Room prices range from 500 euros, or $679.50 at current exchange, up to 11,000 euros, or $14,949, for the Presidential suite.
Onyx, silk georgette and green river stone are among the main materials. Curved walls help convey a sense of harmony between areas, which was a priority for Armani.
The designer explained there used to be commercial offices on these floors, which were entirely overhauled. “I wanted the spaces to be integrated, so that you find the same elements in the rooms and outside, and there is no sense of extraneity,” said the designer. As with his fashion, Armani said he was not looking to follow so-called experts in design, or “fashionable trends, or something never seen before.” Meant to be long-lasting, his interiors “must be practical, logical, and rational without losing glamour and richness of quality.”
The hotel reflects not only Armani’s aesthetics, but also his own personal needs when traveling. “Here is what I would like to find: service, comfort, not a myriad buttons you don’t know what to do with,” he said.
Also very Armani are the colors — iconic “greige,” creamy brown, green and mother-of-pearl — and his sleek, linear shapes, as with his Thirties-inspired armchairs. There is an Oriental theme, too, as seen in the screens embellished with bamboos. “Relaxing,” is how the designer summed up the impression he would out to convey to guests. Minibars, high-tech amenities and cupboards are hidden, reflecting his sense of order and space.
The public areas are concentrated on the seventh and eighth floors in a new glass top to the building. The restaurant on the seventh floor draws on Milan’s culinary tradition, offering the city’s classic breaded veal cutlet or saffron rice. Of note is an elegant “chef’s table” within the kitchen itself. The designer’s latest project, bottled water, will be launched here. Both the Ristorante and Bamboo Bar — which have double-height, 23-foot-high ceilings, huge windows softened by louvered blinds and sections in backlit onyx — overlook the city’s skyline.
In the same building, there are also the existing Armani/Nobu restaurant and the Armani/Privé space.
The spa is on the eighth floor and covers almost 13,000 square feet, with six dedicated treatment rooms, a Couples Suite, a gym and a pool.
Coincidentally, the austere palazzo was originally shaped by the architectural ground plan as a large “A,” which is visible from the sky. “It’s convenient, isn’t it? But entirely accidental,” said Armani with a smile. A bamboo garden now grows on the rooftop.
A-shaped maps of the hotel dot the venue, together with the stylized shape of the Duomo on doors and at the entrance, for example.
Now that his dream of a hotel in Milan is completed, Armani is on to his next projects with Emaar. Further Armani hotels will open in key markets such as New York, London and Paris.
The first Armani Resort, planned for Marrakech, and the first Armani Residences Villas in Marassi, Egypt, are to be completed by 2014. Armani said that, for the first time, he designed the structures of the two resorts and not just the interiors, “maintaining the character of the place, as if they had always existed there.”
Ever energetic, Armani said that “looking back, I would still do what I did in fashion. Now, I’d like to have a fresh start as an architect.”