They're the world wonders of a fashionable traveler -- the hotels and resorts designed or owned by an international fashion designer.Here are some of those properties you'll want to watch as their temperatures and reputations rise.
Set in the hills of Montegridolfo, 30 minutes from the Adriatic town of Rimini, Italian designer Alberta Ferretti creates an A-list sanctuary within a 13th-century hilltop castle. The property encompasses a hillside promontory surrounded by stone walls overlooking a rolling hillside dotted with abandoned fortresses and historic chapels. The hotel was built as the seat of the Gridolfi family, who were involved in a series of wars and battles that ultimately saw the castle ransacked and repeatedly destroyed. The lobby is exquisitely assembled in Gustavian antiques on raw oak floors with hand-woven rugs interrupted by stone thresholds.
Opening in late 2008, Armani Hotels & Resorts will debut its first property within the UAE's new Burj Dubai. Slated to open within the world's tallest commercial building or residential tower, Armani Hotel will occupy the first 37 floors of a building that's slated to change the face of Dubai's resort-minded hospitality scene. The hotel and accompanying residences will be the first of seven Giorgio Armani-designed projects by partner Emaar Properties scheduled for Milan, London and New York. While not the actual owner of the chain that bears his name, Giorgio Armani is in charge of all design aspects related to the resort properties including the Burj Dubai where he has also been tapped to design the tower's lobby and common areas. A few sneak previews of the property show pristine suites decorated in signature Armani Casa furnishings with heavy use of raw stone and marble. There's also an in-house spa and two gourmet eateries in the works.
Located five miles from central Verona, a 15th-century Venetian villa is resurrected into a museum-quality playground by Byblos fashion heir Dino Facchini.
|Byblos Art Hotel|
It's the perfect pairing of iconic fashion label and established hotel developer; in this case Missoni and its worldwide license agreement with RezidorSAS.
Tucked away on a bustling alleyway opposite Harry's Bar just off San Marco Square, Hotel Monaco is accessed by a private gondola dock on Venice's Grand Canal.
If not yet familiar with the Lungarno Hotels (http://www.lungarnohotels.com), operated by the Ferragamo fashion family, it's a name you'll want to become familiar with if traveling to Italy. Its latest outpost in Rome is a residential-style hotel occupying an ornate 14-room townhouse with as much attention to detail as a custom-made Ferragamo suit. The hotel is located above the family's Salvatore Ferragamo men's store, although guests enter through a discreet doorway and into a mezzanine reception located around the corner. Don't come expecting the designer gluttony of Palazzo Versace or Bulgari Hotels. Designed by Michele Bönan, rooms feature pale-wooden floors with bright carpets and extravagantly upholstered chairs opposite fur-trimmed sofas. Curtains are cut from silk-scarves while boar-skin table-lamp combinations are subtle hints of Ferragamo's day job. Walls feature black-and-white photos of the family's celebrity clientele since the '20s with picture windows overlooking the Roman cityscape. It may not be the biggest designer hotel you've seen, but it's by far the most subtle and exclusive.