The Venue The Renaissance Downtown Hotel, part of the Marriot International group, sits in Business Bay beside Dubai Water Canal, boasting 298 guest rooms and five F&B outlets, comprising four restaurants and a café.

The Design Led by WA International, the hotel’s design concept focuses on representing the heritage of the UAE. A ubiquitous colour palette of black and gold speaks to the region’s rich resources, applied with a dash of drama also familiar to the Emirates: In the lobby, thin gold chains stream from the ceiling offset by the shining onyx hue of geometric side tables. The shape of Dubai is evident here too, combining the strong structuralism of its modern architecture with the fluidity of the desert. A metallic silhouette of the city’s iconic skyline dominates the wall, hung above a locally crafted wooden bench that curves and undulates like sand dunes. Overhead, a twisting double-helix chandelier runs the length of the room formed by individual flutes of marbled glass hand-blown in Prague.

The focus on echoing the country’s landscape and culture continues in the elevator bays, sporting golden waves that descend from the ceiling, the concrete Arabesque patterns that adorn the walls and the hotel’s floor numbers, which are illuminated beside striking cracks in the wall that glow seductively from within.

In the bedrooms a highlight is a cosy reading nook with a sofa tucked away by the curtains. Set inside the bay window, its deep-blue cushions make for the perfect spot to settle down and enjoy the view of the canal’s shifting waters.

Inside the rooms this statement design makes way for a decided playfulness. A floor-to-ceiling portrait of a smirking camel greets guests as they enter and the animals are evident again above the beds in an iron sculpture inspired by a Picasso sketch. The natural motifs and metallic accents remain present in a raw wood console table and brass pendant lights, while patterned carpets imitate organic lines in stone or sand.

The Experience The hotel’s signature restaurant, BHAR, stays true to the Renaissance’s Middle Eastern theme with a delectable menu of modern, regional dishes and a dedicated shisha menu. The décor reflects this fresh, contemporary take on the culture, with mashribiya screens hung with shimmering metal, pops of colour in the yellow and pink “pomegranate” pendant lights and a host of chairs in funky shades and shapes.

Signature restaurant BHAR shows off its Middle Eastern roots while staying fresh and fun. Some of the furniture, such as the taupe, cornucopia-shaped chairs, was specifically designed for the venue.

David Meyers is the chef mastermind behind the Italian BASTA! and French Bleu Blanc restaurants. The first is a trendy, urban space of exposed brick and leather accents, with a striking portrait of Sophia Loren graffitied on the wall; the latter is the epitome of rustic farmhouse-chic, with gorgeous tarnished mirrors, distressed soft-blue furnishings and a statement curtain of wooden spoons suspended in the air. The food at both is exquisite, with classic flavours creatively applied, maximising on the best that these two famous national cuisines have to offer while retaining a list of memorable, uniquely realised dishes.

The venue’s fourth restaurant, Morimoto by celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, is set to open in January, with a dramatic design spanning two floors and fantastic views of Burj Khalifa. Meanwhile the hotel’s spa will be managed by Six Senses, showcasing a bespoke concept from the leading wellness brand: Six individual treatment rooms inspired by each of the five senses plus a mysterious “sixth” sense.

Lit in the evening by flickering fire bowls, the terrace of BHAR offers captivating vistas.

With a motto not to take itself too seriously, the Renaissance Downtown Hotel blends style with character for a stunning addition to the Dubai hospitality scene.