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Designer hotels take hospitality to the next level

9 Jun 2010

You covet and adore their creations, but would you stay in a hotel conceptualised by your favourite designer? Obviously, there are enough market numbers (current and projected) to justify this unique hospitality genre. The late lamented Versace started the trend of naming the property after himself, and this was picked up by Bulgari, Giorgo Armani and the latest to join the bandwagon, Elisabetta Gucci.

Other well-known names like Ralph Lauren, the Ferragamo clan and Ireland-based John Rocha are also involved in the accommodation business but would rather stay behind the scenes. Lauren has redefined many public spaces in Round Hill, Jamaica where he keeps a house; the Ferragamos own Lungarno Hotels in Florence; and Rocha is behind all aspects of The Morrison Hotel in Dublin.

ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI

Where it is? Burj Khalifa, 1 Emmar Boulevard, PO Box 888333, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, UAE

Description: The hotel, realised to the last detail by Giorgio Armani, has 160 rooms and suites occupying levels five through eight as well as levels 38 and 39 of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and free-standing structure in the world to date. The guestrooms and public spaces feature bespoke designs from various Armani/Casa lines and facilities include an Armani/SPA, a private Members’ Club, eight specialty restaurants and a lounge.

Guests staying here will encounter a philosophy based on the concept that travel is as much an emotional journey as a physical one. They are assigned a personal Lifestyle Manager who will serve as the main contact point throughout their visit. He or she is aware of the guest’s interests and desires and ensures that all their needs are attended to.

A second Armani is expected to be completed this year in Milan, home and artistic base of the “Maestro”.

Price: From AED1,700 (US$465)

Website: www.armanihotels.com

BULGARI HOTELS & RESORTS

Where it is? Jalan Goa Lempeh Banjar Dinas Kangin, Uluwatu Bali, 80364, Indonesia

Description: Designed by architects Antonio Citterio and Partners, the 59-villa resort in Bali reflects contemporary interpretation of the traditional Balinese design while conveying the distinctive Bulgari Italian style. A sister Bulgari Hotel, which opened ahead of the Bali property, is located in Milan and features 49 rooms and 9 suites.

Contemporary luxury in hospitality is the philosophy that informs Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. From the research of rare and precious materials to unique facilities and personalised services, from the delicacies of it restaurant offerings to exclusive spa treatments – each detail is a tribute to the art of class.

Price: From US$750

Website: www.bulgarihotels.com

PALAZZO VERSACE

Where is it? Sea World Drive, PO Box 137, Main Beach, Queensland 4217, Australia

Description: Palazzo Versace consists of 277 light-filled bedrooms and suites in timeless Italian architecture and craftsmanship.

Gianni Versace’s commitment to luxury and beauty has been translated into the designs for Palazzo Versace. The design confection is located along a waterfront and features spectacular (alright, perhaps, over-the-top) architecture, Italian furnishings, extraordinary service and an ambience of pure glamour.

Price: From A$370 (US$300)

Website: www.palazzoversace.com

OPENING 2010

ELISABETTA GUCCI HOTEL DUBAI

Where will it be? Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Attar Tower, PO Box 72486, 24 Floor, Suite 2404, Dubai, UAE

Description: Scheduled to open at the end of the year, the first luxury property of Elisabetta Gucci Hotels & Resorts kicks off development that aims to build up a collection of 40 hotels in the next 15 years. China has been eyed as the second location for growth.

Elisabetta, the daughter of Italian fashion icon Paolo Gucci, will make available for sale all the accessories, furniture and art displayed in the 87 guestrooms and suites, which she and partner Formitalia Luxury Group have created.

Price: No rates available at press time.

Website: www.elisabettagucci.com

THE MORRISON HOTEL (BY JOHN ROCHA)

Where is it? The Morrison, Ormond Dublin 1, Ireland

Description: A recent major refurbishment, resulting in a new wing, has raised the inventory to 138 rooms, including a Penthouse. The style remains cool and contemporary, bearing the imprint of the designer, and the furnishings consist of a blend of natural materials and clean lines that he is renowned for.

Various board rooms and event spaces, including the Strand Art Gallery, accommodate from 2 to 240 guests.

Price: From €115 (US$140)

Website: www.morrisonhotel.ie/dublin-hotel

Sarah Spaeth

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