The challenge of standing out among the slew of super-luxe Palm Jumeirah hotels isn’t one every new opening is up to, but W Dubai - The Palm’s taste for the undeniably impressive – and growing thirst for originality and flair - has found its place. The dazzling mirrored W statue outside the resort – known by the global hospitality brand as a ‘W Escape’ – and the drive-through entrance via a golden tunnel speaks to a glamour and visual boldness that the city is known for, but beneath these statement style points is a design story carefully constructed to reflect the multiple faces of ever-evolving Dubai.
With Mohamad Kafel, design director at Al Sharq Investment, and Holfords overseeing the main hotel interiors, each daring, edgy choice is not simply a nod to the W brand’s characteristic design fearlessness. For example, the gilded, drive-through entrance is constructed to recall a cavernous riverbed covered by palm fronds, while the cracked surface of the W sculpture is reminiscent of a dried riverbed. In this way, amid luxury and glamour, organic forms are relied upon to bring depth to the scheme. Behind the welcome desks a vibrant mosaic of Orsoni glass tiles captures the colours of a sunset against cool waters, while the more neutral carpet underfoot also depicts a confluence of rippling waves and drifting clouds.
The lobby itself is a thing to behold: with an interior façade inspired by the architecture of an old Arabian citadel, the industrial-style atrium stretches upwards over five storeys and is dotted with small windows of varying shapes and sizes set into the grey walls. Old structures meet new in this space, where golden trusses made of stacked boxes of varying heights surround the seating areas. Representing different stages of modern construction in Dubai, these go hand in hand with decorative touches like a colourful glass take on the flames of a Bedouin campfire, or traditional Arabic jewellery captured in resin. Most strikingly, the scale of the space is anchored by a 640-piece pendant light of glass cubes that pulsate with a rainbow of colours in time to the beat of ambient music.
This illustrious welcome sets a benchmark for a holiday experience that exudes an opulent-hotel-meets-nightclub vibe. Ground floor corridors are split into geometric divisions of wood, marble and stone, illuminated by crisscrossing disco-esque white strip lights, while the lively AWAY Spa invites guests to get ready for a night out together, in a neon-lit, atmospheric salon modelled on a cave, where pearl divers might fish for treasure.
Exemplifying a desire to entertain and inspire good times, the hotel is rife with big-name F&B offerings, not least the nostalgia-driven, gelato-hued sumptuousness of Torno Subito, the first restaurant outside of Italy for Chef Massimo Bottura, and realised by Bishop Design.
Meanwhile, lifestyle design house Keane has brought to life Akira Back – the serene, sophisticated eatery by the eponymous pro-snowboarder turned chef – embracing Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetics, and the decidedly more casual, graffiti-infused SoBe, short for South Beach. The latter is a rooftop lounge boasting emerald elements – from bar tiles to wallpaper – which serve as a backdrop to uninterrupted sea views, of which a sunset ritual is made each night around a dramatic fire bowl at the very top of the hotel.
It’s no surprise then that in the suites and by the pool a young, fun design narrative pays homage to party towns like Ibiza and Miami. Iridescent tiles, midnight blues and popping purples are found in both, with metallic accents in the bedrooms and a serene, all-white playground of interconnecting pools and pod-like sunbeds making up the hotel’s DJ-driven beach-club zone WET Deck. It is clear that whichever area of the hotel guests choose to utilise, it’s been built to maximise leisure and minimise boredom.
With so much to explore and very distinctive offerings throughout, W Dubai - The Palm is packed full of fresh, exciting hospitality experiences underpinned by detailed, always eye-catching design, ensuring that the W brand name continues to associate itself with a wealth of wow-factor.
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