Either Fashion companies enlarging their portfolio with the acquisition of Hotels, either fashion creative directors designing luxury boutique hotels around the world, the trend is definitely going towards this direction: Experience luxury lifestyle.
This subject particularly catches my attention, since the fusion of the fashion designers style and taste with interior decoration and services, can absolutely result in a winning strategy and can create some really amazing places and atmospheres.
The creator, the first one having the “vision”of fashion’s taste and style projected into hotellerie was Guido Molinari, father of the fashion designer Anna, who in the ’50s opened a fashion hotel in Capri, to host the clients of their company.
He was then followed by many others: Krizia with the K Club on the Barbuda Island, Alberta Ferretti with Palazzo Viviani, in a medieval village in the center of Italy and finally Ferragamo, which invested into luxury hotellerie chain opening the Lungarno Collection (about 8 hotels in the portfolio) in Florence and Rome and the Borro luxury farm in Arezzo, which is part of the Relais & Chateau club.
In Milan we can find the 3 Rooms boutique hotel, made by the fashion guru Carla Sozzani in the 10 Corso Como concept store. The 3 luxury apartments are provided with a catalogue in which hosts can look up the furniture pieces and know who designed them: Verner Panton rugs, Fontana lamps, and Eames bedspreads… Sozzani has also opened another boutique hotel in Paris in collaboration with designer Azzedine Alaïa, the Five Rue de Moussy, in the Marais district.
The labels which, in my opinion, are doing the best job in the hotellerie field are Bulgari and Armani. The brands have been able to create really well performing and reknown hotel chains, not just because of the brand awareness around their names, but for the high luxury services they provide to the clients.
In 2001 the Rome-based jeweler known for its avant-garde designs signed a joint venture agreement with Marriott Luxury Group to launch a new brand: Bulgari Hotels & Resorts and opened its first hotel, in Milan’s artistic Brera district. The choice to partner with one of the best hotel luxury chains already existing, was to me very strategic to guarantee the high standards they have reached in their hotels. A second location was opened in Bali: a Zen cluster of 59 luxury villas perched on a cliff top on the beautiful island. The company then opened Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka and a third hotel location in London, in the heart of Knightsbridge. The extremely successful joint venture of luxury hotels plans to open also in Shaingai, Beijing and Dubai during 2016 and 2017.
Similarly, Armani, has literally taken the concept to new heights by opening its flagship hotel in Dubai’s tower Burj Khalifa (was the tallest building on earth), signing a partnership with Emirates-based Emaar Properties. In 2011 the brand opened another hotel in Milan, right next to the Armani Island in Via Manzoni, enlarging their reign in the very heart of Milan.
“A hotel is an entity that goes beyond the confines of fashion. It’s something that will endure over time.” (G. Armani)
Hotels are not just a profitable way to enlarge the company’s portfolio, nowadays HNWI (High net worth individuals) are more and more attracted from the experiential side of luxury and hotels give the chance and a better base from which truly sell a lifestyle that reflects the values and heritage of the brands.
Sources and Photo credits