Faena Hotel Miami (USA): full of tradition – and still ahead of its time

Experts assume that the spa and wellness market in the US will experience radical change in the coming years: away from a concentration on cosmetic treatments and massages and towards a holistic European spa tradition that focuses on improving health and well-being. A pioneer of this trend is the traditional house of Saxony in the American coastal metropolis of Miami, which after a complete renovation was recently re-opened as the Faena Hotel. The company KLAFS played a decisive role in its new spa area.

The name giver and driving force behind this ambitious project is Alan Faena, who hails from Argentina. In his home country, he initially made a name for himself as a fashion designer, and then he started a second career as a hotel operator and real estate developer. His best-known project to date, which also made him popular far beyond Argentina's borders, is the Faena District – a complete urban district in the vicinity of Buenos Aires, which in the opinion of experts is at the top of the list of popular property locations around Argentina's capital.

Now Faena wants to build on this success in Miami and bring new glory to an entire district – and restore a golden era of the American coastal metropolis in the 1950s. During this time, the peak of Art Deco and the Golden Age of Hollywood film studios, the Saxony also opened its doors for the first time in 1947 and quickly became the hotel to visit. A place with a vibrant nightlife, where the best and most famous musicians, painters and actors of their time met and wanted to be seen.

It is this glorious tradition that Alan Faena wants to revive with the Faena Hotel Miami Beach – while at the same time also presenting new accents that show the way into the future. A good example is the spa area of the Faena, which was planned and realised by KLAFS, the market leader in the area of sauna, pool and spa facilities. Because the 2,000 sqm “Tierra Santa Healing House” represents a conscious departure from the previous American understanding of a spa, which is equated with the aspects of cosmetic applications and massages.

In the Faena, the guests are presented with a facility that offers all major spa traditions – the Scandinavian sauna tradition, the Roman tradition of the steam bath and the Oriental tradition of the hammam – in a luxurious, extravagant setting. They can experience a fascinating spa journey through all facets of the wellness movement, some of which have been tried and tested for millennia, and experience the beneficial forces of water, heat, nurturing substances and stimulating or soothing scents on their own body. For those who would rather not do without the cosmetic applications that are so typical for American wellness hotels, about another dozen treatment rooms are also provided.

This makes the Faena a forerunner of a major trend predicted by experts for the American spa market: as in Europe, the subject of prevention, meaning the conscious personal engagement for improved health and well-being, will also become a very important topic in the US. And which hotel can credibly and sensibly implement this aspect in its spa areas will play a major role in the future.

The following fact shows how enormously important the spa area is for the investors: in the concept phase, a team travelled from the US to KLAFS's company headquarters in Schwäbisch Hall to thoroughly inform themselves about the many possibilities with regard to product options, designs and materials.

The fact that this visit left a positive impression on the investors can be seen not just in their decision to engage KLAFS, but also the design of the sauna of the “Tierra Santa Healing House”: the 3.1m deep and 4.1m wide cabin has three extravagant characteristics that also draw attention in the exhibition sauna in the “House of Sauna & Spa” exhibition centre of the market leader – organically shaped loungers, a wall covering made of large-scale panels and a rear wall artfully constructed out of numerous slats.

The hammam area, in which guests can enjoy their traditional soap foam massage on heated marble slabs, can be enjoyed similarly in the “House of Sauna & Spa”. As tradition demands in an Oriental hammam, of course the Faena Hotel also has a steam bath to optimally attune body and mind to the beneficial massage to come – lined with precious, sparkling glass mosaic tiles.
The investors also placed great value on special atmospheric lighting. That is why the hammam area has an extravagant dome roof in which KLAFS's planners have installed a starry sky made of numerous sparkling LED lights. In the steam bath, too, such a starry sky forms the perfect addition to the hot steam.

Alan Faena aptly describes his concept like this: "Every detail in the Faena Hotel is designed to be a genuine experience." The extravagant spa area is the best evidence of this.

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