The elite of the UAE’s social set and fashion industry gathered at Palazzo Versace hotel in Dubai on Tuesday evening. The brand’s chief designer Donatella Versace had flown in for the occasion, which marked the official opening of the hotel in the city’s Cultural Village within Al Jadaf district.
“This hotel is amazing,” said Donatella, “It will hopefully become a number one tourist destination. I feel very fortunate to have had amazing people around me to make it happen, and I couldn’t have imagined the hotel would be anything better. That’s all I can say, apart from that I wish you all a very good evening.”
The lobby has been transformed into an orchid-filled designer showcase; iconic dresses from the Italian house’s 38-year history and pieces from Versace’s most recent couture collection were draped onto mannequins.
Guests attending the soirée appeared enamoured with their surroundings as they took pictures of the hotel’s key features, from the imposing black and gold Medusa carpet at the entrance to the billowing gallery of printed silk screens that framed the azure swimming pool.
Vogue Arabia’s new editor Saudi princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, television reporter Riz Khan and thobe designer Hatem Alakeel were some of the VIPs mingling on the column-filled, Roman terrace.
Wearing a shimmering blue and burgundy sequinned gown, styled with a wavy bob and smokey eyes, Donatella enjoyed the party from the privacy of a cordoned-off section. She was surrounded by the glitterati of the modelling world including Alessandra Ambrosio, Natasha Poly and Helena Christensen.
Also in attendance was Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi, chairman of Emirates Investments Group and ENSHAA, which counts Palazzo Versace among its commercial interests.
“The official opening of the Palazzo Versace marks a new era in hospitality for Dubai.” said Al Qassimi, “The Palazzo Versace is more than a hotel; it is symbolic of the Versace lifestyle,”
Throughout the evening, chefs from Palazzo Versace’s eight restaurants served up delicacies from hot stations in a designated alfresco dining area.
Glass tables with tasselled-cushion chairs were set with twinkling candles and sprays of yellow roses. Guests dined from Versace crockery embellished with brocade gold swirls and sipped from the brand’s signature glassware which was etched with the brand’s trademark Greek-key pattern.
Proving popular with the masses were seared scallops on mini polenta cakes, oven-baked Italian pizza, homemade fresh tortellini formaggio and cones of chocolate gelato studded with brownie chunks.
Palazzo Versace is the second property for the maison worldwide, following the launch of a debut resort on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2000. More destinations are believed to be in the pipeline for the coming years, including Macau.
Donatella was instrumental in the look and feel of the Dubai property, which is elegant, neoclassical and undeniably extravagant.
The hotel’s 215 bedrooms boast bespoke furniture, parquet, mosaic and marble floors, with Versace’s Medusa head insignia adorning fixtures and fittings. Nature features prominently in Donatella’s vision with horse motifs, peacocks and birds accenting bed throws, upholstery and wall panels.
As the party wound-down, some partygoers retreated to waterfront cabana’s to nibble on pistachio macaroons, while others headed for home, collecting goody bags containing a Versace notepad, pen and gourmet chocolates on their way.
Double rooms at the Palazzo Versace begin from Dh1,350 excluding taxes. For details go to www.palazzoversace.com