Italian designer Giorgio Armani opened his first hotel at the world’s tallest tower in Dubai on Tuesday, giving a boost to the Gulf Arab emirate’s bid to recover from a debt crisis.
The designer brought his trademark minimalist style to a city famous for excess, with the Armani Hotel Dubai designed with an understated palette of cream and earth colours.
Armani — whose business is worth around $2.4 billion a year in sales — partnered with Emaar Properties, the Arab world’s largest listed developer, in 2005 to develop a series of hotels, resorts and residences in key cities around the world.
From man-made islands shaped like palm trees to an indoor ski slope in the desert, Dubai has marketed itself as the city of bling, putting itself on the map with a bigger is better policy.
Armani said Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar described the city as “Las Vegas in the desert”.
“I am a minimalist, less is more… and when I looked at what was happening here it was the opposite,” he said at the hotel launch. “But he wanted me and I wanted him.”
Emaar and Armani plan to open the next hotel, Armani Hotel Milano, in the Italian city in 2011. Other projects include Armani’s first resort, to be located in Marrakech, and Armani residences villas in Marassi, Egypt.
A standard room in the Dubai hotel, which does not have a single picture on its walls, will cost 4,000 dirhams ($1,089) a night, while the best suite has a price tag of 40,000 dirhams.
A table at the Prive lounge, which is home to the world’s largest LCD screen, will cost at least 3,000 dirhams a visit, as guests can feast their eyes on Armani shows and videos.
The 160-room Armani hotel occupies six floors in the Burj Khalifa tower, which opened on Jan. 4, in addition to eight floors dedicated to 144 Armani luxurious residences.
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