Fashion is fiercely personal. Style knows no limits and sets no expectations. It's a feeling, a personal emotion and in some cases, a sense of security. If you are what you wear, and you are stylish, why not travel in style, too?
Over the past few years, fashion has made an impression on hotels. Versace did it. Bulgari and Armani did it. Missoni and Diane von Furstenburg continue to do it. The designer hotel fad was originally kicked off by Donatella Versace, who opened the extravagant Palazzo Versace on Australia's Gold Coast in 2000. Bulgari followed suit when it hooked up with Marriott and slowly, more designers made their way into hotel rooms, this time for design purposes. The Villa by Barton G, otherwise known as the Versace Mansion in South Beach, is now open as a hotel for guests and features the same style and patterns from the Gianni Versace days.
The Armani Group recently launched its first hotel in the famous Burj Khalifa, complete with rooms designed by Giorgio Armani himself. Missoni gets ready to unveil their hotel rooms in the Hotel Missoni Kuwait, and Bulgari continues to make an impression in villas in Italy and Bali. While Gucci continues to push its way into the hotel industry (despite a recent lawsuit filed by the Gucci company forbidding Elisabetta Gucci from using the family name to launch the hotel series), Diane von Furstenberg finally opened up her closet to one of London's most prestigious hotels. Whether or not you know designers was irrelevant when Sarah Jessica Parker's famous Sex and The City character Carrie Bradshaw glided through Paris's Plaza Athenee during her rendezvous with "The Russian," Mikhail Baryshnikov. Now that the series has ended, it's OK to admit you wished you were there in those clothes, in that room. The good news is you can be.
As designer-decorated hotels continue to pop up around the world, boutique brands are launching their own fashion-inspired concepts for guests who want to play with style without spending luxury prices. Hotels including New York's Fashion26, for example, weaves the concept of fashion and design into its decor (both in the rooms and in the common areas), offering a glimpse of various up-and-coming designers from its neighbor, The Fashion Institute of Technology. It's purpose: to inspire guests embrace their own individuality through fashion, whatever that may be.
So, whether you indulge in luxury threads or sway more bohemian in style, what you wear and how you wear it makes an impression. Like it or not, the threads on your back shape you - good, bad or otherwise - and the same logic holds true in the travel industry. Where will you stay next, and what will you wear? The options are endless, but forever stylish.
<a href="http://www.armanihotels.com/" target="_hplink">Giorgio Armani</a>'s first hotel in Dubai made the fashion industry stand up and take notice. Every detail of the hotel was said to be personally chosen by Armani to reflect his specific style and taste.
The rooms and common areas of the Armani hotel are furnished with Armani Casa pieces including oak tables with liquid metal finish, created exclusively for the hotel. Much like the design of his clothes, the rooms are decorated with clean lines, simple colors, and unique textures.
The <a href="http://www.bulgarihotels.com/" target="_hplink">Bulgari Hotels</a> in Milano and Bali feature contemporary design with a classic twist from the famous Italian jeweler. Branded as an "unexpected oasis of exclusive tranquility" the Bulgari rooms are set in historic landmarks and offer guests all the amenities of a luxury property, including private restaurants, pools and service.
The Bulgari rooms were designed by architects Antonio Citterio and Partners, and features rare and precious materials in each room. Black marble and oak provide an intimate setting for the bedrooms, while teak and leather grace the spa and common areas.
The DvF bedrooms at London's <a href="http://www.claridges.co.uk/" target="_hplink">Claridge's Hotel</a> offer a Diane von Furstenberg custom designed cashmere blanket, and all the light fixtures were created exclusively for the rooms using Murano glass. Von Furstenberg put her private touch on the bedrooms with boxes, trinkets and trays that were hand-crafted from her travels. The drapes, linens and dressings are all part of DVF's exclusive textile collection and will be available to consumers later this fall.
Diane von Furstenberg entered iconic status with the invent of the wrap-dress, and now the legendary designer has taken her creations from the catwalk to Claridge's London. Each guestroom features contemporary prints, Chinese florals and animal prints. According to Claridge's, each room was inspired by Diane von Furstenberg's travels.
Opening Winter 2010, <a href="http://www.hotelmissoni.com/" target="_hplink">Hotel Missoni Kuwait</a> is the second property and the first resort to be launched under the Missoni brand. Hotel Missoni Kuwait offers 169 rooms and suites, all of which have sea views and are dressed in a palette of gold, turquoise and beige and are accented with bold, emphatic patterns.
Each guest room has an in-suite bathroom featuring either a bath or a shower with a bench seat, rain shower and handheld shower. Custom-scented Missoni bath amenities were specially created for Hotel Missoni Kuwait.
It's the room that started a frenzy. When the final two episodes of "Sex and the City" were filmed in Paris, Carrie Bradshaw stayed in room 625 of Paris' famed <a href="http://www.plaza-athenee-paris.com/" target="_hplink">Plaza Athénée</a>, now available for those who want live out their Bradshaw-fantasies (Russian not included). A nod to the trendy fashionista, the hotel launched the new Eiffel Suite 361 last year, which comes with its own grand piano, fully-equipped office, and game table. The pieèce de resistance, however, is the enormous dressing room.
The Palazzo Versace Hotel in Australia's Gold Coast are everything you'd expect a Versace room to be. The bathroom sinks are each made from a huge one piece of marble and the rooms are furnished with a special Versace range designed exclusively for the hotel by the House of Versace in Milan.
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