distinguishable with its jaw-dropping golf-leaf chandelier, rich red curtains and European grand opera-style decor. Achieving the ability to be both grand and intimate, the glamorous setting serves as the perfect atmosphere to delight in the astounding talent and risque performances of the shows, combining cirque nouveau, live music and engaging acts that pull the audience in from start to finish.
The following day, we’re treated to uninterrupted bliss, starting with the Tierra Santa Healing House spa’s masaje de coco and a reinvigorating hammam session, followed by sunbathing on the beach. Lounging underneath the hotel’s eye-catching red-and-white-striped umbrellas, the cordial staff ensures the experience is nothing less than serene. Passing by with frozen grapes, fresh water and delicious food and beverage offerings, guests are able to slip into the luxury of true vacation living without a want or care in the world.
Nearby, I hear a fellow guest turn to his wife and comment, “You know what I love about this place? There’s no nonsense. Whatever you want, you get, no questions asked. It doesn’t get better than that.” I couldn’t agree more. 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, @faena