Inclusive Retreats website
Inclusive Retreats is a tour operator specialising in LGBT-friendly holidays, launched in 2017 by former Wendy Wu managing director Laurence Hicks.
I was involved in the website project from an early stage, developing a distinctive tone of voice designed to appeal to the discerning LGBT traveller. To date I’ve written the copy for over 100 hotels featured on the site, along with destination page copy and key areas of the home page.
Faena Hotel, Buenos Aires
The Faena Hotel is a ravishing vision in red, a sumptuous marriage of cutting edge design and theatrical exuberance.
Originally a grain warehouse in the down-at-heel docklands of Puerto Madero, this is now one of the hottest addresses in Buenos Aires. Designer Philippe Starck’s tableau of velvet curtains, golden candelabras and crystal chandeliers is inspired by the Belle Époque, and it comes as no surprise that the hotel is home to one of the hottest tango shows in town.
The Faena has been a big hit with holidaymakers and locals alike, and there’s a real party vibe at the weekends, when big name DJs drop in to get the dancefloor moving. It’s a popular choice for LGBT travellers, and the central location means you’re within easy reach of the city’s top attractions.
The Faena Hotel is one of the hippest hangouts in Puerto Madero, a waterfront neighbourhood that has been transformed from gritty docklands into a shiny enclave of luxury apartments, upmarket bars and fine dining restaurants.
Within Puerto Madero itself you’ll find the Costanera Sur ecological reserve and Santiago Calatrava’s striking Puente de la Mujer bridge, as well as the Faena Arts Center, an excellent gallery housed within an early 20th century flourmill and owned by the same group as the hotel.
You’re also close to Buenos Aires’s more established attractions, a short taxi ride from the Plaza de Mayo and the tango halls of San Telmo. The city’s top cultural venues include the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Teatro Colón, highly recommended for fans of ballet, opera and classical music.
Philippe Starck’s fingerprints are all over the 87 rooms and suites: red velvet drapes, white leather furnishings and high-end hardwood floors set the tone. In-room tech includes a flatscreen TV, iPod dock, WiFi and mini bar, and the lavish marble bathrooms have a shower and claw-foot bathtub. Splurge on one of the top end suites for extras including a kitchen and spacious terrace with panoramic views.
The swimming pool is centred around a unique fountain, designed to resemble a giant golden crown, and the lively pool bar is especially busy at weekends. The Faena Spa offers a tempting menu of treatments, and there is a fitness centre, hammam and beauty salon. You can also take a class in yoga or tango, depending on how the mood takes you, and bicycles are available if you want to explore the neighbourhood on two wheels.
Starck’s eye-catching design threatens to overshadow the haute cuisine on offer at Bistro Sur, an elegant dining room in red, white and gold where the walls are lined with unicorn heads. The more intimate El Mercado showcases the best in Argentinian cuisine, including an excellent Sunday brunch, while the Library Lounge is an all-day venue serving coffee, afternoon tea and craft cocktails.
El Cabaret: the hottest show in town
The Faena Hotel’s 1920s-inspired theatre, El Cabaret, is bedecked with resplendent red velvet and golden trim, and the tango show is one of the best in the city. Nothing evokes the spirit of Buenos Aires quite like this dramatic, emotionally charged dance, and the evening’s entertainment is accompanied by contemporary Argentinian cuisine, fine wines and craft cocktails.