Design + Architecture

Fashion Hotels

by Mark Ellwood

CHIC CHAINS

Most one-off designer hotels and suites are mostly marketing gimmick (case in point: The Nicky O in South Beach has hired Cavalli, Heatherette, and Fendi to do "specialty" rooms). But a few labels are taking the concept seriously—and pulling it off with panache. Funnily enough, they're all Italian: Three years ago, Bulgari, the Rome-based jeweler known for its chunky, avant-garde designs, teamed up with Ritz-Carlton for its first hotel, in Milan's artsy Brera district. It's now one of the city's swankiest spots, with a lobby dominated by slabs of gleaming black Zimbabwean marble and a constant crowd of beautiful people. A second location just opened in Bali: a Zen cluster of 59 luxury villas perched on a cliff top on the island's far southwestern tip. Meanwhile, the Ferragamo family's Lungarno Hotels chain continues to expand across Italy. They own some of the best hotels in Florence (including the Savoy and the Gallery Hotel Art), and in July 2006 brought their look of contemporary cool to Rome: The 14-room Portrait Suites sits above the Ferragamo store. Finally, long rumored to be an aspiring hotelier, Giorgio Armani has committed to a partner (Dubai-based megadeveloper Emaar) and at least three sites (Milan, Dubai, and Marrakesh). As is his wont, Armani is playing the details close to his vest (okay—his black T-shirt), but you might be able to sleep in one of his beds sometime in 2008.

Bulgari Hotel Milano
Tel: 39 02 805 80514
Doubles from $800

Bulgari Resort Bali
Tel: 62 361 847 1000
Doubles from $1,200

Portrait Suites
Tel: 39 06 693 80742
Doubles from $465

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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