20 Jul 2024 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Home | Print Subscriptions | FREE Digital/Email Subscriptions | News | Jobs | Features | Advertise | Leisure Media Studio | About | Contact

Leisure Media Features

Leisure Media - The High Life

Luxury brands

The High Life

From Armani to Versace, luxury brands are taking the leisure market by storm. We round up a few of their high end offers

For luxury goods companies looking to extend their brands, going into leisure is a logical step. Opening a branded hotel, spa or club is a great way to showcase their brands to new audiences, and offer existing customers a lifestyle beyond their products.

We take a look at some of the most exclusive offers to date – plus one that didn’t work out quite out so well.


Luxury crystal glassware manufacturer Baccarat is the latest high end brand to enter the hotel and resorts market, with its first Baccarat Hotel due to open in New York later this year.

Baccarat dates back to 1764, when King Louis XV authorised the Bishop of Metz to set up a glassworks in the French village of Baccarat. Since then, the company has been commissioned by international royalty, including King Louis XVIII, King Charles X and the Russian Court, and has collaborated with contemporary designers including Philippe Starck to update its pieces. It was bought by investment firm Starwood Capital in 2005.

The Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York is located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street and 5th Avenue. The 50-storey tower was designed for Baccarat by architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and houses 114 hotel rooms and 60 private residences designed by Tony Ingrao.

The hotel will feature a Baccarat Spa, designed by Swedish-based consultancy Raison d’Etre, plus a signature restaurant, a standalone ‘Crystal Bar’ and a fitness centre.

The Baccarat Hotel Rabat in Morocco is due to open in 2016. It will offer 135 guest rooms within an ‘urban resort’ featuring a ballroom, a B Bar, a speciality restaurant and an all day dining restaurant, a tea lounge, a spa, a swimming pool with a poolside bar, retail and chocolate shops. Kilo architects are responsible for the architecture, while Anouska Hempel Design has designed the interiors.

Rabat’s Baccarat-branded spa will feature three Moroccan hammams, eight single treatment rooms, two VIP treatment rooms, an alchemy area, an indoor and outdoor pool, a beauty and hair salon and fitness and yoga studios.

A further Baccarat Hotel & Residences is due to open within the Dubai Pearl in Dubai in 2016. It will feature 357 rooms and suites, a swimming pool and a rooftop restaurant.


Owners of the Baccarat Residences will have access to all of the hotel’s amenities and services

The Italian fashion house opened its first Versace hotel, the Palazzo Versace, on Australia’s Gold Coast in September 2000, claiming to be the world’s first fashion-branded hotel. It was a collaboration between Gianni Versace and Australian development company the Sunland Group.

The luxury five star hotel is popular with celebrities, with U2, the Rolling Stones and Sir Anthony Hopkins among its guests, and is used for the UK series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (the celebrities stay there when they leave the jungle).

It has 200 rooms and suites, 72 condominiums, an Aurora Spa Retreat, a private marina, a fitness and wellbeing centre, three restaurants and a 65m outdoor lagoon pool with a sandy beach.

Palazzo Versace Dubai was launched in 2006 by Emirates Sunland Group. It was originally due to open in 2009, but was delayed several times. In 2011, Enshaa Services Group took control of the project in a swap deal that saw the Emirates Sunland Group take full ownership of the Gold Coast Versace hotel (it was previously part owner of the Australian hotel). In March 2012, Enshaa said it would open the hotel by the end of 2013, but in May 2013 Versace CEO Gian Giacomo Ferraris announced that the opening had been pushed back to the end of 2014.

According to the developer, the hotel is on track to open later this year – the website features detailed construction updates, and it does look as though things are progressing. Only time will tell whether 2014 will be the year we finally see the long-awaited property open its doors.

The hotel will feature 215 suites, 168 condominiums, a range of restaurants and a Palazzo Versace Spa.


The five star Palazzo Versace in Australia is suitably opulent

The Cavalli Restaurant & Lounge – the latest venue from Italian designer Roberto Cavalli – opened in Miami’s South Beach in December 2013. The club represents Cavalli’s ‘entertainment and nightlife’ concept, and features an Italian restaurant on the ground floor and a first floor cocktail lounge.

The venue was designed by Roberto Cavalli together with Milanese architect Italo Rota (whose other work includes the renovation of Paris’s Musee D’Orsay). It’s a showcase for Cavalli’s flamboyant designs, with chairs covered in the designer’s signature animal print and pillows, wall coverings and floor designs all taken directly from the Roberto Cavalli home collection.

Cavalli made his first foray into leisure in 2002, when he opened the Cavalli Caffè Giacosa in Florence, followed by a Just Cavalli café in Milan in 2003.

The Cavalli Club Dubai opened in 2009, the result of a collaboration between Roberto Cavalli and the Pragma Group. In December 2010, the two parties announced the signing of a new license agreement for the opening of five new Cavalli Clubs and 15 Cavalli Caffes worldwide. Since then they’ve opened Cavalli Caffes in New Delhi and Beirut (in January 2013), and two further cafés in St Tropez and Kuwait City in June 2013.


Armani Hotels & Resorts was established in 2005 under an agreement between Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani and property developer Emaar Properties.

