After spending a hectic first day zooming through Dubai I rushed back to my hotel room for a quick shower, powdered my nose, buttoned up my dress shirt and ran out onto the red carpet to hop into my chauffeured SUV. I was giddy with excitement as the car sped towards the cities iconic Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest tower and home to the exclusive Armani Hotel Dubai.
A global design first, the hotel has been designed and developed by Giorgio Armani, and reflects the pure elegance, simplicity and sophisticated comfort that define his world renowned signature style. Armani Hotel Dubai is the realization of Giorgio’s long-held dream to bring his personal style to life in the most inclusive way, by offering visitors a unique “Stay with Armani” experience. Every detail in the hotel bears the Armani signature, beginning with warm Italian-style hospitality and moving through to each individual design element from the Eramosa stone floors to zebrawood panels, bespoke furnishings and personally designed hotel amenities.
Once the car rolled up to the hotels entrance my door popped open and a tall Dutch woman smiled down at me. The hotel’s PR pro would spend the next hour whisking me through the Armani’s jaw dropping guest experience. First the lobby wowed with its living room style ambiance and sky high ceilings. As soon as I stepped past the front doors four beautiful women decked out in black Armani dresses, razor sharp stilettos and tightly coiffed hair whispered, “Welcome to The Armani Hotel.”
The hotel of course is home to an exclusive Armani boutique which offers the designers signature fashions as well as artisanal food. I sampled a few treats from the Armani chocolate shop while sniffing my way through an ornate floral bouquet. We soon found ourselves zooming up an elevator and popping in to one of the hotels signature suites. My jaw was slack and eyes ablaze as I wandered through one of the worlds most decadent hotel rooms. Finishing up in our room we exited and hustled down the hallway in search of dinner. My most memorable moment of the tour was when my Dutch Armani spirit guide chirped, “all of the hotels hallways are designed to feel like a haute couture fashion show runway, a mirror at every end.” I was dying. I hadn’t even had dinner yet and I had fallen in love! I placed one hand on my hip and forced my heels into the floor as I marched towards a fierce reflection.
The essence of Italy is brought to life at the Armani Ristorante where a natural passion for the finest ingredients, exquisite flavour combinations and contemporary presentation come together in an exclusive environment. Ristorante’s Chef Alessandro Salvatico hails from Northern Italy and offers guests bubbly charm and charisma. Clearly passionate for Italian cuisine, Chef Alessandro spends dinner service interacting with guests and I dare say he spends just as much time stirring his risotto over the stove as he does attending to the dining room. His hospitable warmth blends into the restaurants refined elegance which pair perfectly with the Stay with Armani brand sensibility. Over the course of the next three hours I felt at home, relaxed, attended to and gloriously gluttonous.
Well manicured and handsome Italian born and raised restaurant management, sommelier and wait staff prance across the dining room with decanter, heaving bread baskets and Armani Signature table service carts on whispering wheels. The dining room overlooks Dubai Mall’s famed water fountain which performs to wide eyed crowds every evening on thirty minute intervals. Between courses I popped out of my seat to the serenade of Opera which was perfectly synced with a dance of spray and plume.
After eating at thousands of restaurants around the world Armani’s Ristorante will forever be a fond memory. The meal started off with a penchant for richness: a hearty carpaccio, creamy burrata and culatello featuring ham, port soaked figs and pomegranate granite. I celebrated my rapturous love for carbohydrates by forking my way through addictive risotto, gnocchi and pappardelle. Finally a fillet of steak (which costs a small fortune) was wheeled to the side of my table and sliced ever so gently and topped with foie gras, potatoes, porcini mushrooms and crisp asparagus.
My sweet tooth found a new appreciation for “the sphere” as two final plates arrived at the table. La Sfera (literally, The Sphere) offered endless surprises to the palate and an opulent haute cuisine meets haute couture fashion sensibility. You literally feel as though you could wear the edible gold leaf adorned bobble as a statement. My love for Gianduja was lip smacked as I slowly fell into a food coma after adventuring through hazelnut palet, white chocolate sphere, caramelized popcorn and chantilly jivara. Armani my love, take me home!
carpaccio and beef tartar, quail egg, mushrooms, parmigiano
broccolini, tomato confit, anchovies sauce, bread crumbs
ham, figs with porto, pomegranate granite
risotto “vialone nano” mantecato, mushrooms, black truffle
castelmagno cheese, vegetable chips
wild boar ragout, red wine, black pepper, cinnamon
grilled fillet carved tableside, foie gras, potatoes, porcini mushrooms, asparagus
the sphere, vanilla cream, violet creme brulee, cassis sorbet
hazelnut palet, white chocolate sphere, caramelized popcorn, chantilly jivara