Published on March 20th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut

HOTEL REVIEW: Faena Hotel + Universe (part 1)

The dramatic entry gallery. 

It seems like there is a reason why Faena Hotel + Universe calls itself not just a hotel, but a “universe.” It is, at the very least, a different world.
I checked in yesterday afternoon, as part of a group with Borello Travel & Tours, and from the start you can tell this is a different kind of property. There is no receptionist. There is no concierge. Instead, “Experience Managers” check you in and gently try to find out your interests regarding activities (they also inquire about this before you even arrive, so you can get tips about shopping, tours, nightlife and entertainment before you’ve even arrived).
Set in a 100-year-old former warehouse (made with bricks brought from Manchester, England) in the hot up-and-coming waterfront neighborhood called Puerto Madero, Faena Hotel + Universe is the creation of designer Alan Faena and Philippe Starck, this property — which opened in 2005 as a member of Leading Hotels of the World — is visually stunning; much more than a plain, stark boutique hotel.
We had a delicious lunch at El Mercado, a casual restaurant filled with antiques and Argentine memorabilia (and yes, I ate still more empanadas), before wandering around the property, which includes an outdoor pool and a large spa with hammam. Guests may join yoga and meditation classes and also use the hotel’s bicycles, all for free.

I followed the dark, dramatically illuminated corridor on the second floor to my sumptuous guestroom, which has plain white walls accented by rich red and gold details, including a bathroom that is essentially a glass box surrounded by thick red drapes. I needed to rest a bit, because I knew there was a full night ahead — without even leaving the hotel. Stay tuned for my next posting to find out what it entails. 

The Hammam, at the Faena’s spa. 

One of the guest rooms.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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