Armani opens first hotel in Dubai, plans Milan next

Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:11pm EDT
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By Tamara Walid

DUBAI (Reuters) - 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 colors.

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.   Continued...

<p>A woman passes by a logo at the world's first Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa in Dubai, April 27, 2010. REUTERS/Mosab Omar</p>