By Zainab Fattah www.businessweek.com
March 18 (Bloomberg) — Giorgio Armani’s first hotel, due to open in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa today, will be delayed by more than a month, said two people with knowledge of the plan.
The luxury hotel, occupying 10 floors of the world’s tallest building, is now scheduled to open on April 22, said the people, who declined to be identified because there hasn’t been an official announcement. Neither Armani’s company nor Emaar Properties PJSC, the building’s developer and manager, would confirm that the opening won’t take place today.
The skyscraper was inaugurated in January, more than a year later than scheduled, with light, water and firework displays. Within a month, the observation deck on the 124th floor was shut after a high-speed elevator stalled, stranding visitors inside. The deck remains closed. Armani Hotel’s last public statement, on Jan. 4, said the 160-room hotel would open today.
“Emaar isn’t in a hurry to open this hotel,” said Majed Azzam, an analyst at Al-Futtaim HC Securities in Dubai. “They want to make sure everything is working properly because the Armani brand is on the line here.”
Emaar’s managing director, Ahmed Al Matrooshi, declined to comment on the delay when contacted by telephone, and e-mailed questions to the company’s public relations firm weren’t answered. A spokeswoman for Milan-based Giorgio Armani SpA, who asked not to be named, also declined to comment.
The hotel, designed by Armani himself, will include eight restaurants, a spa and a lounge, in addition to chocolate and flower shops. In 2005, Armani’s company granted Emaar the right to build at least 10 luxury hotels and resorts in Milan, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai.
A year later, Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the two companies planned to build a total of 30 luxury hotels around the world because of greater-than-expected demand.
Burj Khalifa, named after Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, also includes luxury residential apartments designed by Armani and fully furnished with a specially created line of products from the Armani Casa home-furnishings collection.
The $1.1 billion Burj Khalifa is the centerpiece of the $20 billion Downtown Dubai project. The 828-meter (2,717-foot) tower took five years to build.
–With assistance from Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles. Editors: Andrew Blackman, Ross Larsen.
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