La Faena lobby

If you haven’t yet been to Buenos Aires, or better yet if you are planning a trip to visit me, add the hotel La Faena to your itinerary – even if you aren’t planning to stay there.  Just a peek at its posh interior is worth your time. 

Glamorous and elegant reminiscent a-la estilo Ian Schrager but in fact designed by the Frenchman Philippe Starck, the hotel is situated in the newest and very picturesque neighborhood, Puerto Madero.  Neighther my friend nor I knew where the proper entrance was, or if there even was a place for non-guests to “tomar algo.”  So we pulled an old trick that I occasionally use here, but don’t like to very often as I think it sort of portrays me as the dumb American who expects everyone to speak English outside the U.S.  I went up to the doorman and pretended not to speak any Spanish while my friend, an Argentine, kept totally quiet.  That way we would seem more like tourists who acceptably might not know about La Faena.  The large bouncer directed me to another man dressed in a slim fit suit, apparently the only English speaker, and he nodded and pointed me down the long hallway. 


Stunning pool bar

As we set foot on the red carpeting, I turned to my friend and smiled in delight for his good taste to bring me there.  I knew right away it was an ambiance that was going to intrigue me.  Upon entering the Library Lounge bar and seeing the pool area, my initial thoughts were that it reminded me of a tango-fied antique version of the Delano in Miami with design elements out of a set from the movie Moulin Rouge.  Everything was red velvet, black leather, and gold, the kind of opulence it seems only a part of Argentina´s past.  I’m normally not a fan of any sort of antique design concept, but every detail was so tasteful I couldn’t stop myself from inspecting every lamp, candlelabra, wall hanging (or unicorn head in this case), and cocktail table in the room. The pool area had a small table and chair submerged very slightly at one end of the water, very Delano I thought, but with a style of its own with red cushions and lacy ornamentation. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the romantic red chaise lounge chairs and cabanas lining either side that was lined with elegant white candles.  

Back inside at our table, the lighting was just right and the music kept me bopping around in my seat it was so good.  I glanced over at the table to our left and saw three older men smoking cigars, one in a white blazer cooling himself with a bright red fan.   Even the clientele was mysteriously interesting.  Then I looked over towards the bar entrance and saw three mirrored elevator banks facing a wall covered in red fabric.  I wondered what opulence lived upstairs and was tempted to hop on and take a sneak peak.    

Presidential Suite opulance

When I got home I immediately jumped on the hotel’s website to look at prices and start thinking about which one of my friends or family back home I could talk into staying there.  Even the site was sleek and sexy,  and while gazing at exquisite photos of the presidential suite some amazing tango music played in the background, fitting the mood of the hotel just so.  As one of the few if not the only design hotels in Buenos Aires, it´s in a class of its own.  And at 20 pesos the café doble doesn’t come cheap.  But that isn’t stopping me from wanting to go back for the Friday night salsa fiesta and live music, just to take in some more of this stunning scene.  Now that I´m earning pesos, the yerba mate spa treatment will have remain on my ¨dream¨ list.