Spa and wellness director Vivianne Garcia-Tunon and consultant Inge Theron have collaborated with Oscar-winning designer Catherine Martin on the newly-opened South American-themed spa at Faena Hotel in Miami Beach.
“Aesthetically, it’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve seen – and I’ve seen a lot,” says Theron, who helped shape the initial concept of the 13-treatment room Tierra Santa Healing House spa. “It’s so chic, so cool, but so different. Think Great Gatsby meets Buenos Aires.”
Martin, who worked on the interiors of Tierra Santa as well as the hotel, has won four Oscars for production and costume design on Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby. Both films were directed by her husband, Baz Luhrmann, who’s also been involved with design in other parts of Faena Hotel.
“Art permeates everything,” says Theron, who describes the vibe of the spa as authentic, but playful with murals and wallpaper adding a splash of colour.
Garcia-Tunon says guests “absolutely love the spa’s design”.
The spa and wellness director, who left a senior regional vice president role at ESPA to join Tierra Santa, created the 22,000sq ft (2,044sq m) spa’s treatments, which take their inspiration from places like Mexico and the Amazon. “Everybody’s been looking east and west for concepts and philosophies, and we finally looked south – there’s so much to pull from,” she says.
Among the unique therapies are sessions by Mexican shaman Carlos Gomez, who’s on-site once a quarter for one-on-one healing rituals – costing US$400 (€359, £298) for two hours – designed to reenergise the body, evoke spirits and energy, or repair trauma from childhood.
Other treatments incorporate lapis lazuli from Chile to release tension, sound therapy with bowls from Eastern Vibration and a light massage using palo santo wood that’s traditionally used in South American purification ceremonies.
“Guests have been very fascinated by the shaman and the treatments we’ve put together,” says Garcia-Tunon, adding that the spa has been “extremely busy” since opening.
Preventative wellness and medical care is also offered at the spa by practitioners such as gut health expert Dr Matthew Cooper – aka Dr Enzyme – and cardiovascular specialist Dr Juan Rivera. Meanwhile, advanced beauty treatments are offered by Biologique Recherche and Georgia Louise.
Other industry companies and suppliers involved include Design for Leisure, which worked on the extensive and sophisticated hydrothermal area, Gharieni, Living Earth Crafts, SpaEquip and T-Y Linens.
Theron, who runs her own spa consultancy, Itanda, says Tierra Santa is “very unique… a sublime combination of ancient healing practice, art-inspired interiors and state-of-the-art technology, which makes it one of the most exciting hotel spas in the world and certainly one of the best projects to be involved with.”
Hotelier Alan Faena and American/Russian investor Len Blavatnik opened the 182-bed Faena Hotel in November 2015. It’s the first phase of openings in the larger Faena District Miami Beach, which is designed as an entire new neighbourhood with art and culture at its core.