Versace’s iconic medusa head logo is a constant companion at the Palazzo Versace Dubai hotel. Her face is printed onto key cards, embroidered onto pillow cases and bathrobes, etched into shower doors, and picked out in mosaics on the swimming pool floor. The mythological character was chosen by Gianni Versace because whoever set eyes on her was subsequently unable to escape; he hoped consumers would respond to his creations in much the same way. In the hotel, the emblem becomes a clear statement of intent – the property is an extension of the Versace lifestyle proposition, and intended to be every bit as opulent and appealing as the brand’s clothing and accessories.
“For me, Palazzo Versace is the most incredible vision of the Versace world that we have yet to create. It is everything that I adore – craftsmanship, sophistication, energy and a passion for total luxury in life,” Donatella Versace told us when the property was officially opened just over a year ago, with a lavish party that welcomed the likes of Helena Christensen, Natasha Poly and Alessandra Ambrosio.
Modelled on a 16th-century Italian palace and interspersed with Arabian-influenced architectural elements, the imposing triple-fronted property sits statuesquely on the shores of the Dubai Creek. Its lobby is exactly what you would expect – neoclassical-style furniture is set on floors crafted from Italian Cremo Delicato marble; textiles look like they have been transposed directly from the Versace runway; colonnades call to mind ancient Roman ruins; and a grand chandelier, consisting of an incredible 3,000-kilograms-worth of hand-blown Bohemian glass, cascades from a ceiling that has been hand-detailed in gold.
The hotel’s location in Dubai’s Culture City holds a certain novelty value – it feels like you have escaped into a hidden corner of the city that no one else knows about. The views reinforce this idea; instead of looking out over the oft-seen skyline of new Dubai, the Palazzo Versace offers views out across the Creek towards Garhoud, Deira and, in the far distance, Sharjah, presenting a less familiar and more authentic perspective of the city. A respect for both the past and the present defines the property, and the Versace brand as a whole, said Donatella, and this was a big part of why Dubai was selected as the location for Versace’s second hotel (the first is to be found on Australia’s Gold Coast).
“Dubai is the perfect city to make this dream come to life,” said Donatella. “It is one of the most exciting cities on the planet. It represents a deep respect for tradition, and a total obsession with the future. This mix of tradition and the future is also what defines the Versace world.”
Donatella’s stamp is apparent on every inch of the 215-room hotel. Sketches of designs from her Atelier Versace haute couture collection line corridors, while her actual creations can be acquired in the hotel’s boutiques, which stock Versace-branded clothing, jewellery and homeware.
“I love to design pieces for interiors,” Donatella explained. “It is a different way of thinking than when I am designing for the catwalk. There is a timelessness to interiors that I love. I always think about what happens when people are experiencing the Versace life. I think about how people feel when they wear our clothes. I also think about how they will feel in our hotels, surrounded by this extraordinary craftsmanship and splendour. I want people to have the best time of their lives at Palazzo Versace. I want them to experience pure joy.”
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the hotel’s 65 suites. In the Executive, Grand Executive and Grand suites, parquet flooring is paired with a canvas of beautiful boiserie, and decorated in a stunning palette of turquoise, blue, beige, gold and salmon. Bed spreads are silken and sumptuous, while headboards are elaborate and intricately carved. The overall effect is sensual and inviting, but also more restrained and subtle than one might expect from a brand famed for its flamboyance.
Located on the ninth floor, the hotel’s Signature Suites measure up to 300 square metres, and feature an entrance hall, powder room, living room and bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. Luxurious design touches include Cremo Delicato, Giallo Siena or Verde Laguna marble on the floors, and walls dressed with intricate wallpapers.
This Versace-inspired opulence comes to a natural conclusion in the two Imperial Suites located on the top floor of the Palazzo Versace. Set over two stories and measuring 1,200 square metres each, with a grand marble staircase connecting the two levels and acting as an anchor for the design, the Imperial Suites feature a dining room, living room, office area, lounge and entertainment rooms, private gym and sauna, as well as a master bedroom with walk-in closets. The highlight of the space, however, is an outdoor terrace that is home to a private pool and garden area. One of the suites carries a traditional, neoclassical design, while the second offers a contemporary aesthetic, courtesy of a more neutral colour scheme and furnishings from Versace Home’s understated Via Gesu collection.
The hotel is currently offering a special winter offer, inviting guests to experience the “Versace lifestyle” for as little as Dh1,250 per night. Valid until April 2018, the offer includes accommodation, complimentary transfers to Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, and a free shuttle service to The Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City and Dubai Parks and Resorts. In addition, guests are eligible for discounts of 20 per cent at the hotel’s restaurants and on massages at the spa, so they can fully immerse themselves in every inch of this luxurious, fashion-infused environment.