HH Review: Fabulously Faena

Step into Miami's most over-the-top hotel, Faena Miami Beach, and get a sense of Argentinian entrepreneur Alan Faena's high-minded vision and artistry. This stunning locale is set on Collins Avenue and 32nd street, and makes up the hotel portion of the one of a kind Faena Arts District—a complex of entertainment, arts and residential housing that includes Faena House, Faena Forum and Faena Residences.

After a warm greeting from the bell staff, you won’t stumble into an average lobby… nor will you see a front desk. Instead, you’ll find a sweeping "Cathedral" lobby lined with gold-leafed columns and mystical floor to ceiling murals of lush tropical scenery. Despite the obvious modernism, the retro-glam aesthetic reminds you that the building does have some history. Built in 1948, the structure was once the Saxony Hotel, but was later gutted and transformed into the masterpiece it is today.

Check in with the front-office agents is a personalized experience; they tend to you one-on-one while you take a seat in one of two mahogany desks in the library. Walk past the Cathedral into the courtyard and there, you’ll find the famed $18M Damien Hirst gilded wooly mammoth structure—just another reminder that Faena is anything but subtle.

We were guided to our stunning oceanview suite, adorned in Faena’s characteristic red and teal accents, with neutral woods, white walls and gorgeous bathrooms with gold and marble detailing. A little reminder of the brains behind the design, you’ll see Alan Faena’s signature feathered fedora embroidered into every pillow case. Our suite had a spacious living room and a balcony, and the bathroom was outfitted with a top-of-the-line TOTO toilet with a heated seat and an electronically-controlled bidet. Want to make plans for dinner? You can summon the butler with the touch of a button, or use the bedside iPad to book your reservation. At Faena Miami Beach, everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips.

If you’re not planning an overnight stay, the dining and entertainment options alone are worth the trip. Faena Miami Beach is home to Chef Table star Francis Mallmann’s own Argentinian-tinged Los Fuegos restaurant, where we enjoyed a peaceful breakfast overlooking the pool or live-fire cooking at lunch or dinner. For a nightcap, visit the exclusive Saxony Bar or Living Room, both of which will surprise the eye with bold animal prints and wild designs.

James Beard Award-winning chef, Paul Qui, brings bold Filipino flavors to his latest restaurant concept, Pao by Paul Qui, another Faena Miami Beach restaurant. The opulent oceanfront venue is imbued with whimsical décor, including Damien Hirst’s infamous golden unicorn sculpture, and boasts a globally-inspired Asian menu of crudos, charcoal-grilled meats, signature Filipino rice dishes and large plates to share. The tuna belly crudo melts in your mouth, and is especially delicious when paired with a delicate sake to cleanse the palate. The whole branzino is cooked in traditional Filipino spices like garlic, chili, lemongrass and shrimp paste, served over a bed of garlic-ginger rice, and garnished with cilantro and lightly-sautéed peppers. The sommelier guided our beverage experience with an array of champagne, sake, and bold red wines (the wine list is phenomenal) to pair with our five-course meal.

For a stunning night of music and theater, you'll want to book a spot at Faena Theater. C’est Rouge (the burlesque show) and Magique are absolutely stunning. Both electrifying and sexy, you'll surely leave Faena theater in awe. While at the interactive performance, we noshed on tartare and croquettas, and sipped dirty martinis. After the show, we stopped by the Living Room for a night of lounging, disco tunes and some of the best people-watching that Miami has to offer.

From five-star butler service and world-renowned dining options, to a state-of-the-art “healing” spa and dazzling designs, Faena is truly a work of art. A lavish representation of the glamour and fantasy that is Miami, Faena Miami Beach is unlike any other hotel in South Florida. If you’re looking for the best in dining, entertainment and customer service, Faena won’t just exceed your expectations—it’ll amaze you.