Stayed a couple of nights here, nicely upgraded to a premier room. As expected, Armani's interior decor does not disappoint - the furnishings are stunning - the rooms are individual and stylish - although lacking in light. Roberto Cavalli likened the Armani hotel to a "psychiatric hospital" and it certainly does have this aspect to it too.
Service is slightly uneven - there are some exceptional staff but then some who let the side down. The problems are worsened by layout. You have to take a lift to the main lobby on the 7th floor which does not lead immediately to the reception area. When you first arrive you face a desk which is not a reception desk - what is it? who knows?
The lady who eventually greeted us was obviously quite stressed out. Can I help you please? she asked. In a top class hotel, she would have greeted me by name knowing that I was here to check in. Mr Armani certainly needs to recruit much more staff to improve service. She seemed unable to cope with so many customers arriving at the same time. Rooms were not ready and they had not anticipated how to deal with early check in. Yes, it is a popular hotel but the staff need to be trained properly so they are a) positive at all times b) smiling even under difficult conditions c) always seeking to please the customer. I detected a slight resistance in some staff to fulfil these basic customer service demands. Others did not appear to have a basic grasp of English - a weakness in an international hotel servicing customers from across the globe. Responsiveness to pre-reservation emails was extremely poor - always a sign of shoddy customer service.
My doubts were compounded when we arrived for 'appertivo' at the Armani bar. The furnishings and location are stunning but we felt that something was missing. What was it? Perhaps atmosphere was lacking - things seemed a bit sterile. Service at the bar was extremely slow - we received a menu after about 15 minutes. By contrast, when I visited Bulgari hotel, I just sat down in the lobby and someone immediately came up to me with a menu - very impressive. If the Armani hotel wishes to truly complete with Bulgari hotel, it needs to instil much more discipline and professionalism in staff members. They need to be more efficient and respond to customers immediately. There are too many people walking around looking important and doing nothing to add value to the business. These people should frankly help the other staff or find another job. Having said this, there are some staff who are professional - the door staff, for instance, were faultless and one lady at reception was superb. It is the interaction between reception and the bar area which needs to be improved.
The spa on the top floor is the piece de resistance of this Armani hotel. The facilities are extremely good - an impressive steam room, the loungers and the jacuzzi offer a spectacular location - although this becomes less spa-like during busy times. You have to be aware though that there are very few female therapists here which is unusual and can be off-putting. There is also a general lack of communication and instruction. The operation needs to be much more professional - it is too laid back and chaotic - as are other parts of the hotel.
This returns to Roberto Cavalli's "psychiatric hospital" taunt. There is some truth here. This is a young hotel and there are some mix-ups which really shouldn't happen at a deluxe five star hotel. I would say the facilities are five star plus but the service is three star. Mr Armani must either change some of the staff or re-train them to deliver the perfection that his customers deserve. The idea of the lifestyle manager is laudable, but I didn't even get to meet mine! Rather than have this, why not just stick to the tried and tested 'concierge' - it works in other hotels, why not Armani?
The corridors are dark and the rooms do sometimes resemble padded cells - to get anything to work you must master a clunky remote control. This is another area of improvement. If you wish to blend technological sophistication with cool interior decor, you need to get it right. The remote control is ugly and the television set-up is strangely one-dimensional - not many good quality graphics and all monochrome. It simply does not work well.
So, to sum up, what needs to improve is the staff's professionalism and the technology better matching the beauty of the luxurious interior. The principles are all right in Armani's philosophy, now he needs to really execute them to create the perfect hotel in Milan.
For background, I have stayed at Mandarin Oriental New York, KL, The James, New York, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong, Four Seasons, Bora Bora, Villa D'este, Cernobbio, Shangri-La Paris, Four Seasons, Seychelles, St Pancras Renaissance, London.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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