An $18 million Damien Hirst piece stands outside Miami’s hottest new hotel.
Why Go: The annual, four-day December Art Basel show only arrived in Miami in 2002. Yet it has forever changed the city—now more than ever before. Enter Alan Faena, an Argentine fashion designer turned cultural engineer, who took a forgotten warehouse district back home in Buenos Aires and reimagined it as a center for art and architecture. Here in America, Faena wanted the cultural energy of Art Basel to remain in Miami year-round, so he dreamed a $1 billion Faena District into reality. The four-block area straddles a mid-beach section of Collins Avenue that no one was talking about. Now, a sold-out condo tower crowned with a $60 million penthouse welcomed residents this fall, and Faena Hotel Miami Beach celebrates its grand opening December 21. Come fall 2016, the Rem Koolhaas–designed art and culture hub Faena Forum will open as the district’s crown jewel.
What to Expect: Expect to walk into a lobby, called the Cathedral, embellished with soaring ceilings, lines of golden columns, and storybook murals of tropical scenes. On the other side, you will see an $18 million Damien Hirst art piece—a mammoth’s skeleton, gilded in gold leaf and displayed inside a mammoth-sized glass vitrine. Among the 169 whimsical rooms (from $745), 111 are suites dressed in mid-century modern furniture designed by Faena himself. Red velvets accented by pops of turquoise, animal-print fabric, and gold accents keep the quarters warm and fun. A dinner theater will open soon with a show by Faena, and the Tierra Santa Healing House spa is ready, featuring a stunning hammam and products sourced in the South American rainforest. Dreamy large-scale public artworks continue in the Argentinean restaurant Los Fuegos at the Veranda and the modern Asian eatery Pao at the Dome. The whole place is truly a feast for the senses.
How to Get There: The drive from Miami International Airport is about 20 minutes without traffic. (faena.com)