|The lobby at Armani Dubai, which shows off the iconic designer’s aesthete by such touches as floors covered with Japanese tatami mats.|
Tony Logan, Virtuoso’s manager of worldwide sales and service, has always been a Giorgio Armani fan. On a pre-cruise stop in Dubai, he checked out the famed fashion designer’s debut hotel. Here’s his report.
In this industry, you often experience a moment that renders you speechless. Last month, in Dubai, I had one of those moments. While I had planned to visit this futuristic city prior to a cruise, my focus was the new Armani Hotel Dubai. I became fascinated with Giorgio Armani and his foray into resort creation long before the Dubai hotel opened on April 21. Before I launched into travel, I had spent 13 years in the fashion industry. I’ve been involved with fashion since then—if shopping incessantly counts as involvement!
The Armani Dubai is housed in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The front entrance is only for guests and friends of guests. When you walk in, you are greeted by a personal Armani lifestyle manager. They will help make the most of your stay having done their homework on your preferences.
I received a personal guided tour from the hotel’s U.S. sales manager, Sara Fenianos. During our visit, I was wowed by two must-stop locations: Armani/Dolci and Armani/Fiori. The velvety milk chocolate bar I sampled in the petite candy boutique fed my sense of taste; the gorgeous flower sculptures at the flower shop next door were a sight for jet-lagged eyes.
If you are overcome with the need to pamper yourself further, our next stop was just the place: the 12,000-square-foot Armani/Spa. Personal attention is the hallmark here, with staff designing a bespoke relaxation and wellness program. If you just feel like going for a quick, refreshing dip, head to the world’s highest pool on the 76th floor.
Hungry after your swim? Armani Dubai has eight dining options—from an outpost of Milan’s self-proclaimed gastronomy temple, Peck, to the elegant Mediterraneo. The Armani Lounge was our favorite, where Giorgio Armani has designed everything down to the embossed sugar cube for your espresso.
The visual feast continued when we stepped off the elevator and entered a hallway that appeared to extend infinitely, room doors flush with the wood paneling of the walls. A mirror at the end of the hallway provided the impressive touch of trompe l’oeil. The rooms are as curved and plush as the hallway is austere—but no less stunning. No surprise, the furnishings are from Armani Casa. Everything from the hangers to the soap was designed by Armani himself. The modern design extends to electronic conveniences. You can power your music, lighting, drapes and more with a touch of the remote control. The tone of understated elegance is consistent in each of the 160 guest rooms.
The décor is only part of what makes the Armani Dubai so memorable. The exquisite service is the second part of the equation. I was particularly drawn to the music that was playing. It was a mixture of Middle East techno and new age tunes, all specially chosen for a drive in a car. I was delighted when the hotel presented it to me as my parting gift.
The Armani Hotel Dubai is clearly off to an impressive start, not only because of its breathtaking interiors and impeccable service. It is part of Virtuoso’s Preview Program, which will help the hotel gain traction in a competitive luxury market that is always attempting to one-up itself.
Tips: Book the “At the Top” Burj Khalifa Experience (124th floor) in advance so clients can avoid the long queues.