Words by Aneesha Rai
With an iconic brand name, the Ritz Carlton Dubai was conceptualised in 2005 by Gensler and HBA. When they were initially deciding with what design to go for, they drew their inspiration from its famous hotels in London and Paris. As the norm with most Ritz Carlton hotels around the globe goes, the hotels boast a classical meets contemporary style. Seeing as Dubai is on the edge of innovation and the future, the creative teams decided to go with a 1940s French art deco style. The limestone building is imposing, with its 14 storeys and 341 rooms. The hotel is the only one connected to the buzzing Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It also includes a total of 2,000 square metres of meeting and conference space, in addition to a 1,400 sqm grand ballroom, meeting rooms and business centre. Surrounded by desert flora, it brings in a mix of Arabian heritage and French culture.
Bringing a strong contrast to the contemporary buildings that surround it, the Ritz Carlton Dubai is chic and remarkable. The main lobby is created as a debut to French Art Deco interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. The Limestone walls and floors are accented with Frank-inspired straw pattern inlaid wood, that create a fan-like pattern, while elevator doors in polished metal feature his hallmark starburst pattern. Marvel up the grand staircase, observe the frosted crystal branches that reach across the ceiling, admire the futuristic fountain and ogle at the sleek art deco mosaics. One of the most unique design facets of the hotel is a 10-storey outdoor waterfall cascading down the building directly facing the lobby. The hotel features a total of eight water features, making it integrate both nature and modern day living in line with feng shui design principles that indicate the flow wealth and prosperity. In February 2015, the hotel announced a partnership with the Miraj Art Gallery to offer guests tours of its historical collection, making it a hub for local artists. The hotel also additionally own more than 130 unique art pieces.
Grandeur amasses the entire hotel with all its trimmings where East meets West; including its Oriental carpetry and fine crystal chandeliers. The chandeliers are influenced by the jewelry of Cartier and Bulgari. On the mezzanine level, guests will access a dedicated business zone that hosts a 24 hour business centre and eight meeting rooms. Go up another level, and get spoilt by the numerous restaurants they have to offer. On this podium level, the Lobby Lounge and Terrace is delightful, with its comfortable seating and soothing lighting. The area also hosts the Thai restaurant Blue Rain, Center Cut steakhouse and No 5 Cigar Bar. Other dining options include the delightful Cafe Belge and the al fresco Sunken Room.
Spacious and armed with delightful floor to ceiling views, all the rooms at DIFC feature sophisticated art deco furniture with a modern twist. The marble lined bathrooms with in-built mirror TVs and Roman curtains that sashay against the windows will make you truly believe that you are living in opulence. Accessibility to DIFC is through a shared walkway. The minute you enter the hotel, you'll know there is no other place quite like it in Dubai.