On walking into the Philippe Starck-designed Faena hotel in Buenos Aires you’re immediately transported into another world. Thick Alice and Wonderland meets a sexy dragon’s lair and you’ve got it in one.
Triple-height ceilings give way to dramatic draped curtains and the place is dripping in blood-red swathes of fabric, from the carpet to the scatter cushions. Outdoors, the rouge theme continues and there is even an over-sized gold crown erected defiantly at one end of the swimming pool.
I taxied over to the 105-room Faena hotel on a Friday night, to catch on of the best tango shows in the Argentinian capital.
I’d invited one of my friends from Buenos Aires so I could get his take on the show, as he’d heard about Faena’s Rojo Tango extravaganza but hadn’t made it, put off by the price tag, which swings in at an elegant $220 per person.
We started off with proceedings with a perfectly prepared olive martini in the Library Lounge bar, which hit all the spots with dark lighting, a woody fragrance and softly-sprung, deep-backed couches.
‘In Argentina, we’ve got a word for a place like this,’ my friend Leandro said as he steadily surveyed the décor.
It turned out the word translated to a cross between ‘opulent’ and ‘over-the-top’. These are two things the Faena certainly does well. It’s a theatrical wonderland you’ll be sure to remember.
Stepping further into the realm of velvet and unicorns (yes, there really are unicorn heads on the wall of the Bistro Sur restaurant) we sashayed down the corridor and entered the Rojo Tango theatre.
The intimate performance area features a good number of tables, with a small stage area at the back for the band and the main stage where the show takes place.
For the ultimate experience, be sure to book the dining package, which includes three courses, unlimited sparkling wine, red, white and soft drinks.
At 8:30pm sharp a friendly server came to run us through our culinary extravaganza.
To start we both opted for a creamy burrata topped with cofited tomatoes and arugula pesto. Leandro and I commented on the oozing texture of the soft cheese as we swiftly mopped our plates clean.
For mains, in true Argentinian style, Leandro went for a succulent cut of beef tenderloin while I went for a vegetarian blue cheese and walnut salad, which wasn’t on the set menu but kindly recommended by the waitress.
Finishing the mouth-watering experience off on a sugary high, we dipped into a banana-caramel mousse and a cream of passion fruit almond crumble.
The lights dimmed, the violin struck up and we realised it was 10pm and time for the show to begin.
Prepare to be dazzled by sexy, spangly costumes, dance moves to leave you jaw-dropped and an incredibly talented group of musicians providing a toe-tapping soundtrack.
The Rojo Tango show illustrates the evolution of how the Argentinian dance came to be, from the 1920s-era of flapper to the funk of the 80s and the modern strike of the Millennium bell.
Not once during the 90 minutes did our interest wane, and our eyes stayed fixed on the feisty dancing troupe.
The women played on their femininity, with sultry eye make-up, sharp jaw lines and bodies to die for, while the men were equally preened to perfection.
At the end of the show Leandro admitted it was the best tango show he’d seen in town as the others can be pretty touristy.
Faena’s Rojo Tango might be pricey but when will you be in Buenos Aires again?
The Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires is located at Martha Salotti 445, C1107CMB CABA, Argentina
To book a night, meal or tango experience call +54 11 4010-9000 or visit www.faena.com/buenos-aires