Chef David Myers Basta! outlet. Chef David Myers Basta! outlet.

This is not the first time the Renaissance brand has been active in the emirate of Dubai. In the 1990s, the 281-key Renaissance Deira was located in what was then prime real estate. However on March 1, 2011, that property was reflagged under the Crowne Plaza brand. Marriott International next signed a Renaissance property in the Dubai Marina, but it was cancelled by mutual agreement between operator and owner — and eventually went on to open as the InterContinental Dubai Marina. A Marriott spokesperson at the time said there was “every intention to develop an on-brand Renaissance Hotel in Dubai”.

And Marriott International has finally done it. The first thing guests see when they walk into the Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai is a giant hand-blown chandelier, designed to represent the shape of sand dunes in the desert. Past the chandelier and further into the reception area is a Dubai skyline artwork, created to show how Dubai has grown from sand into the gleaming, ultra-modern metropolis it is today.

The design team of WA International has also paid special attention to detail when it comes to the elevator entrances. Gold waves surrounding the elevator entrances on each of the floors represent the shapes created when the wind blows across the sandy expanses of the desert.

It doesn’t come as a surprise then, when Renaissance Downtown Hotel team members proudly describe the property as the newest design hotel in town. With design-focused rooms, a spa and a balanced mix of home-grown and internationally branded F&B outlets, Hotelier finds out what this hotel — not the first, as mentioned, but currently the only Renaissance in Dubai — will bring to the hospitality market.

Lucrative location and space

Located in Business Bay, which was recently listed as one of the world’s top 10 “coolest neighbourhoods to visit right now” by Lonely Planet, the hotel’s design is inspired by the sand dunes that surround the emirate of Dubai. From the lobby to the rooms, colour schemes showcase shades of black and gold woven throughout the property. Each corner of the hotel is different, representative of Renaissance’s core brand of being ‘Business Unusual’. Marriott has more than 160 of its Renaissance brand hotels scattered around the globe, in places ranging from Paris to Bali and Dubai to Atlanta. Each is starkly different from the other, with no two properties similar in design.

The Dubai property is targeting both business and leisure travellers, and the team says that each of its 298 rooms tells a story.

According to director of rooms Laith Naber, the rooms are the biggest plus point of the hotel. “We have the biggest rooms in Business Bay and our views are just something else,” he says to Hotelier Middle East during a sneak preview of the new hotel, with guests able to look at the canal as well as Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai.

According to the Marriott release, “the hotel’s design will see a dynamic art installation of Dubai’s cityscape that takes centre-stage upon arrival, to the cheeky photography in each guestroom, complemented by a Pablo Picasso’s famed camel sketch re-imagined into a 3D iron rod sculpture”.

An open-plan concept from the bathroom to the bedroom area further expresses the volume of the rooms, which average 60m2.

The designers kept the overall colour palette in the rooms very neutral, with blue tones representing the sky and the water canal. For the executive suites, pink accents have been added to the cool grey colour palette.

Walking through the rooms, one can’t help but notice that special attention has been given to seemingly small features such as the desk and the TV cabinets. The desk is a stand-out piece made from a solid tree trunk slab, supported on a brass iron framework with floating leather clad drawers.

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