Dubai Preview: Palazzo Versace

Designer hotel wars continue apace, with Signore Armani opening in Milano this fall, and a London Bulgari Hotel scheduled for early 2012. But surely the most extravagant of them all will be Dubai’s Palazzo Versace, also expected to debut in early 2012.

More like a mini Versailles than a hotel, we got word that the first show residence is now ready for viewing, and thus thought a sneak peak would be in order. Hardly surprisingly, the debut 4,732 square foot private living space has no truck with minimalist restraint. Rather, it unabashedly flaunts a sort of Habsburg-by-way-of-South-Beach-by-way-of-Athenian-Empire glamour, centered on a grand reception room (we do hope “drawing rooms” will make a comeback). Mosaics, marble floors, and exclusive Versace furniture (think: silk armchairs) abound.

The 5.5 hectare resort itself is ensconced in the new Culture Village, Dubai’s fanciful effort to add a cultural sheen to its seemingly mercenary character. Plans call for 213 lavish suites (in addition to 169 private residences), plus a spa, a Versace ready-to-wear and jewelry boutique, an Italian restaurant, and assorted pool-adjacent tippling options. Oh, and naturally, a private marina.

Next year will mark the 15th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s tragic murder. In the resplendent grandiosity of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, clearly, his august spirit will live on.

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