The first hotel, the Armani Hotel Dubai, opened in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in April 2010. The 160 room hotel occupies 10 levels of the 160 storey building, and features seven restaurants and lounges including a Japanese, an Indian and an Italian restaurant, as well as an Armani spa.

For those who want to live the Armani lifestyle full time, 144 luxury residential apartments sit alongside the hotel, all designed by Giorgio Armani and all kitted out with furnishings and products from the Armani/Casa home furnishings range.

The second Armani hotel opened in the designer’s home town of Milan in November 2011. The Armani Hotel Milano has 95 rooms and an Armani/Ristorante on the seventh floor, offering views across the city. It also features an Armani/Nobu restaurant, an Armani/Lounge and an Armani/Spa with six treatment rooms, a couples’ suite, a fitness room and a pool.

Back in 2010, Emaar announced that it was planning to build a third Armani Hotel, but when contacted, a spokesperson said they couldn’t comment on the expansion of the brand.


Giorgio Armani chose his home town of Milan for the opening of the second Armani Hotel

Giorgio Armani chose his home town of Milan for the opening of the second Armani Hotel

In 2001, Italian jeweller Bulgari teamed up with Luxury Group (the luxury division of Marriott International) to launch Bulgari Hotels & Resorts.

The first Bulgari Hotel opened in Milan in 2004, in a renovated 18th century Milanese palazzo. It has 58 rooms and suites, an Italian restaurant, a bar, a lounge and a private garden. It also features a fitness centre and the Bulgari Hotel Milan Spa offering ESPA treatments, with five treatment rooms, a gold-tiled pool and a hammam.

This was followed in 2006 by the Bulgari Resort in Bali, which features 59 villas, two restaurants, a bar, a Bulgari Spa, a cliff edge pool, a fitness centre and a Bulgari store.

French luxury giant LVMH acquired Bulgari in 2011, making it the owner of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. In 2012, the Bulgari Hotel opened in London, joining the ranks of London’s most expensive five star hotels. It features 85 rooms and suites, a bar, a restaurant and a lounge, a private screening room, a ballroom and a business centre. It also features the 2,000 sq m, two-storey Bulgari Spa with 11 treatment rooms, a private spa suite for two and a 25m mosaic tiled pool.

A 120 room hotel is scheduled to open in Shanghai in 2015, on the top 12 floors of a 40 storey building designed by Foster+Partners. It will feature a 2,000sq m spa with an indoor swimming pool and is part of an ageement between Bulgari and Chinese developer the OCT Group.


The Bulgari Resort in Bali has its own private beach

The partnerships between luxury brands and traditional operators don’t always work out, as the experience of the Missoni Hotels shows.

The first Hotel Missoni launched in Edinburgh in late 2009, the result of a partnership between the Italian fashion label and the Rezidor Hotel Group. The second followed a year later in Kuwait – both were designed by Missoni co-founder Rosita Missoni and feature the instantly recognisable Missoni zigzag prints.

In February 2014, however, it was announced that Rezidor and Missoni had agreed to terminate the licence agreement for the development and operation of the brand Hotel Missoni by mutual consent. The two existing hotels will stop using the Missoni name by June 30, but will continue to be part of the Rezidor portfolio. Plans for further Missoni Hotels in Oman, Turkey, Brazil and Qatar will no longer go ahead.

The Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh will be rebranded as a boutique property.

“This decision is in line with our long-term strategy and focus on our core brands Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson,” said Wolfgang M. Neumann, president & CEO officer of Rezidor. “We’d like to thank Missoni for their trust in our group and the close cooperation over the past years.”


A five year partnership between Missoni and Rezidor will end in June

The Dior Institut opened in the historic Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris in 2008, following a long association between the hotel and Christian Dior. The Maison Dior opened on the same street as the hotel in 1947, and the French designer was a big fan, taking his best clients there for lunch and using it as a location to photograph models in his creations.

The Dior Institut launched in 2008, with five treatment rooms, including a couples’ suite, a fitness centre, sauna and steamroom. The design is pale, calming and luxurious, and echoes the design of the Dior stores, with lots of whites accented with hints of pale pink and grey.

The Hotel Plaza Athénée – and the Dior Institut – is currently closed for restoration work, and is due to reopen in May this year.

In 2011, a Dior Institut opened in the Es Saadi Palace Spa hotel in Marrakech in 2011. The Dior Institut has its own reception area, two treatment rooms, a make up studio and an outdoor terrace. It offers a range of treatments, with a focus on anti-ageing care, as well as make up lessons and beauty makeovers.


The white and silver decor is trademark Dior

Originally published in Leisure Management 2014 issue 2
Current issues

06 Apr 2020 issue 153

Current issue
Back issues

Attractions Management
2024 issue 2

Current issue
Back issues

2020 issue 1

Current issue
Back issues

Fit Tech
2023 issue 1

Current issue
Back issues

Health Club Management
2024 issue 6

Current issue
Back issues

Leisure Management
2018 issue 1

Current issue
Back issues

Leisure Opportunities
June 2021 issue 790

Current issue
Back issues
The Leisure Media Company, Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ.
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 Fax: +44 (0)1462 433909 |
About us | © Cybertrek Ltd