Nestled within a concrete jungle, the Intercontinental Dubai Marina uses its style and opulence to transport its guests away from the stresses of city life
Strolling across the sumptuous marble lobby of the brand-new Intercontinental Dubai Marina, it’s difficult not to feel as if you’ve been transported 1,000 miles away from the busy, bustling metropolis just outside. Dubbed ‘The Gallery’, the space is home to an expertly curated selection of art pieces and installations, which, while beguiling an obvious Arab influence, provide a feeling of being in a European museum. Splashes of light dance upon a great, reflective purple polygon, which towers over the area below, while, further down the hall, spirit-like stone sculptures dutifully keep watch over the guests passing below them.
While the art is easy to appreciate, all too often in spaces like this, the pieces are given too much prominence, making for a cold and clinical feeling. This is not the case at the Intercontinental, which has done well to curate an art collection that sits well with the surroundings, providing a space that’s both modern and welcoming.
Indeed, the same duality applies to the rooms themselves. Decked out with Star Trek-like touchpads, which control things like lights, heating and blinds, the bedrooms are a mass of square edges with clean, minimalist lines. Yet the materials that make up the furniture, as well as clever lighting, provide more warmth that you’d expect.
A case in point is the opulence of the bathrooms that come with even a standard room. Separated from the rest of the room by a large window, rather than a wall, the bathroom feels immense. On one side, by the window (which features automated blinds for privacy) sits a large, opulent standalone bath, finished in high-quality ceramic with splashings of stainless steel. On the other side is a shower cubicle almost big enough to be its own wet room, decked in tile and stone, with an infinity shower head sprinkling water on the entire space. Again, everything is square and straight—all edges—but little touches like the elegant water taps and the soft basins add a little homeliness to the experience, making it extremely welcoming.
Currently in soft launch mode, the Intercontinental Dubai Marina sees its grand opening later this year, when it will also launch a new restaurant, Marina Social. That eatery will mark Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s first foray into the Middle East. However, even as it is, the hotel has plenty to offer on the gastronomy front.
On the ground floor, where breakfast is served, sits Accents, a charming restaurant that has all you’d expect of an international hotel’s eating spot. However, with heavy, dark wood adorning the floors and walls, it feels much more opulent. It’s possible to see the influence of high-end European café culture, particularly with the view across Dubai Marina’s promenade. Looking out over the water, sitting among such stylish opulence, you could almost be tricked into thinking you were in Amsterdam.
If Accents represents the influence of high-end European café culture, the restaurant downstairs, Ynot, embodies the kookier side of European nightlife. With higgledy-piggledy furniture—a small table with stools here, an old leather armchair there—this is one of Dubai’s hidden gems, despite it being so new. The food on offer is a strong selection of tapas, perfect for sharing, or for pairing with one of the morethan 100 bottles of wine on the menu. For a more formal affair, try Ginters—also on the ground floor—which specialises in seafood. A luxurious sit-down restaurant it may be, but the real draw for many could be the startling array of gins on the menu, each of which comes with its own tailored recipe for the perfect G&T.
Finally, the hotel’s spa must be seen to be believed. A haven of peace and serenity, a session there is sure to cure any ills.
Despite belonging to a big-name chain, the Intercontinental Dubai Marina pulls off that rare trick of combining style and opulence to create something that feels much more boutique. That it sits among the towers of the Marina is of little consequence— the interior provides the perfect escape from the rat race outside.