Over the past decade, Miami Beach has experienced a hotel renaissance as one mid-century modern beauty after another has been revamped and re-envisioned. The former Saxony Hotel was one of the beach’s first luxury resorts and often called the “Queen of Collins Avenue” in the 1950s and 60s when Hollywood icons like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe came to perform. With the help of The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann and costume designer Catherine Martin, the 169-room Faena Hotel Miami Beach is once again a reigning star on the city’s hotel scene.
What You Need to Know
While some of the swanky hotels lining South Beach still maintain Miami’s signature all-white design palette, Faena Hotel Miami Beach is the exact opposite, proving that vivid red and animal prints are anything but tacky. Rooms are spacious (ranging from 464 square feet to over 14,500) and feature custom, Art Deco-style furniture; red velvet curtains and couches; and gorgeous, blue tile- and Carrera marble-lined bathrooms. While the restaurants and common spaces feel more theatrical (like something off a film set), the rooms are vibrant, yet subdued, and feature a mix of ocean and bay views. Leopard pillows and zebra footstools make for eye-catching accents that seem perfectly at home alongside the rich, wooden furniture and gilded objets d’art. Balconies are furnished, which make them an inviting place to sit and sip a glass of Champagne while watching the waves roll in. The Tierra Santa Healing House—what’s said to be the first South American-inspired spa in the country—is behind the bath products, and the 22,000-square-foot spa with its hammam (one of the largest on the East Coast) and shaman-developed treatments are enough to bring anyone back to the hotel when they’re in need of some holistic healing.
Since opening five years ago, Faena Miami Beach hasn’t lost its intrigue with jetsetters and celebrities. Visitors still stroll through to see the statement Damien Hirst 24-karat gold wooly mammoth sculpture in the courtyard or to take selfies in the gold leaf column-lined lobby dubbed “The Cathedral.” It’s definitely a place to see and be seen (people are usually dressed up, so don’t be afraid to go all-out), and while the restaurants draw hotel guests and tourists, the 1950s-inspired Living Room bar caters more to locals who start or end their night over live music and splurge-worthy craft cocktails. Since its debut, Faena has also been a popular host for indulgent parties and multi-course dinners during the annual Art Basel festivities.
Who Will Love It
Faena attracts a mix of well-heeled couples (of all ages) and families, who take advantage of amenities like babysitting and the Faena Play kids classes, where the little ones can take part in activities from oceanfront soccer games to pastry lessons.
Who Might Not
If you’re looking for an intimate property on the beach, head further south. While not a megaresort like neighboring hotels, Faena Miami Beach still very much has a resort feel thanks to multiple, star-studded restaurants and bars, a theater, and as a spa—which is a destination in itself.
Those who would rather avoid the flashy nightclub crowd but still indulge in Miami’s glitz and glamour will find exactly what they’re looking for at Faena. Start with a Faena Spritz on one of the tiger print-clad couches at the Living Room before taking your pick of celeb chef-led eateries: Los Fuegos By Francis Mallmann (grilled mains start at $38) and Pao by Paul Qui, where dishes like fried chicken with roasted banana ketchup ($18) and smoked shortrib asado ($65) marry flavors from across Asia, Spain and France with modern, fine-dining touches.
Some rates include breakfast and flexible cancellation. The $39.90 nightly resort fee is one of the best values you’ll find on the beach, since it includes access to the spa and oceanfront fitness center; chaise lounges, umbrella and towel service at Faena pool and beach; in-room and property-wide WiFi; first-come, first-serve access to the house car; and a hotel art tour on appointment.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Valet here, like most of the big hotels lining Miami Beach, is steep. Overnight is $55, or $35 (plus tax) for day visitors.
How to Get a Deal
If you don’t mind braving a storm or two, stay during off-season in the summer months, when rates drop to about $400 a night. Florida and Georgia residents can also save up to 20 percent off the best available rate, in addition to a $50 resort credit, daily breakfast for two, complimentary valet parking and a waived resort fee.
In the Neighborhood
The hotel was one of the first attractions at the Faena District, an arts-focused area that stretches along Collins Avenue from 32nd to 36th streets. In addition to the hotel’s 150-seat cabaret, there’s event space Faena Forum and the Faena Bazaar, which hosts guest galleries, artist chats and trunk shows. You’re also not far from the pastel-hued Art Deco buildings on iconic Ocean Drive.
The hotel is 12 miles from Miami International Airport (MIA) and only about 20 minutes by car (without traffic, that is). From the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), where a number of budget carriers fly into, it’s about a 40-minute trip. A ride share from MIA starts around $20. Time your flight to avoid the peak traffic hours (around 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.).
Nearest Public Transit
One of the easiest ways to get around Miami Beach is by trolley—a free service that runs every 15 minutes. Both the Collins Express and Middle Beach Loop trolleys make a stop at Collins Avenue and 31st street, one block south of the hotel.
The Bottom Line
A beachside location with some of Miami’s buzziest bars, restaurants and even art, Faena is the kind of place we all dream of when we envision a modern Miami experience with flash (gold leaf, chandeliers, endless animal print) and sophistication.