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Faena Hotel

by Patricia Nugent

Faena Hotel

 florida, usa

In the heart of the famed Faena District, an enclave of art and opulence stretched along several beachside blocks on Collins Avenue, the hotel is a master class in sumptuous decadence. 

If you liked the highly stylized glamour and eclectic bohemian grandeur of the movie Moulin Rouge!, Faena Hotel Miami Beach is tailor-made for you.

Argentine modern art collector and real estate developer-turned-hotelier Alan Faena enlisted the help of the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann, and his wife, Academy Award-winning costume and set designer Catherine Martin, to lend the modern Art-Deco hotel its signature sense of style.

The expected barely there palette of turquoise and seashell pink seen throughout the Magic City is left in the wake here in favor of opulent red velvet furnishings, soaring golden columns and Argentinian murals flanking the lobby in an explosion of vibrant colors.

In the heart of the famed Faena District, an enclave of art and opulence stretched along several beachside blocks on Collins Avenue, the hotel is a master class in sumptuous decadence. No wonder it attracts a guest list of celebrities and international glitterati.

But first, a word about the woolly mammoth. Gilded in 24-karat gold and housed in a sealed glass display case by artist Damien Hirst, this exquisite nine-foot skeleton sculpture is named Gone but Not Forgotten. It may have been extinct for 65 million years or so, but the mammoth’s stunning presence presiding over a garden walkway connecting the hotel pool and beach is alive and well.

Onto the spa. Tucked away on the third floor, the 22,000-square-foot Tierra Santa Healing House offers a host of holistic therapies based on ancient healing rituals from around the world designed to awaken consciousness and restore well-being. Tierra Santa literally translates to “holy ground,” and that makes perfect sense when you behold its glorious hammam, one of the largest on the East Coast.

The Turkish bath ritual begins with a few luscious moments spent under a rushing waterfall before venturing onto the heated hexagonal gobek tasi platform carved from Amazonite stone, where the scrub therapies take place. At the platform’s center is a budding rose design that’s magically “watered” from intermittent “rain” falling from the ceiling.

Then you move to the herbal steam room for a deeply cleansing detox of blissfully calming eucalyptus. For an invigorating fire-and-ice experience, first hit the sauna, handcrafted from African Obeche wood and Canadian hemlock, then take a seat in the marble ice parlor to quick-cool the body, stimulating blood flow and metabolism.

One of the most popular signature body treatments is aptly named Tree of Life Vibrations. You begin by selecting your favorite aromatherapeutic essential oil. Then as you melt into a heated massage bed, sacred oils are slowly drizzled along your spine’s tension points, followed by a hot stone massage affecting the body’s symbolic “tree of life.” It starts at the roots—the lower back—then moves upward to the trunk and branches—your shoulders and neck. Sound therapy enhances the therapeutic effect with soulful and vibrational strains of Nepalese singing bowls soothing the system.

Those who like to carve their own path will enjoy the DIY bathing rituals at the spa’s Wet Bar, where you can choose from purifying scrubs (verbena, aloe vera, mimosa), healing clays (calendula, bentonite, aloe vera), or super nourishing oils and butters (sandalwood, lavender, eucalyptus, verbena). Luxurious steam rooms and sauna rooms round out the Wet Spa. faena.com

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