Published on March 21st, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
HOTEL REVIEW: Faena Hotel + Universe (part 2) After Dark
On Friday night, the Faena Hotel + Universe proved to me that you don’t need to leave the property to have a night out on the town (and also why locals and celebrities alike flock to this stylish hotel; recent guests include Beyonce and Cold Play, and we’re missing the arrival of Guns & Roses by just a few hours, apparently).
Faena at night is dark, trendy and dramatically illuminated. We started with cocktails at the Library Bar, the comfy but trendy bar area, before taking a quick swing through El Bistro, the brilliantly white, brilliantly whimsical, Philippe Starck-designed formal restaurant (red carpets and flowers provide interesting accents, though nothing is as attention-getting as the white unicorn heads hanging on the walls), and the Cellar, a private dining room/wine cellar lined with nearly 5,000 bottles of wine. But to dine, we headed to El Cabaret, the hotel’s tango show venue (which I had heard was one of the best — and most expensive — tango shows in the city). It’s a smaller, more intimate place than most of the tango venues I’ve visited, with tasty food and an impressive tango performance backed by an excellent band clad in white tuxedos. Candlelight and even a bit of fake smoke add to the atmosphere.
After the show, we adjourned back to the Library Bar, which later in the evening becomes a true hotspot; you’ll need reservations to get a table just for drinks among the strategically placed candelabras, under the watchful gaze of what I believe are fake gazelle heads. A live DJ was spinning lounge and electronica vibes as we arrived, but the real entertainment came when Josefina, an attractive young songstress clad in black right down to her long, elegant gloves, took to the floor to belt out dramatic interpretations of songs including “Put the Blame on Mame” and “La Vie en Rose.” It was wonderfully theatrical and self-conscious but stopped short of camp. Outside by the pool, patrons were sipping cocktails beneath trees dotted with red lights. Alas, tomorrow would be a full day in Buenos Aires, so I had to turn in for the night, just as it was beginning. But it’s quite clear that Faena has created more than just a look and style. They’ve created an ambiance and a community. And quite a cool one, at that.