In a city where the skyline is populated with towering skyscrapers, the French limestone façade of the14-storey Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) represents a bold and refreshing contrast among its lofty neighbours. Opening December 15, the 341-room hotel, with 124 executive residences, offers an elegantly contemporary design and art deco elements within a stately exterior. Keeping with the overall master plan of the adjacent financial district which is determinedly low-rise and urban in design, world-renowned architect Gensler, ensured The Ritz-Carlton maintained this original vision while drawing influence from the best European architecture. The urban environment of The Ritz-Carlton was considered at every opportunity and is showcased with a sunken garden, colonnade, and abundance of lush, shaded outdoor terraces, a revealing Middle Eastern influence. The private, residential feel one would expect from a noble chateau is established with the private courtyard and porte cochere; it is delicately balanced by intentional feng shui elements including eight striking water features throughout the hotel and a dramatic 10-storey outdoor waterfall cascading down the building and into the courtyard. “There are many water elements throughout the hotel which provide a soothing aesthetic quality to such an urban location,” says General Manager Lothar Quarz. “The fact that modern design wisdom perceives the constant flow of water to be auspicious bodes well for our hotel which we hope will be a hit among wedding and meeting planners.” Entering the hotel lobby, all eyes will be automatically drawn upwards to the three-storey high lobby ceiling. In lieu of a traditional chandelier showpiece, 44 crystal stems designed to resemble frosted branches in the moonlight, illuminate the lobby. Each of these contemporary light sculptures are meticulously positioned by hand to the silver leaf ceiling, and comprises of full lead crystals in various sizes and shapes – octagon, tear drop, almond, square, pendeloque, and pear. These visual masterpieces are by the renowned Prague-based lighting artisans at Lasvit (the name, a blend of two Czech words meaning “love” and “light,”) who have created some of the most original light installations around the world. A unique concept in hotel design, The Ritz-Carlton offers two separate planes from which guests can access the hotel and facilities, the lobby and the podium level. Providing traditional ground level access at the lobby level, guests can find the front desk, guest services and Can Can, the all-day dining French brasserie. The podium level features a walkway directly attached to Dubai International Financial Centre, and is the only hotel to do so. The social hub will be at No. 5 Cigar Bar that is located in the prime welcoming position at the end of this pathway. The room is masculine in texture and tone with leather paneled walls and a dark walnut plank floor; perfect for relaxing with a drink and cigar.
The Lobby Lounge which overlooks the main hotel reception is designed as a sleek salon with tailored furniture and low tables situated on custom designed oriental carpets. Combined with the contemporary Lasvit chandelier, the overall effect is one of glamour. The Center Cut steak restaurant balances a palette of dark burgundy wine and rich butterscotch, with wood plank floors surrounded by dark green marble. The central banquette features a sculptural whirlwind of hand made glass leaves supported by silver cables. Striking ink-on-paper portraits of bulls are featured throughout the room. In contrast to the muted tones of Center Cut and No. 5 Cigar Bar, the signature fine-dining Thai restaurant, Blue Rain, offers a very minimal design emphasized by blue and gold shades. A water feature spills down one wall and through the centre of the room under a glass floor – a very contemporary version of the water in the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra – and a hand-blown glass bubble chandelier, also by Lasvit, runs the entire length of the room. Blue Rain looks out to the porte cochere from behind the 10-storey high waterfall in the main courtyard. A dramatic 30 meter (100 feet) wine wall runs the length of the corridor connecting Center Cut and Blue Rain. Home to 3000 bottles of the finest varietals in the world, it is a focal point for gourmands and wine connoisseurs. The expansive Samaya Ballroom (Arabic for “My Sky”), measures 1,400 square meters/15,106 square feet, was a major factor in the overall hotel layout due to its size. The roofscape overtop the ballroom was conceptualized to make use of the area by bringing an additional element of outdoor space to the property and also creating a rooftop terrace perfect for weddings and other special events. Notable factors that make the Samaya Ballroom a standout for event planners includes the ground level location, private driveway and hotel entrance, underground loading dock and service areas, pillar- and chandelier-free function space with ceiling height of six meters/15 feet, motor vehicle access directly into the ballroom as well as retractable walls which make the room divisible by four. With the ability to host events from 10 people to 1,500 people, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC will be Dubai’s ultimate destination for stylish and luxurious meetings and events. Ritz-Carlton guests will feel right at home with fine crystal chandeliers and oriental carpets used throughout the hotel but in a non-traditional manner with colourful designs of Eastern influence. Inspiration from the Middle East surroundings can be seen in the featured artwork of Arabian horses. All guestrooms showcase floor-to-ceiling windows filled with natural light. The spacious feel is continued through most rooms with glass open-concept bathrooms and each feature televisions embedded in the mirrors. Guestrooms range from 45 square meters/484 square feet to 220 square meters/2,368 square feet in size and all vary in shape, as well. The Ritz Carlton Suite and the Royal Suite have upholstered walls of creamy silk and matching drapery in the Parlour and Dining Rooms much like 1940’s Parisian Salons. The Study is wood paneled in Tiger oak and the bedroom boasts handmade area carpets and silk upholstered walls. The bedroom has hand made area carpets and silk upholstered walls.
By the numbers: - Main lobby: 3 levels, 15 meter/49 foot height to ceiling - 180 Art Deco style chandeliers - Waterfall: 2,000 litres/528 gallons per minute (fall) - Ballroom: 3,000 meters/9,843 feet of optic fiber and 15,000 light bulbs - External passageways: 4,500 meters/14,764 feet - 50,000 installed electric sources - 1,200 external lamps - 5,000 windows - 40 varieties of plants and trees cover the hotel grounds - More than 5,000 metric tones of marble and stone from around the world is showcased: - Façade and interior lobby are made of French limestone (Valange) and Finnish marble - Internal stones are Italian (Spa), Omani (guestrooms), Moroccan (executive residences’ kitchens), Spanish (main entrance corridors) and Indian (green marble in Center Cut)