A showcase of fashion’s luxurious foray into hospitality.
Written by Pasquale Casullo
Fashion companies are pulling more weight these days: from fragrances and furniture to even cars and sporting gear, the industry’s offerings continue to expand into new territory as a way to capture and delight loyal consumers. It should be no surprise that hospitality would be the exception to this rule given the overlap of luxurious quality and top-notch service. Recognizing this, fashion companies have created entirely new categories within their existing portfolios to extend their influence and immerse customers in transformative brand experiences. From sun-soaked palazzos to lavish urban abodes, these haute destinations are the perfect examples of what happens when the worlds of fashion and hospitality collide.
Armani HotelDubai, United Arab Emirates
Occupying floors one through eight (and thirty-eight and thirty-nine) in the tallest building in the world, Armani Hotel is a sharp, Italian-minded spot to stay in the U.A.E. A hundred-sixty suites are filled from top to bottom with Armani's proprietary home, beauty, and fragrance lines, showcasing the fashion house's signature sleek, stripped-back DNA while outfitting guests in a total Armani experience, not unlike one of their suits. Located within the Burj Khalifa, the interiors are easy on the eye, which make for a serene atmosphere. The space is elegantly wrapped in dark wood, suffused with natural light, awash in a palette of neutral tones, and complete with Ermamosa marble floors. Featuring seven restaurants of various cuisines (Chinese, Japanese, Indian), the highlight, of course, is Armani/Ristorante, which (naturally) serves the best Italian food in town.
Baccarat HotelNew York City, USA
Found on 53rd Street, opposite the MoMA, the Baccarat Hotel is a different sort of work of art. Dripping in opulence, every surface sparkles and glimmers — nothing you wouldn’t expect from a centuries-old crystal company. In the lobby, two-thousand iconic Harcourt drinking glasses form a hundred-twenty-five-foot wide light installation wall; seventeen custom-made chandeliers hang throughout, including in the parlour, a grand sixty-four-arm centrepiece; and fifteen-thousand pieces of crystal stemware is scattered all around. Naturally, crystal is found, too, in Baccarat's hundred-fourteen rooms, from water tumblers and wall sconces to desk trays and floor lamps. Whether sitting in their glamorous bar (think: inky wood paneling, painting upon painting, and black and white checkerboard floor) or dining in their restaurant (run by a Michelin-starred chef), guests are provided with two menus: one for food, one for crystal. But it isn't all glass here; old-world elegance is paramount. Their dedication to high-quality service matches the company's pedigree in crystal-production.
London, UKFeaturing a sophisticated Vicenza-stone exterior, and located between Harrod's and the Victoria and Albert Musuem, the Bulgari Hotel is a life-size jewelry box perfect for ensconcing a guest in cozy, hush-hush luxury. Refined silks, elaborate floral-pattern textiles, diaphanous floral scents, and a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef, Alain Ducasse, are but a few of the highlights offered here. Bringing together English style with Italian heritage, the Bulgari Hotel invokes "La Dolce Vita"-era Rome, mining inspiration from the company's original shop on Via Condotti — a beloved meeting-place for an international elite of artists, writers, and actors.
Hotel le Notre Dame
Paris, FranceWhen entering this Latin Quarter hotel — just a croissant's-throw from its namesake, the Notre Dame Cathedral — some guests may be confused, believing they've stepped directly into former French designer, Christian Lacroix's, imagination. Combining the theatrical couturier's lush, Baroque-inspired sensibility with hospitality, it is an homage to the neighbouring Cathedral's history, colours, materials, and spirit, right down to carpet that masquerades as paving-stones. Lacroix's decorating infuses the four-hundred-year-old property with rich fabrics (velvets, silks, bold stripes), masterpieces of art, fantastical patterned wallpaper (florals, trompe l'oeils, scenic murals), antique and modern furniture, and religious-themed tapestries. None of the twenty-six rooms are alike, making for a truly unique experience.
Florence, ItalySalvatore Ferragamo is a family-run company that knows exactly how to do quiet, classic elegance. It is evident in their shoes, their clothing, and, especially, in their roster of hotels. Their Florentine outpost, Hotel Lungarno, features sixty-five rooms and suites that are outfitted in a bevvy of relaxing, gentle colours meant to invoke a sense of calm luxury. Adding further to their whimsical charm, the hotel also prides itself in its impressive art collection, which features the works of Picasso, Cocteau, and Bueno. Elsewhere, you’ll find their potato-themed restaurant, Borgo San Jacoro, which includes an adventurous but understated menu featuring dishes like potato 'spaghetti' with pesto, potato rice with piglet and langoustine, and potato pralines.
Gold Coast, AustraliaPicture it: 1980’s, Gianni in Miami, everything gold. Such is the vibe one can’t help but feel when entering the Palazzo Versace. Featuring two-hundred rooms and seventy-two apartments, the complex is everything expected from fashion's louche, luxe libertine: towering marble columns topped with vaulted ceilings, Medusa-inspired mosaics, and a palm tree-fringed lagoon pool. Based on a Broadwater waterfront-setting, with stately French Riviera styling, three award-winning restaurants, and a Baroque design distinguished by Versace's own furnishings, the company spearheaded the fashion-branded hotel business back when they were the only fashion house with a home collection. Convenient, as the brand was able to outfit their Australian abode with everything a hotel requires, including: porcelain, cutlery, pillows, and fabric — a recipe for success when considering a future beyond.