Armani Hotel Dubai

The first hotel designed by Giorgio Armani occupies up to the eighth floor of record-breaking Burj Khalifa, with suites on levels 38 and 39. Its highest lake-facing windows provide bird’s eye views of the dancing Dubai Fountain and music accompanying the performances can be piped directly into rooms via iPod docks.

Location:

On completion, Burj Khalifa became the world’s tallest building. The architectural summit of Downtown, it overlooks countless shops, restaurants, and attractions, including the aforementioned Dubai Fountain, dreamt up by WET Design, creators of the world-famous water feature in front of Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel.

The hotel is situated on the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah. There’s a bounty of restaurants at The Pointe, a neighboring leisure development; the fondue at attractive French-British bistro Fitzroy makes for a tasty excursion.

Other popular Palm pursuits: swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay and braving the nine-story Leap of Faith slide at Aquaventure water park, both part of mega-resort Atlantis The Palm, an invigorating two and a half-mile walk or a five-minute drive around the promenade. The mainland is a 15-minute drive away; from here Dubai’s other attractions and main airport are within half an hour by car.

Another notable neighbor, Dubai Opera, is home to The Loft restaurant, host of a Friday brunch offering unlimited caviar from the biggest tin of roe that you’re ever likely to see.

 

Style & character:

The design is so cohesively Armani, it’s easy to picture yourself at one of Giorgio’s stylish house parties – and that’s the intention. Guests are welcomed in the lobby under towering bronze arches curved like the hotel’s logo. Look closely and you’ll see the design repeated in table legs and door handles, such is the attention to detail.

This imposing ivory resort proudly faces the sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab across the Arabian Gulf. Every Waldorf Astoria hotel has a clock tower in its reception area, a spot where guests can meet; here, it adds old-world charm to a glossy grey marble atrium with glass lifts gliding up and down between the hotel’s six floors.

Peacock Alley is another historic lobby feature, a place to be seen when it was the connecting path between the original Waldorf and Astoria hotels in New York. At this Dubai outpost, it’s a catwalk of afternoon teas with a pianist setting the tone.

Sculptural flower arrangements inject rare shocks of color in an otherwise uniformly sable and taupe palette, and with muted lighting, it’s easy to get lost in the almost identical maze-like corridors.

Service & facilities:

Guests are tempted with a trilogy of gift shops on the ground floor: Armani/Dolci for chocolates, Armani/Galleria for fashion accessories and Armani/Fiori for flowers. Armani/Spa, on the third floor, offers elegant domed treatment suites and thermal therapies in the form of a dry-heat laconium, steam room, and sauna.

During my stay, service varied from exceptional to a tad slack when ordering drinks at breakfast and requesting information from my personal concierge, but the facilities were beyond expectation with a tennis court, a water sports centre, three temperature-controlled pools (one for adults only), two gyms (one for women only) and a spa par excellence. Neom treatments feature molten butter massages using skincare candles made from comforting cocoa and shea kinds of butter loaded with essential oils, leaving the skin buttery-soft for hours.

Out on the terrace, there are a pool, bar and sun loungers. Charming Lifestyle Managers take the role of both butler and concierge and can arrange everything from delivery of irons to massage appointments.

  •  Bar
  •  Fitness center
  •  Laundry
  •  Parking
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room service
  •  Sauna
  •  Spa
  •  Steam room/hammam
  •  Wi-Fi

Rooms:

Controlled by an iPod, Roman blinds rise to shed light on Armani’s continued taupe and sable color scheme. Walls are padded and curved in line with the building’s exterior, which creates awkward configurations in certain spaces, such as walk-in wardrobes, but adds sensuous contours elsewhere. Beds are plush and the Hanse goose down and feather pillows could seduce an insomniac to sleep. Bathrooms – a tad too dark for makeup application – have separate tubs, showers, and twin sinks and toiletries by Armani/Privé, though hair conditioner is strangely absent.

Food & drink:

Each prefixed with ‘Armani/’, there are seven outlets to enjoy, all with Giorgio’s trademark look. End the day at Privé nightclub and start it at Mediterraneo with a pork-free gourmet breakfast buffet. Whipped to perfection, the light, airy, cheese-filled frittata demonstrate the chefs’ admirable skills.

Casual meals are available at Lounge and Deli. Head to Hashi (Japanese), Amal (Indian) or Ristorante (Italian) for a more romantic soirée. Choosing between them would be like picking a favorite child, but if one dish stands out, it’s Ristorante’s La Sfera. Made in the same way glass is blown, a delicate sugar sphere is filled with harmonious compilations of panna cotta, cream, compote, and biscuit. Cracking it open is like recreating Christmas on a plate.

Value for money:

Doubles from AED 1,200 (£253) in low season; from AED 1,600, (£337) in high. Breakfast costs AED 166 (£35) and AED 83 (£17.50) for children under 12 for Classic and Deluxe Room guests; breakfast is complimentary with higher room grades. Free Wi-Fi.

Family-friendly:

Interconnecting rooms, complimentary cots and extra beds for AED250 (£53) are available. All restaurants offer menus for children aged six to 11; those aged five or under dine for free. Babysitting services are outsourced.

 Burj Khalifa, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai.

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