Faena Hotel + Universe

As former associates of the Morgans Hotel Group, Brady and I felt an urge to investigate Buenos Aires’ Faena Hotel + Universe, a swanky collaboration between entrepreneur Alan Faena and the world renown designer Philippe Starck.  Located in the Puerto Madero district (see “sights”), the Faena emerged in 2005 via a truly brilliant conversion of an old mill and grain elevator building by Faena.  His unique vision single-handedly turned the once-neglected neighborhood into a destination for all who appreciate high design and transformations of areas once deemed "persona non grata."

While we wished we could have stayed amidst Faena’s “Universe,” our budget would not allow for such frivolities.  Instead, we took it upon ourselves to pop into the lobby and snoop around!  One great thing about hotels is that, depending on your mode of dress, hotel staff will usually welcome you just the same as any of their real guests!  For us, it meant that we could walk around and take as many photos as we wanted.  At the Faena, Starck really outdoes himself!  It was great to see his aesthetic cranked up a few notches from the designs that he showcased in New York at Hudson or London’s St. Martins Lane.

Aside from its handsome rooms and suites, all accented in rich reds, the whimsical Faena Hotel + Universe features the lush “El Mercado” restaurant and “Library Lounge,” a spa and gym combo, a decadent pool bar, and even its own in-house cabaret!  Still, it’s the outrageously capricious “El Bistro” that topples all other competition.  With its all-white and gold interior punctuated by mounted unicorn heads, it is the kind of place you really just have to see to believe!

Set of Drifters tip:  Looking to shop for that Faena look?  Bet your bottom dollar that some high-priced boutiques will be battling it out for the contents of your wallet!  Ahhh, yes, just like the old Hudson days! 

Faena Hotel + Universe - Martha  Salotti 445, Buenos Aires, 011 (54) 11 4010-9000


Hotel De Las Americas

A consistent pet peeve for your “Set of Drifters” is having to endure hotels that regretfully choose style over functionality.  It’s all great to have a funky shower where you can see your partner in the nude from three doors down, but if water escapes all over the floor and taints the entire space with a musty aroma from then on out, what’s the point?  (And if you hadn’t noticed, sadly, this annoying trend is catching on all over the world!)

Chosen via LatinDestinations, we selected Hotel de las Americas as our home-base in Buenos Aires thanks to its proximity to the highly convenient neighborhood of Retiro.  Luckily for us, the hotel was just chic enough without overstepping the boundaries of impracticality.

Oddly, we spent more time in our hotel room than we ever would have imagined!  In fact, upon returning home, we noticed we had numerous photos of the same set of buildings just across from our window.  There’s the clothesline in the light of sun. There’s the clothesline on a cloudy day.  Where’s the clothesline at night?

You may be asking yourself, "Why would the Set of Drifters take the same photo over and over again?”  Well, you see, we had some stomach problems during our stay in BA, and their tenacity prevented us from enjoying full day excursions outside of the hotel (see “essentials” for more information... if you dare.)  Downtime from our hotel room on this last leg of our South American trip included hours spent watching Spanish translations of Tootsie, Scary Movie 3 and a masterpiece called Method that starred Elizabeth Hurley as an actress pursuing her dream role of 19th century serial killer Belle Gunness!  Yep, it’s no wonder we avoided taking photos inside the somewhat outdated hotel room interiors.  We did not want to conjure up any more memories than necessary!

Downstairs, the front desk staff of the Hotel de las Americas was attentive even when they spoke very little English.  Free breakfast in the safely styled restaurant/ bar was accompanied by good cappuccinos and free Internet access!  We appreciated the great little chill out area right as you entered or exited the hotel since more often than not, one of us had to run to use the restroom even after a trip down from the room via the elevator!

Ultimately, Hotel de las Americas is a pleasant place to stay while in Buenos Aires, thanks to it’s centralized location, clean rooms and accommodating staff.  You could do much worse and pay a lot more for it!

Hotel De Las Americas - Libertad 1020, Centro 1012, Buenos Aires, 011 (54) 11 4129-3400