Armani in Dubai

BY Lisa Lindblad

January 25, 2011

Armani has arrived big time in Dubai.  Not only is his brand ubiquitous in Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, but he has also bagged the tallest building in the world to house his first hotel.  Located in Burj Khalifa, a mixed-use soaring tower, the Armani Hotel is exactly what you would expect if you are familiar with his couture and his home collections.  His hallmarks have been clean line, unique fabrics, earth tones, shades of gray and brown.  Here too, the look is spare, the attention to detail carefully thought out, the surfaces interesting.  Variegated brown marbles, wood wall panelling, porphery, copper  and silver satins, the look is partly earth slicked with rain, partly vegetal, partly reptile – all of it of a sleekness softened by the architectural curves of the building.

The rooms conform to the structure of the building, so they flow around gentle corners and gaze out over pools dancing with fountains, palm trees a-flash with tiny lights resembling fireflies on steroids, and across to Dubai Mall, everyone’s entertainment center.  Because you are arriving home, check in has been dispensed with; a Lifestyle Manager greets you upon arrival and, armed with your personal preferences, becomes your go-to assistant through one-touch technology for the rest of your stay.  First order of the day is to make your dinner reservations at any one of the five fabulous Armani restaurants.  These are the highlight – individual, upbeat, trendy, delicious – and reservations are an absolute must.  On Sunday, the 23rd, the 5th Armani restaurant opened.  Atmosphere, located on the 122nd floor and the highest restaurant in the world, was designed by Adam Tihany.  Because it is at the narrowest point of the building, the grill room is intimate and beautiful, with floor to ceiling windows offering Dubai at your feet and walls that are cloaked in lacquered wood paneling that make you feel you are aboard a classic yacht.  Through the generosity of wonderful Sara Fenianos, the US Sales Manager at The Armani, I snuck in prior to the opening as the final polishing and table settings were being done and had the chance to circle both the restaurant and the Lounge one flight up and gape at the views.

No question, this is the hotel to stay at in town.  And with Dubai Mall right across the street, offering every brand you can think of (and all at 50-70pc off for two weeks at this time of year for Fashion Festival), the largest indoor aquarium and skating rink, a gold souq, more restaurants, a Kidzania, a children’s theme park where they pay full fare and parents are half price, you have the best of Dubai at hand.

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John Derian Goes West