Armani Hotel goes for the understated

A rare early glimpse reveals a lobby with a rather understated welcome.

Giorgio Armani's designs on the catwalk rarely fail to dazzle, which is why the launch of the Italian fashion mogul's first hotel has been among the most highly anticipated Dubai openings of the year. But does it live up to his brand of opulent glitz? The great and the good will flock to the launch party tonight, with Mr Armani in attendance. The opening had been set for last Wednesday, but Iceland's volcanic eruption scuppered the launch plans as flight cancellations meant the man behind the vision, and other high-profile guests, would not have been able to attend.

A rare early glimpse offered to reporters yesterday revealed alobby with a rather understated welcome. The shades of brown and taupe, with bronze coloured walls, are mute. The designs are certainly sleek, but they are subdued compared with those of Dubai's many other opulent hotels. There are no mirrors, no pictures and few decorative features - this is all part of the "feng shui" ethos that permeates the building, say the staff, who are clad in stylish Armani clothing.

Armani fanatics will delight in the fact that everything in the hotel, down to the soap, has been designed by Giorgio himself. The views of the Burj Khalifa fountains are also spectacular, and the restaurants, which include Japanese and an Armani fine-dining venue, are sure to be popular. Certainly, the brand, the hotel's location and the publicity surrounding the property suggest the hotel is likely to attract many.

Ultimately, whether perfection has been achieved is something visitors will have to decide for themselves.