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Giorgio Armani is hard at work on his next hotel project, and, for now, he's favoring Europe over the USA (though we partly knew this already). The world's third Armani Hotel will reportedly go up in London at the historic Admiralty Arch.
Back in October, we learned that the building had been purchased by Rafael Serrano (the man behind Bulgari London) with plans to convert it into a 100-room luxury hotel, complete with royal and presidential suites, a ballroom, spa, and fine dining restaurant. Now, we have a better sense of exactly what Serrano has in mind...
“Imposing” is the word we probably would have used. Or “magisterial”, maybe. But definitely not “like a psychiatric hospital”, which is how Roberto Cavalli just described the Armani Hotel Milan.
“Between Armani and me there is an abyss. Have you seen that new hotel? It looks like a psychiatric hospital” were the exact words he used when talking to La Repubblica newspaper.
The most embarrassing thing for Armani in the whole affair is that you know what? Now that he’s said that, we look at pictures and go “You know what, it kinda does.” But then again, it’s hardly out of place in Milan, a city whose buildings are way more severe than the flouncy terracotta stuff you expect in the Italy of your textbooks.
Everyone knows that the first stop for fashionistas on a jaunt through Italy is Milan. It's got designers. It's got Fashion Week. And it's got the man himself, Giorgio Armani.
A man, who, as much as he's making a name for himself now in the hospitality biz, first got introduced to the world as a fashion person. Clothes, retail, couture: those are his roots, not necessarily beautiful hotels. But the new Milan property, with all its 95 textured monochrome guest rooms and eighth floor "hat" lobby, actually manages to contain both those worlds under the same roof—the hotel is built right on top of an Armani store. How convenient!
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Though we took a quick look last month at what Tripadvisor reviewers were saying, we still feel a little out of the loop about the new Armani Hotel Milan, which has been open for almost two months now.
What kind of fancy Armani unforms do the staff wear? Are the rooms really that big? How do the hotel's Lifestyle Managers fit in, exactly?
Sadly, the hotel provided little in the way of a response—choosing only to reiterate Giorgio's vision of creating a "precisely defined ambiance of total comfort." But we have managed to scrap together at least a fragmentary sense of the interiors. For starters: similar to the property in Dubai, the Armani Milan's rooms are homogenized in soft beiges, tans, and dark browns. Emphasis here is more on texture—with limestone bathrooms, backlit shingled headboards, and cabinets that vanish into walls. All of which, hopefully, don't get in the way of comfort.
We can hardly believe it ourselves, but the Armani Milan is over the one month mark, as it finally made its debut back on November 10. It may still be piping hot and fresh out of the hotel-baking oven, but it's time to start reading what people are saying about it.
One thing is important to remember, however, and that's that Italy doesn't have it all together on the social media/online sharing front. Case in point: the place has been booked up, but both Hotels.com, Expedia, Venere, etc have not a single review of it (barring this nice photo gallery).
Thus, for now we turn to Tripadvisor:
In just over two weeks, the world will have a second Armani Hotel to drool over. At least, that's the hope. After delaying and missing the hubbub of Milan Fashion Week earlier this season, the Armani Hotel Milan has posted an official opening date to their website: November 10.
Okay, so actually we've known this for a little bit, but the magic of it is that the hotel seems to be sticking to the day. When we snooped around the property earlier this year, we noted that the place looked very much finished from the outside, but that filling out the 96 roomsboasting the largest hotel room sizes in the whole cityis likely the cause of the autumn date.
Despite the fact that it's totally crunch time at the Armani Milan, they are not yet taking reservations. That, however, doesn't mean you can't add it to your holiday wish list.
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In the ever-expanding universe of Twitter, there is one particular trend @HotelChatter happens to quite enjoy: candid hotel room photos. These Twitpics range from stunning views to anti-views to celebrity tomfoolery and everything in between. And we can't get enough of 'em! Starting this week, we will begin featuring one "Twitpic of the Week" to commemorate our favorite hotel-themed snapshot. Got a favorite of your own? Want to show off your sweet suite? Send it in!
