By Rebecca Bundhun www.thenational.ae
Political turmoil across North Africa has not deterred Armani from plans to develop its high-end brand of hospitality in the region with Dubai’s Emaar Properties.
Armani is focusing on its plans to open resorts in Egypt and Morocco before expanding its joint venture with Emaar further.
Upheaval has forced developers to reassess plans throughout the region, while many projects have been shelved until there are signs of stability.
But work is continuing on an Armani villa project in Marassi, Egypt, which is part of a Dh6.39 billion (US$1.74bn) Emaar development, and an Armani resort in Marrakech, said Giorgio Armani, who formed the company in 1975.
“They’re already under development and will take something like two to three years,” Mr Armani said.
Armani Hotels and Resorts, the tie-up between the Dubai developer and the fashion designer, was established more than six years ago. A target was outlined at the time to open seven hotels and three resorts over 10 years, including properties in London and New York.
“Those projects are still in the pipeline, and they will come over time, but we decided to focus on other projects which were more advanced in their development,” Mr Armani said.
The resorts in Egypt and Morocco are being designed to reflect the local cultures, he said.
“These are two major and quite large resorts which we’ll build with respect for the natural environment and surrounding places,” he said.
Still, the fashion designer said that a “balanced, well-reasoned” approach to development was required following the Arab Spring.
The Marassi resort is part of a large project on the Mediterranean coast, which is designed to include a marina and a golf course.
Last week, Armani Hotels and Resorts opened its second hotel in Milan, Armani’s home city. The hotel, which has 95 rooms, is located in the fashion district, over an Armani store. More info