When Giorgio Armani decided to expand his brand to include hotels, he clearly must have wanted to set off with a bang. How else do you explain the Armani Hotel’s prime location right smack in the middle of one of the Middle East’s most affluent cities, in Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building? With the November 10 opening of the Armani Hotel Milan looming on the horizon, Luxury Travel Beat travelled to Dubai to see whether Signor Armani accomplished his mission there.
The Arrival: Grand. Black suit-clad bellboys rush to help you out of your car and whisk away your luggage, while yet others welcome you into the cool ( both literally and figuratively speaking) hotel lobby. Guests are asked to wait here before being accompanied by their personal lifestyle manager, who will already have introduced himself/herself to you via email a few days prior to checking in at the hotel. He or she then accompanies you to your room, where check-in takes place.
The Rooms: Giorgio Armani designed and styled the interiors of 160 guest rooms and suites in minimalistic opulence using Armani Casa furniture and accessories. Luxury Travel Beat stayed at room 3807, which is one of the hotel’s Fountain Suites. It boasts a bird’s eye view of the world’s largest performing fountain, the Dubai Fountain, and a channel on the TV which allows you to listen to the music coming from the fountain. The rest of the suite is decorated in a sparse, sophisticated manner, with lots of sliding panels in lieu of doors. The result is a very stream-lined, masculine feel which took a little bit of getting used to.
The minimalism is also evident in the choice of toileteries, as there are only two bottles of product – a 2 in 1 shampoo/shower gel bottle and lotion – and a satchet of bathsalts. The complimentary minibar on the other hand is well-filled, containing an assortment of refreshing drinks which in a city where humidity levels hit 200% is a lifesaver!
Dining options: Spoilt for choice is the name of the game. The hotel’s 7 restaurant offerings try to reflect the diversity that is the cosmopolitan city of Dubai. There is Peck which borrows both name and inspiration from the prestigious Peck restaurant in Milan; Mediterraneo, whose area of specialization is Mediterranean cuisine; Ristorante whose gastronomic delights are Tuscan in origin; Amal which offers regional Indian cuisine, Hashi which specializes in Japanese fare, the Lounge which offers international light food throughout the day and the Lobby, which offers traditional and sweet coffees accompanied by a selection of sweet and savoury offers.
The Spa: Where other spas offer a rigid menu of treatments from which patrons can choose, the Armani Spa offers personalised treatments which are put together on the basis of a small pre-treatment Q&A session. Based on what you answer and personal wishes, you get a treatment based on one of three therapies: Mu, which fosters relaxation and stillness, Liberta which aims to encourage freedom of movement and the release of pain and Fluidita, which promotes internal balance and enhances vitality.
The Location: Put the Burj Khalifa’s Guinness record-breaking credentials to your advantage and take the lift to the 122nd where the world’s highest restaurant from ground level, At.mosphere, is situated. The Dubai Mall is a mere 5 minute walk away and easily accessible from the hotel. Jumeirah beach, however, is a 20-minute drive away.
Armani Hotel Dubai: 00 971 4 888 3888; http://dubai.armanihotels.com. Deluxe doubles from US$750
Luxury Travel Beat travelled to Dubai courtesy of British Airways, which offers year-round low fares and an extensive global route network flying to and from centrally-located airports. http://www.britishairways.com