The Faena – Miami

My previous posts on the Faena Empire and the sophisticated theatre, C’est Rouge! and one of their star performers Irina Kazakova, didn’t include a review of the hotel or the spa.

Travel Mantra: a hotel for each and every client – this is not your ordinary Miami hotel, I would recommend to very specific clients. Imagine if you collaborate with Baz Luhrmann and his wife Catherine Martin as creative consultants; Catherine, an Academy Award winning designer. Imagine grand theatre, imagine a contemporary art filled property, jazzy soundtracks, a Cathedral arrival foyer studded with shimmering gold-leaf columns and surrounded by dramatic neo-romantic floor to ceiling frescoes painted by Spanish artist Juan Gatti…and that is just the entrance. Happily, there are small velvet covered settees to catch your fall as you strain and bend to take in the amazing Cathedral entrance. The walls echo a story, of course, as Alan Faena is The Most Contemporary Storyteller – Gatti’s story revolves around a Journey of love, science and nature.

At every corner, hallway, restaurant and outdoor terrace, be prepared to be wowed, dazzled and inspired by spectacular artistic design. From the Cathedral foyer gaze out to the shimmering blue sea, your view is interrupted by a 10,000 year old woolly mammoth skeleton dipped in 24karat gold – a Damien Hirst sculpture entitled “Gone But Not Forgotten,” encased in a larger-than-life temperature controlled glass box. Faena Hotel is not designed for the timid traveler!

The over-the-top Living Room Lounge is furnished in opulent and silky claret and tiger patterned prints with a breathtaking gold chandelier. Dinner upstairs at Pao is managed by James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui. The Pan-Asian cuisine is served at glammy candlelit tables directly below another spectacular painted bronze and gold leaf Damien Hirst unicorn sculpture, Golden Myth. Inspired dining, inspired interiors.

Los Fuegos Francis Mallmann Death by Steak!

Glamorous dining at Los Fuegos Faena Hotel

The Faena is an inspirational foodie centric destination. My favorite Argentine chef, Francis Mallmann hosts his first U.S. restaurant here, Los Fuegos. Mallman is the legendary asado grill master who made his fame in Latin America. My son & I made mecca visits in Buenos Aires and Mendoza to his temples of asado – he texted me while I was dining: send me photos! My enormous rib eye with chimichurri was easily the most scrumptious cut of meat I’ve ever tasted, sandwiched by the Mallmann famous square cut potatoes, it was a bit much, but a couple of glasses of fine Malbec kept me alive!

The 169 rooms and suites (plus 13 penthouse residences) continue the visual delights; the aesthetic flair is echoed in each and every detail. Colorful, bright and bold artistic visuals – permeated by ruby red accents, most rooms contain small terraces. I would opt for the rarely viewed Penthouses, which are cavernous and could easily host a raft of friends.

Lounge at the glamorous Art-Deco pool topped by colorful red & white striped umbrellas, or pad out to the beach and be spoiled by the hotel beach guardians who provide sun cream and fruit infused chilled water.

Did I mention the spa? Separate post coming – oh my! How could this hotel hotel get any more decadent? Think Shaman spiritual spa advisor!

The Faena Hotel, Miami

Outrageous opulence with no apologies at the Faena – it’s fun and festive and flamboyant!


Travel Tribe – Soul Food

I once told a magazine writer I’m certain I was born with the DNA of a gypsy. For my 8th grade graduation, I coveted a small leather suitcase – at that age I never went further than my best friend’s house 4 blocks away or maybe to my grandparent’s home that was only 15 miles away. My parents surprised me with a hard-sided, stitched blue suitcase, lined in silky pale blue satin; a small lock and a gold key on a narrow blue ribbon guaranteed the safety of my valuables! I treasured it for my overnight getaways.Journal and postcardsHigh school graduation yielded a trifecta prezzie: a full set of luggage, including a ladies leather travel cosmetic case. I didn’t have an itinerary, in my heart, I knew adventure lay beyond the very small town of Ojai where I spent my childhood.

The Avant-Garde artist and potter Beatrice Wood lived in Ojai; as a young girl, I was mesmerized by her stacks of shimmering wrist bangles, enormous ethnic silver necklaces and riotously decorated costumes –a mysterious bohemian gypsy – she truly represented uncharted territory – a different realm, somewhere far from the little burb of Ojai. Had I known she had spent time with Duchamp and lived in Paris, I might have worked up a petite bit of pluck and uttered a few words to her; but sometimes mystery is better than reality, don’t you sometimes find that to be true about people you meet?MOMA MANTravel creates a teaching environment, we learn, we are challenged; I find travel the absolute essential antidote to everyday routines. When I pack my suitcase, I am usually completely pre-occupied with all the tasks that must be accomplished before I can escape.The  ever-growing list of must do prior to departure creates some stress; slowly each item is crossed off. Lock the gates and off to the airport. On arrival at the airport lounge, I let out a sigh of relief and let the pure sense of excitement wash over me.

My comfortable routines are banished and the anticipation of a new far off destination begins to sink in. Fresh vistas, foreign languages, interesting foods, curious customs, and people in indigenous dress – seeing places I’ve never seen before. A pleasing adventure of searching new locales for client travel, the pursuit never gets old.New Mexico enroute to taosThere are times certainly that the luxury of my soft little pillow is missed, the paradox of travel – the comfy reminders of home – while enjoying the adventure at hand. Certainly the brave seafaring explorers in tall masted ships, civilizations crossing boundless lands and seas to explore new countryside felt the tug of home. The spark of curiosity about uncharted territory overruled the dilemma experienced by all civilizations that left their comfort zones to search the world.

Travel means edging out of your habitat, traversing new pathways, being alive in an unknown place, a Journey. Mexico City Blue House“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” ~Charles Horton CooleyIstanbulFeed Your Soul…Where and When is Your Next Journey?