The Faena District Transforms Miami’s Mid-Beach

Puerto Madero, the once-downtrodden docks district that has become one of Buenos Aires’ hottest neighborhoods, put Alan Faena on the new-urbanism map. That success story led to others around Argentina, but Faena’s most ambitious project to date is blossoming like a perfect red rose in Miami Beach.

“Gone but not Forgotten” by Damien Hirst commands attention in the Faena hotel’s outdoor space.

The Faena District, composed of a luxury hotel, residences, a cultural forum, and a shopping “bazaar” designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Rem Koolhaas, and a collaborative and experimental arts program, is literally transforming Mid-Beach. Though hotels and residences go up almost daily in Miami, a project of this scope—and careful detail—is groundbreaking in the area between 32nd and 36th streets. It’s a story that goes beyond luxury to embrace authentic arts experiences and cultural inclusiveness.

While portions of the district are still being phased in, the hotel has opened to raves. Here are our top three reasons to check in now:

The Tierra Santa Healing House lounge. (Photo by Nik Koenig)

1. The Tierra Santa Healing House is a spa, but its healing rituals put it on a whole new level. Inspired by the shamanic traditions of South America, treatments like Tree of Life Vibrations and The Sacred Warrior offer deep relaxation and mind-body alignment.

The hammam at Tierra Santa.

A must: Palo Santo & Sound Bowls, which combines Palo Santo body oil with seven sound bowls selected by a shaman. The bowls’ vibration and sound awaken and tune the body’s natural frequencies.

Los Fuegos outdoor dining. (Photo by Nik Koenig)
Shamanic ritual bowls.

2. The Faena hotel, whose visual narrative was conceived by filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and costume designer Catherine Martin, is a true work of art.

Luxe textures and a bold red palette define the rooms and suites. (Photo by Nik Koenig)
“Gnosis,” one of eight lobby murals by Juan Gatti.

Spaces make subtle nods to Art Deco but the details are all twenty-first century. Red velvet, lush embroidery, and tiger prints don’t exactly say “coastal cool,” but they do coalesce into a sumptuous amalgam. Art is a major part of the aesthetic. Works by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons get a lot of attention, but the most impressive is arguably Juan Gatti’s series of monumental murals in the lobby.

3. The cultural heart of Faena District, Faena Forum opens this month. Located across the street from the hotel, the Forum is the centerpiece of Faena’s vision for Miami Beach’s cultural renaissance. The Forum will feature an intriguing processional with artists and thought leaders from around the world. One of the first performances, Conga Irreversible by Cuban art collective Los Carpinteros, will feature choreography to conga music played in reverse.

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Faena Forum promises to redefine Miami’s cultural scene. (Copyright OMA)

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