Dubai is a vibrant city in a constant land extension – 15% increase by year – with a population highly interested by luxury goods and hotels. Indeed you can find five-star hotels and palaces everywhere, from small jewels like Bab Al Shams Desert resort to huge complex like Atlantis The Palm, so the choice of a place to stay might be difficult mostly for a first time.
So after reflection I took the easy way with the choice of Armani Hotel Dubai, located in Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest tower), very close to Dubai Mall (world’s largest mall) and Dubai Dancing Fountains which was for me a guarantee of value… I must be honest : of course it is a luxury place and I spent a pleasant stay but far less than expected for Dubai, for the night rate and for Armani reputation. Globally all luxury points are respected but Armani failed where Bulgari succeeded : when you are a luxury fashion brand and you want to open an hotel, you must go over customer needs and expectations because guests will always think that if such a brand launches an hotel activity it should be impressive. Otherwise they will be definitely disappointed and worst, they will think they have failed into the trap… In few words, you can’t just count on your aura and unfortunately that’s what Armani did.
Burj Khalifa hosts the hotel with a dedicated entrance and 40 private floors. All exterior features are not part of Armani property so I can’t take them into account for this review, unfortunately ; regarding interior design by Giorgio Armani himself I would say it is pretty effective with an impressive lobby and stunning corridors. I like brown and grey tones you can find everywhere in the hotel as well as the Armani feeling – some small and chic touches of luxury in all areas without excess.
My regrets belong to the pool and SPA areas that definitely look a bit cheapy. Indeed, located in the world’s tallest tower the pool has been built only at the 3rd floor… And is quite small with a maximal occupancy 20 people – in my view – and less than 10 sunbeds ! Well, for Dubai standards it could be better. Concerning SPA, I have been disappointed by the poor entrance and the lack of “water” area with specific jacuzzi or baths ; I expected an astonishing showcase of luxury up to the brand and invitation to relaxation while it finally seems to be just an “accessory” to the hotel.
Regarding hotel access and entrance, I definitely don’t understand why you can’t go directly to the Dubai Fountains area… To go there – which is at 50 meters from the entrance of the hotel – you must go out, walk in the road (there is no sidewalks), enter through Dubai Mall, find the Dubai Fountain exit and finally go out in public zone, which takes around 20 minutes !! So it means each time you want to leave the hotel by walk and wherever you want to go, you have to follow that inavitable 20 minutes way…
THE incomprehension of the stay. As I said in introduction, the hotel opened in 2010 and is the showcase of Armani in term of luxury transcribed in hotel industry. While when you enter the room, you feel everything except that ! Furnitures look very old, windows were very dirty (impossible to take outside pictures) and the bed was probably the worst I ever had, even compared to 2 and 3-star hotels I stayed in !! It was not “soft bed”, it was “used bed” that completely collapsed in the middle. So one first highly advise, if you plan to book there ask for a brand new mattress !
Then despite my huge request to have a room in high floor I got a room at the first Armani floor (actually the 7th of Burj Khalifa), no upgrade and no excuses, just a pretext of unavailability due to early check-in.
Finally I give the average note to this accomodation thanks to the bathroom which is quite perfect with a true SPA feeling – at least – especially the italian walking shower. Armani amenities are luxury but probably they didn’t think that people could appreciate to bring some back home : containers are too large to be granted in cabin luggage at the airport…
We took only breakfast at the Mediterraneo Ristorante which was just as expected ; maybe I could notice the request I made to the Chef for fresh pancakes and who cooked me the best pancakes I ever eat in a hotel and arranged with fruits it in a plate looking like a 3-Michelin star dish.
Level of exigency
Once again, I expected far more than I got. Ok, housekeeping and turndown services are done right in time, with no-fault. Ok, we are greeted and welcomed each time we arrived at breakfast or past through the entrance. But no special touches and worst, the supposed “Lifestyle Manager” – actually the butler – was completely inexistant during our stay (did he ever come to meet us ?) and was not present at the end of the stay to help us resolving our issue regarding Bentley transfer to the aiport… Indeed we spend 45 minutes sit down in the lobby waiting for our airport transfer which was moreover supposed to be done in a Bentley (as we paid for that in our package) to finally get a small BMW. This is not a luxury service for sure ; let’s say it was an exception.
Stay from May 9th to 12th 2013
The Armani Hotel Dubai opened in April 2010 and is composed of 160 guest rooms and suites. We booked a 70sqm Classic Room with the Bentley package at 500EUR/night, including breakfast and airport transfers in Bentley cars. We have not been upgraded.