By Mansi Choksi, TNN www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com
DUBAI: Italian designer Giorgio Armani threw open the doors of his first signature hotel in the world’s tallest tower in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa last week, giving a boost to the city’s bid to recover from the troubled economic climate.
The hotel has been personally designed by Armani and reflects his trademark minimalist style and affinity for earthy colours. “I am a minimalist, less is more and when I looked at what was happening here, it was the opposite. The idea was to create something that can be remembered,” Armani, told reporters at the launch.
Armani entered a partnership with Dubai’s Emaar Properties, which is developing the Khalifa, in 2005. “I wanted Mohammed Alabbar and he wanted me,” Armani said about the partnership. The Dubai hotel is first in a series of at least 10 hotels which will be built in holiday destinations across the world, including New York, London, Tokyo and Shanghai. The duo plans to open the next hotel, Armani Hotel Milano, in the Italian city in 2011.
A night’s stay starts at AED 2,800 per night (Rs 34,163) plus tax and climbs up to AED 9,000 (Rs 1,09,840) for a larger suite with walk-in closets, spacious bathrooms, and a terrace overlooking Dubai’s famous dancing fountain.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties, said the hotel would bring global attention to Dubai and to Burj Khalifa. “This project required extraordinary attention to detail and a commitment to true luxury, perfection and excellence,” he said.
The venue for the designer’s first luxury hotel came as a surprise, considering the toll taken on it by the economic downturn. “We were never seriously worried. The process has been bumpy but it’s been an advantage for us because the downturn wiped out the competition,” said John Hook, Georgio Armani deputy chairman, speaking exclusively to TOI.
The hotel occupies floors concourse to 8 as well as levels 38 and 39, with 160 guest rooms and suites, eight restaurants, retail outlets and a spa. Levels 9 to 16 are occupied by Armani Residences comprising 144 private residences, which like the hotel, have been personally designed by Giorgio Armani. The signature homes will be thrown open later but Hooks said that all the apartments have been already sold.
When Armani joined hands with Alabbar five years ago, there was a lot of talk about whether the fashion giant could make the transition to hospitality. The Armani Hotel, which is based on the “Stay with Armani” philosophy, assigns each guest a lifestyle manager “whose job is to ensure that every whim of the guest is met”.
The hotel has eight restaurants offering a myriad of world cuisines ranging from Japanese and Indian to Mediterranean and fine-dining Italian.There are no walk-ins, only those who have a reservation in the hotel or at a restaurant are allowed to enter the hotel.
(This correspondent was in Dubai at the invitation of Giorgio Armani, India)