The team at the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa must be breathing a slight sigh of relief this morning after it was announced that the grand opening (due to take place on Wednesday) has now been delayed by a week after Iceland’s volcanic ash put a scupper on their party plans when the guest of honour – Giorgio himself – was grounded in Milan and unable to fly to Dubai.
I have no doubt in my mind that everything was perfectly on schedule for the hotel launch (which had already been delayed by over a month), but considering the invites hadn’t even been delivered as of Sunday morning, it’s probably best that there’s another week for everyone to polish up the silver and get the canapés ready for the VVVVIP guestlist. After all, this is the biggest launch in the UAE since Atlantis showed off its million-dirham fireworks and the world is waiting to see what’s been going on inside the world’s tallest building since it opened in January.
But it’s not just Mr Armani that’s been affected by Iceland’s eruption – the hoards of people camping out at Dubai International Airport trying to get home are reminiscent of wartime evacuations – but rather than steam trains out of London, they’re trying to grab a seat on the A380.
As of today, Europe is still covered in volcanic ash and trying to find flights out of Dubai is proving more difficult to come across than an invite to Mr Armani’s party. And thanks to the small print, passengers are having to fork out for hotel rooms and new flights – but it’s not like they can get out of here tomorrow or the day after… they’re being quoted dates in May! Not great when you budgeted for a weekend and are now staying for two weeks, and your in-laws are looking after the kids while your car’s in the short-term car park at Heathrow.
But luckily for them, there is an option for where they can all stay while they wait for the Iceland to stop spewing – I hear Armani’s got a couple of rooms spare at his place at the mo….