TRIED & TESTED
Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai; Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait; British Airways’ B747-400 Club World; Jumeirah Carlton Tower London
The only word to describe the interiors from WA International is exceptional
BACKGROUND Seasoned expats and visitors will recall the brand’s Deira property but this one in Business Bay – which officially launches on December 4 – marks the brand’s renaissance with sharp designs, modern F&B and lifestyle focus. WHAT’S IT LIKE? You can get dizzy looking at Gulf hotels but the only word to describe the interiors from WA International is exceptional. It’s not just eyecatching for the sake of it, but cleverly conceptualised to tie in with the UAE, from the glass-tube sand dunes effect in the lobby and wooden-carved Dubai skyline, to the flamingo and camel artworks in the rooms. The encased fire display near the lobby is another arresting feature. Supported by a fabulous team, who were engaged throughout our brief stay, the whole place puts you at ease. WHERE IS IT? Just beyond the Steigenberger Hotel and not far from the eye-catching Opus by Zaha Hadid (due to open this time next year). The promenade at the back is perfect for walking along this winter – nice touch with the deckchairs – and you feel this district is really taking shape now. ROOM FACILITIES We stayed in a 19th floor Deluxe Suite which offered Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai views not only from the bedroom but also from the large walk-in shower, which had a remote control blind. The TV is within a vast panoramic fixture, although this was the only occasion when design and functionality didn’t gel as the remote control struggled to work from the bed. The stand-alone searchlight is novel. Corridor walls have an industrial touch – the tower was originally planned as offices – and there’s a pleasant mix of stone and carpets. In all there are 298 rooms with 65 suites.
RESTAURANTS We started with a welcome coffee at Grounded (cold, warm and flavoured choices) and enjoyed discreet sandwiches and tasty pastries. My son ordered a Pizza Margherita to the room and it came quickly in a #RenDXB trolley.
Prior to dinner on the terrace at Bhar (Arabic for ‘spice’), we had a tasting with sommelier Tara-Maria who guided us through three distinctive Lebanese and Syrian wines. The baby poussin was delicious – in fact all the F&B was faultless. Breakfast was enjoyable in the modern-rustic Bleu Blanc (David Myers is overseeing this venue, Italian Basta! and Poppy, to open shortly), which is a large space with a bar at one end, semiprivate dining area at the other and large grill/open kitchen in the middle.
We rounded off with lunch at Basta!, dominated by a Sophia Loren brick artwork (on the cover), where we ordered salmon, meatball spaghetti and tender rib eye. All the venues offer light, airey Canal views.
A Club Lounge is on the 23rd floor and the signature Morimoto Dubai is due to open at the top this month, and there is a lift next to the main entrance. BUSINESS FACILITIES Head to the fourth floor, where six meeting rooms are available. Up to 300 can be held for receptions. LEISURE FACILITIES The chilled pool, located next to Bhar, is sheltered yet open, and the water feature is relaxing when you’re relaxing on the loungers. A Six Senses spa is on the fifth floor (opening December). Dominic Ellis
VERDICT This hotel has all the ingredients to succeed, an excellent addition to the competitive Business Bay scene.
PRICE Online rates for Deluxe Room Kings in mid-December are AED950 night, rising to AED1,305 for a Corner Suite with club lounge access.
CONTACT Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, Marasi Drive, PO Box 191984, Dubai, UAE. Tel +9714 512 5555, marriott.com