Arty Faena District
Amid Miami’s honed-and-toned, bikini-clad good looks, it can be hard to stand out. But with its come-hiFlorida ther, red-and-white façade, Casa Faena isn’t short of attention. Assured of her attributes, she stands on the shores of Mid-Beach, fanned by swaying palms. The man on her Florida arm is Argentinian hotelier and developer Alan Faena, who first transformed the tired docklands of his hometown Buenos Aires, with a hotel, arts centre, bars and restaurants, and has since been doing the same to Miami’s eponymous Faena District. Casa Faena is an integral part of the whole concept, with a Latin-influenced restaurant, wrap-around veranda and blushingly beautiful pink-and-white rooms, proving there’s substance behind this casa’s striking Spanish exterior. When she passes by, Florida Florida you can’t help but look.
Need to know
38, including 10 suites.
Noon; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £112.95 ($154), including tax at 14 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $14.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates exclude Continental breakfast (US$15 each). Hot à la carte dishes such as eggs, chorizo, home fries and frittata can be ordered from US$12.
An airy inner courtyard with curved rattan chairs, sculptural plants and luxurious rugs, the Living Room hosts sought-after events, particularly during Art Basel.
At the hotel
Private beach club, lounge, library, veranda, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, tea and coffee-making facilities, CO Bigelow toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
With their ornately carved beds, Argentinian textiles, antique carpets and restful soaking tubs, Casa Queen rooms make a cosy retreat after long days at the beach; ask for one on the top floor. Oceanfront California King rooms are the most spacious, with views of the Atlantic and balconies or patios where you can savour the breeze. All rooms are airy and elegant, with crisp Frette linens, blush-pink curtains and cool terracotta floors.
Casa Faena encourages artists, writers and photographers to use its spaces for creative work, so bring a sketchbook to blend in with the crowd.
Casa Queen and Casa King rooms are accessible for wheelchair users.
Pooches are welcome, with no extra charge. The hotel can provide free dog beds, small chew toys and bowls, as well as food and water for US$10 a day. See more pet-friendly hotels in Miami.
All ages are welcome. A roll-out bed is provided for little ones at no extra charge (except in the Casa Queen rooms). High chairs and a children’s menu are available in the restaurant and the hotel can organise babysitting from US$20 an hour.
Food and Drink
Make the most of the fresh air from a spot on the sun-basked terrace.
Breezy does it: sandals, maxi dresses and boho cover-ups.
Tucked behind luscious plants and carved wooden screens, Café Faena serves fresh, flavoursome food in a laid-back setting. The menu has a South American spin, with Wagyu beef empanadas and Ecuadorian-style ceviche, served up alongside Floridian classics of Key lime pie. The adjoining veranda with its red-and-white parasols and chairs, makes for a romantic backdrop, day or night.
The bijou central bar is a handy spot for a pre-dinner cocktail: pair a zingy blood orange and basil margarita with some tantalising tapas (truffled arancini, chorizo sliders) for a very happy hour indeed.
Breakfast is served 7am–11am, lunch noon–3pm, dinner 5pm–10pm.
A pared-down restaurant menu is available in room from 7am to 10pm.
3500 Collins Avenue
Set a block back from the beach, just minutes from the historic Art Deco district, Casa Faena is at the heart of the Mid-Beach action on Collins Avenue.
Miami airport is a 25-minute drive away. Flat-rate taxi transfers cost US$33. The airport is an international hub, with flights from London, New York and various other American cities. Additional flights operate into Fort Lauderdale International Airport, a 40-minute drive away. Contact the Smith24 team to arrange flights or transfers.
Roads can be congested in Miami and the hotel’s central location means you don’t need a car to explore the area, but hiring one is the best way to explore the Keys or the northern suburbs. Valet parking is available for US$55 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
In the heart of up-and-coming Mid-Beach, Casa Faena represents the starting point of the Faena District – an ambitious project of hotels, shops and cultural spaces, conceived by the hotel’s eponymous co-owner, Alan Faena. Amble down to the Atlantic to sample Miami’s beach scene: the hotel’s private beach club (9am–6pm) has free towels and chairs for guests, as well as umbrellas and cabañas for rent. A cab ride or gentle stroll away, buzzing South Beach beckons. Browse quirky boutiques on pedestrian Lincoln Road, take in a performance by the Miami City Ballet or visit Oolite Arts, a thriving hub for local artists. Another major cultural draw is The Bass, Miami Beach’s Sixties-era contemporary art gallery, that’s recently relaunched with double the exhibition space, thanks to a sweeping transformation by architects Arata Florida Isozaki and David Gauld. For an open-air take on the city’s cultural happenings, join the Wynwood Art Walk, which skirts past the Wynwood neighbourhood’s famous street art, graffiti and murals. Wynwood Walls also has details on how to go it alone.
A couple of blocks away, you’ll find the main Faena Hotel and its signature Los Fuegos restaurant, where head chef Francis Mallmann cooks up Argentinian classics of lomito (fillet steak) and choripan (sausages sandwiches) on an open-fire asador (grill). For Asian flavours, there’s also the award-winning Pao restaurant, manned by Filipino chef Paul Qui. Traymore’s outdoor tables at Metropolitan by Como are worth bagging too: the menu focuses on classic Floridian seafood, such as stone crabs and yellowtail snapper. For boozy, mimosa-filled lunches, South of Fifth bolthole Sense Beach House also has a delightful veranda, with rattan chairs and long blond-wood tables. Finally, you can’t leave Miami without tasting its Latin flavours: laid-back Cuban hangout Havana 1957 serves up lashings of atmosphere, alongside dishes such as camarones al ajillo (prawns in garlic).
Set around a slim octagonal pool, Spire Bar is one of the best rooftop spots in South Beach. The cocktail list is extensive: try the Blue Miami with coconut rum and curaçao, or the champagne mojito, which comes with illuminated ice cubes. For a hip cocktail den on Indian Creek Drive, head to Freehand Miami and its award-winning Broken Shaker bar, where cocktails are crafted using herbs from the surrounding garden.