Andaz, art and the experience

Hotelier Middle East sits down with Andaz Dubai The Palm GM Kifah Bin Hussein on the growing impact of artwork in the hospitality industry

Kifah Bin Hussein
Kifah Bin Hussein

At the helm of Hyatt’s newly-opened Andaz Dubai The Palm is GM Kifah Bin Hussein. He sat down with us to talk about how the five-star property chose its art, why it’s important for a guests’ experience and how art can boost occupancy rates.

How would you describe the art displayed in the hotel? 
Andaz Dubai The Palm presents a game-changer in hotel design and hospitality boasting a vibrant and sophisticated space that's rooted in art, design and culture. Everywhere you look within the hotel you will see a lot of art by local artists. Partnering with one of the region's leading art consulting companies, AKAAS Visual Arts, the paintings and sculptures in the hotel are abstract with a modern take on Arabic heritage.

Do you have a dedicated team or a consultant to help curate the collection?
Andaz Dubai The Palm is designed by GDS | Glintmeijer Design Studio, who collaborated with FG stijl to create the design concept and worked closely with wasl Hospitality and the hotel team to bring the unique creation to life. During the design development stage, GDS took inspiration from Dubai's transition from a luxury-only destination into a dynamic magnet for international talent to present a new kind of hospitality experience - intuitive, yet full of surprises, contemporary, yet revering heritage and tradition. 

Describe the curation process.
Local art consultant company, AKAAS VISUAL ARTS, who are responsible for many of the artwork and sculptures in the hotel, have curated a collection of handcrafted metal sculptures, which present an abstract interpretation of traditional Arabic clothing and poetry. Each one is proudly encased in glass display cabinets in the guest corridors, and feature alongside hanging Arabic prints, collectively showcasing Dubai's past through a modern lens. AKAAS have also designed bespoke abstract Arabic artwork for each room, providing each guest and resident with a unique experience. 

Is there a focus on local or up-and-coming artists?
Staying true to Andaz's commitment to providing guests with an authentic experience, GDS drew upon Dubai's local talent to create the design and interiors; from renowned Emirati designer, Khalid Shafar, to one of the region's leading art consulting companies, AKAAS Visual Arts. Known for their abstract and modern take on Arabic heritage, the result is a kaleidoscope of local culture and multisensory interiors that capture the surrounding terrain and rich heritage, presented in an open, design-led space that delivers Arabic tradition and craftsmanship through a modern and contemporary lens. 

Does art enhance the guest experience? 
Andaz Dubai The Palm is designed to be a seamless extension of its neighbourhood, inviting guests to arrive a visitor and depart a local. Created for the inquisitive minded traveller, the space presents a barrier-free environment, where guests are invited to explore freely, embarking on an immersive journey that weaves in the sights, scents, sounds, tastes and textures of Dubai. 

On arrival to the main entrance an oasis awaits, where vertical living walls, giant hanging chairs and quirky outdoor furniture create a garden neighborhood setting. A giant laser-cut canopy layered with Arabic-inspired pattern creates a dramatic entrance, manipulating the power of sunlight to create a visual language of shadows and colors that are reflective of the Middle East. When stepping inside the hotel, stone-textured water-feature walls provide a sense of calmness and serenity. The air is filled with indigenous amber and cardamom scents, blended by the hotel's very own master perfumer, Universal Beauty FZE enhancing guests' experiences from arrival to departure of the guests. 

Can art be used as a marketing tool to drive occupancy?
Acting as a live canvas, artwork pops up around every corner at Andaz Dubai The Palm, creating a visual surprise at touch points throughout guests' stay. The design evokes a den-like feeling, creating a sense of flexibly, comfort, and liberty. With cozy seating options, large tables, textured interiors and select pieces of literature, the space is set to ignite creativity and spark imagination. The recessed lights play a crucial role in keeping the area perfectly lit for deep thinkers. The lounge's indoor balconies are great conversation starters while enjoying in-house signature coffees with exceptional views overlooking the lobby chandelier and the colorful dining. Nevertheless, the significant artwork on the walls keeps the feel-good energy flowing. These points enhance the guest's experience in Andaz Dubai The Palm hence create a strong angle to use to reach to drive occupancy to the hotel. 

Are art hotels becoming more popular in the region?
Bringing in the rich culture of the UAE is now starting to be recognised in the region. Inspiring stories from the history and locals enhance the guest experiences that they can see inside the hotel – may it be through the welcome drinks served, special corner in the lobby or various art pieces across the hotel. In Andaz Dubai The Palm, it's everywhere. 

Do you have any upcoming art-focused events or collaborations you can tell us about?
We are currently in the planning stage with Mawaheb, a Dubai-based art studio for adults with determination, for a possible collaboration. Mawaheb provides an opportunity to develop life skills through art while demonstrating that everyone can be creative in their unique way, which is very similar to the Andaz, which means "personal style".

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