How the Faena District Is Transforming Miami’s Mid-Beach

On a recent Saturday night in Miami, the modern Asian restaurant Pao at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach ( sizzled. A well-dressed crowd filled the circular space, while gaping at the half-red, half-gold Damien Hirst unicorn sculpture towering over the room on a gold pedestal.

There was even more action in the largest of the hotel’s five bars, the Living Room. There, the rich red tones juxtaposed with animal print fabrics exuded glamour, and glitterati clutched colorful cocktails and champagne flutes while eyeing the happening scene. Maybe they hoped for a star sighting? Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna and Rita Ora had recently been at the hotel. Who would show on this night? As the evening wore on, the line outside the bar swelled.

If the hotel wasn’t the epicenter of Miami that night, it seemed to come close. In fact, if Alan Faena, the Argentine co-owner, has his way, the property and surrounding blocks in the city’s Mid-Beach neighborhood would have this level of buzz all the time.