As we learned last month, the Armani Hotel Milan is still taking its time to get up and running. Meanwhile, in Dubai, the mega-solar-powered Armani Hotel Dubai in the Burj tower is enjoying a little daytime maintenance work. Namely, window-washing.
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria shot this pic from her suite at the Armani Hotel with the following caption:
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Have you ever heard the famous Italian
phrase mantra "Fare una bella figura?" It translates to something like "to make a fine figure," but the gist is to always put forward a physical appearance that makes you look good. Usually this involves dressing well and behaving appropriately, but for this moment we're going to apply it to the under-construction Armani Hotel Milan.
We checked in on the construction ourselves pretty recently, but it seems as though work is progressing nicely as the hotel has set down an official opening date of November 10, 2011. So it will make it yet this year!
So how is the Armani Milan putting its best foot forward? By waiting until well after all the Fashion Weeks have finished. This way, the property and all its opening kinks aren't immediately tested and exposed to who would likely be A-list fashion guests, had the hotel pressured itself into opening for the pomp of a Fashion Week debut in late September. Whew. Instead it will enjoy a leisurely month or so before holiday shopping crowds really stretch its legs.
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Well, we're more than halfway through 2011 already, the year that Armani Hotel Milan swore it'd be finished and ready, and yet we've got no set opening date yet. Regardless, we swung by the construction ourselves while last in Italy, and it's really coming along.
The Armani Hotel Milan will not be like the original Armani Hotel, in the Burj Dubai building in the United Arab Emirates. It's to be more of an elite boutique hotel, built atop the Armani flagship on Via Manzoni. Sleep in one of the 96 rooms herewhich they boast as having the largest room size in Milanand only a few floors down, you'll be able to shop the Armani/Dolci, Armani/Fiori and Armani/Casa shops (sweets, flowers and home, respectively), in addition to the clothing. Plus, round the corner there's the Armani/Nobu restaurant for fully blowing out your expense account.
Why pay $600 per night to sleep at Dubai's Armani Hotel if you can get it for free? The only catchof course there's a catchis that you'll be paying through the nose in another way for the privilege of a comped stay here, as Dubai-based airline Emirates has just launched an incentive to fly in First or Business Class this spring.
Here's the deal: you've got to book an Emirates flight out of either Los Angeles or Houston and fly to Cape Town (CPT), Vienna (VIE), Christchurch (CHC), Manchester (MAN), Geneva (GVA), Copenhagen (CPH) or Hamburg (HAM) in First or Business.
There was a moment several months ago where we clicked over to check out the current hotel offers on flash sample sale site JetSetter.com and spotted the Armani Hotel Dubai as an upcoming offer. Alas, it disappeared shortly after because perhaps the hotel realized what we were thinkingthat it was still a bit too early and too hyped to start with the discounting. All of that is in the past, however, because Armani Hotel Dubai is on JetSetter right now with rates from $420 per night.
The hotel opened almost a year ago this time, and the rates have come down from four digits to $600 per night, which JetSetter is marking down to the $420 price for a Classic room. Take a step up to a Premier Suite for $475 per night, originally much more. These deals are good through August, because September sees a rate jump to $525 for a Classic and $595 for a Premier.
The Grand Hotel at left, Armani at right
Hmm, we haven't heard anything from the under-construction Armani Hotel Milan lately, despite the fact that the first hotel in the fashionable chainArmani Hotel Dubaihas been open for a solid 11 months now. So while we were in Milan ourselves recently, we made it a point to do some snooping about Armani's Via Manzoni complex, the top of which will soon become the second Armani Hotel.
From the moment we stepped out of the Montenapoleone subway station, we noticed something right away: the Grand Hotel et de Milan sits directly across the streetnay, the small pedestrian thru-wayfrom the coming Armani Hotel. Turf war, commence!