Why the Hype?

Buenos Aires bling

The new Faena Hotel & Universe, Philippe Starck and Alan Faena's collaboration in Buenos Aires, is certainly an eyeful: It's like a masquerade ball at the Gottis'—a tornado of doormen in Dracula capes, mirrored hallways lined with black ponyhair benches, and a white restaurant with unicorn heads on the wall. But what is most remarkable is that after you make a reservation, an "experience manager" e-mails to ask about your preferences. I got Paula. "I like flat water and I don't care for nuts," I wrote her. That seemed sad to Paula, who tried again with "Is there nothing else to make your stay more comfortable?" I replied, "I like strong cheese, down pillows, nonfragrant flowers, medium-bodied red wine, yoga, and spy movies." Sure enough my bed overflowed with down, there was a vase of sunflowers, and that evening a tray of pungent cheese arrived with a bottle of local Malbec. The next morning the spa called to schedule a yoga lesson. I had to hand it to Paula—for everything but the spy movie. But wouldn't you know it: The Bourne Supremacy was playing on the flight home. Rates, $300-$2,500; 54-11/4010-9000; www.faenahotelanduniverse.com.