City es­cape

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

Virtuozity - - DESTINATION -

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.

The use of fine ma­te­ri­als and clever light­ing gives the rooms a wel­com­ing feel.

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