DUBAI, April 30, 2010 -- There's a designer vacation to be had at the world's first Armani Hotel, perched in the world's tallest building at the heart of Dubai.
This week Giorgio Armani's vision of high-style hotelery was unveiled to the world, taking in its first guests after a gala grand opening. Every physical detail of the hotel was designed by Armani himself, from the soaring arches in the lobby to the bathroom soaps in each room.
Walking through the hotel feels like living in a fashion show: hotel staff don Armani suits and dresses, walls of satin frame the clean lines and neutral tones of each room, soaring ceilings meet with sweeping views of Dubai's downtown district. A selling point of the "Stay with Armani" experience is the hotel's closely managed air of exclusivity. There are meant to be no walk-ins, only those with room or restaurant reservations can reach the building in its separate wing of the Burj Khalifa. Each of the 160 rooms comes with a "lifestyle consultant," a personal concierge who handles all of a guest's recreation and relaxation needs.
The Armani Hotel's rooms start at $750 per night, plus tax, and climb to $2,500 for a larger suite with walk-in closets, spacious bathrooms, and a broad terrace overlooking Dubai's dancing fountain. By late May, as the summer heat starts to settle in, an Armani Studio goes for $550 per night, and an Armani Signature Suite for $2,200. As reflected in the line of Maseratis and Bentleys parked in front of the lobby, Armani is aiming for a clientele that won't worry about the pricetag.
For the rest of us, the hotel's eight food and beverage outlets offer the Armani experience alongside fine cuisine. Those adding to Dubai's already long roster of high-end restaurants include Armani/Amal, serving traditional Indian food with modern presentation, Armani/Hashi offering sushi and Japanese plates, and Armani/Peck, the local incarnation of the famed Peck Deli in Milan, where rows of olive oil and gourmet food items are on sale and on display. Only in Dubai, the prosciutto is sequestered -- all pork-based coldcuts are in a separate section for non-Muslims.