My «Fetish» Hoteliers Alan Faena and André Balazs

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Alan Faena and André Balazs, the masters of the hotel social club

By Pablo Burgués

Photo: María Andreu

Interview with Diego Calvo CEO and Founder of Concept Hotel Group, who’ll chat with us about two hoteliers that have inspired him when it comes to creating his hotels.

Good afternoon Captain, why do Alan Faena and André Balazs fascinate you so much?

Because they were among the first to define a new concept of hotels, establishments that are more than just simple places in which to rest. They created hotels for people to meet and socialise in, places were something is always happening: exhibitions, catwalks and concerts for example, turning them into energetic cultural and social nerve centres.

OK, let’s start with Alan Faena, please explain to our uneducated readers (and our even more uneducated interviewer) who is this guy and why we should respect him?

Alan Faena, who could be defined as an artist-entrepreneur, is a hotelier and real estate developer who is also heavily involved in the design of his projects. When he was 19 years old he created his own fashion brand Via Vai, which was a huge success in Argentina, the place of his birth. After selling the brand towards the end of the 90s, he entered into the world of real estate where he has worked with the giants of design and architecture including Philippe Starck and Norman Foster. One of his most impressive creations is the Faena District in Miami, an entire cultural neighbourhood created from scratch, and in which we find ultramodern buildings, restaurants, hotels and even a forum for major events related to the art world. And as if this wasn’t enough Alan Faena, he is also crazy about rock ‘n’ roll, just like me. Total respect!!

Fuck yeah! So why should we be envious of Andre Balazs?

André Balazs is another one of those people who seems to be a glutton for punishment. He owns some of the coolest and most successful hotels in the world such as the Chateau Mormont (Hollywood) and The Chiltern Firehouse (London) and is the founder of Standard Hotels Both are on the must-do lists for celebrities, artists, fashion designers (they say that even the Queen has to wait to get a room). One of Andre´s quotes explains what I love about this guy: “The details, or better still an endless sequence of them, are what makes a project work”. I always have this mantra in mind when I create a new hotel. But in addition to his role as an entrepreneur, you should also envy Mr Balazs for his reputation as a playboy who has had flings (confirmed or merely suspected) with A-listers including Sharon Stone, Cameron Diaz, Naomi Campbell, Renée Zellweger, Daphne Guinness, Uma Thurman and Kylie Minogue.

Have these two gentlemen influenced the decorative and conceptual sides of your hotels?

Yes, of course, the importance of socialising is present at our Paradiso Art Hotel, a lively and bustling place that hosts concerts, performances and fashion photoshoots to name but a few. Regarding decoration, the red and white umbrellas that will surround the pool of our new hotel, Romeo’s, are a small tribute to the Casa Faena Miami Beach.


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