Casa Faena, Miami

An affordable foray into the flamboyant world of Faena.

Casa Faena is the little sister of the flamboyant oceanfront hotel Faena. It offers a taste of the glamorous world of Argentinian developer and hotelier Alan Faena, who first revived a run-down neighbourhood in Buenos Aires with a hotel, bars, restaurants and an arts centre and is currently doing the same to Miami’s eponymous Faena District.

The building itself is a joy. An eye-catching blend of Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival architecture with a perfectly symmetrical boxy white-and-red facade and fringed red awnings that shade the wrap-around veranda.

We arrived tired off a long-haul flight and immediately noticed the scent of Palo Santo that was blowing through the air conditioning system. Bright, helpful staff showed us to our room, which had a breezy coastal vibe with a white carved bedstead, frette linen, floral Argentinian blankets and antique rugs on terracotta tiles. The bathroom was slightly drab but clean with CO Bigelow toiletries. Note that not all rooms have been redecorated. Request a Casa King or Casa Queen to ensure you get a newly decorated room, or a King Suite for a terrace and ocean views.

The pretty Spanish villa has a private beach club, Mexican restaurant and an eclectic guest lounge stocked with books, objets d’art and games. The main draw here is that guests have access to the restaurants, events, spa and gym inside the five-star Faena over the road. The concierge can make hard-to-secure reservations at Faena’s signature restaurants; Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann and Pao by Paul Qui are some of the most highly sought after spots on the beach.

For those on a smaller budget (us), Casa Faena has Gitino. With outposts in Tulum and NYC, it’s an all-day dining space separated from the hotel lobby by lush plants with huge, glossy leaves. On the roof the so-called ‘jungle bar’ is a more laid back affair with shaded tipis, ocean views and ‘sunset sessions’ from 4pm.  The menu is contemporary Mexican – think crab tostadas, guacamole and crudités – and the cocktails are strong and good.

The hotel is part of the new Faena District, which includes the landmark Faena hotel, an art forum, theatre (which stages nightly cabaret dinner shows) and an expansive shopping bazaar. Wander across to the beach, the hotel’s private beach club (9am–6pm) has free towels, loungers and umbrellas for guests. Outside of these few ‘Faena’ blocks, it’s a 20-minute walk to the heart of South Beach and it takes about the same time in a taxi to get to Wynwood and the Design District. Miami airport is 25-minutes away by taxi.

For a small boutique, service – particularly the assistance of the concierge – is excellent. Staff are professional and anticipatory. Having a five-star sister property over the road certainly seems to elevate service standards here.

The bottom line

If you want to stay the quieter end of Miami Beach and like design on a budget, it’s a good option. I’d be tempted to book one of the more retro beachfront properties next time, though.

3500 Collins Ave, Miami Beach