Amid the bustling business hub of Dubai, the new Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre has recreated the aesthetic and essence of 1960s Manhattan, New York, specifically Madison Avenue with its mid-century and Art Deco-influenced décor. Occupying the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman building, with the exception of the stylish entrance corridor leading to the conference and events rooms on the ground floor, the 275-room property exudes understated luxury. Inspired by the iconic architecture, lifestyle and mid-century modern look of the 1960s, the hotel emulates the décor of the lauded television series Mad Men, which depicted an era when New York City brimmed with a unique energy, bustling with ambitious and eccentric executives. Embracing the personality and panache of this period, the ultra-modern structure bears clean lines and crisp architectural elements which evoke a subtle glamour.
Complementing the minimalist furniture and multifunctional design is a mix of materials selected to ensure a slick, contemporary look. Marble, ebony, walnut, brass and bronze exist in generous proportions to add to the luxurious feel of the hotel. The abundant use of statement pieces throughout the hotel adds to the sense of nostalgia associated with one of the most popular design eras, as well as the prestigious history of the luxury hotel brand.
Throughout the property, an original collection of artwork by Lebanese artist Imad Bechara addresses interesting themes that reflect the mid-century era. One notable piece hangs behind the reception desk on the 18th floor called Total Confusion, explained by the artist as an ‘exploration of our inner lightness and darkness which gives us the courage to undertake the total confusion of a hero’s journey’. Another notable piece is Musing Man, an acrylic painting that reflects the stylistic influence of the Mad Men TV series. It combines the spectacle of the glamorous feminine as depicted in the Art Nouveau movement of the 1920s and the dynamic masculinity of the gentlemen who symbolised the sophisticated business culture of the 1960s.
The 18th floor of the hotel is a social hub with the reception, restaurants, lounges, pool and spa all located across one level. The lead interior design company for the property is SRSS (Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart), while LW Design Group handled the design for Bull & Bear restaurant and St Trop lounge.
Bull & Bear is the hotel’s signature dining venue and features a rich colour palette incorporating a mix of timber, metal and leather paired with contemporary classic furniture for a masculine look and feel. A bespoke, striking sculpture commissioned by LW Design Group features in the show kitchen canopy, made up of layers of liquid metal and tramazite.
The rooftop lounge, St Trop, reflects the essence of Saint-Tropez’s coastal locale. Timber decking inspired by luxury yachts sets the tone for a natural colour palette accented with fabrics in aqua shades and bursts of sunny yellow. Foliage screens showcase fun murals of hip sun seekers behind the bar counter. The chic, versatile furniture helps to transform St Trop from an afternoon sun retreat to a trendy poolside venue for socialising after dark.
Peacock Alley Lounge and Bar completes the trio of dining options, and true to the origins of the brand’s iconic, elegant lounge it is a place to "see and be seen". The Waldorf Astoria clock, a décor staple in all of the Waldorf Astoria properties worldwide, was custom-made by Smiths of Derby, English clockmakers established since 1856, and took one year to manufacture. The design intent was loosely based on an Art Deco theme with stylised peacock feathers featuring in the design as a nod to Peacock Alley where it resides.
In the guestrooms, Volakas white marble from Greece has been used to give a practical yet premium look. In addition, light oak timber finishes are prevalent together with ebony trims. The dark colour scheme in the suites include brown oak, walnut and metal bronze for an executive, formidable identity, all contributing to the style of the cosmopolitan and commercial hub hotel.
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