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Case study: dwp’s Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Dubai uses the oud as interior inspiration

Case study: dwp’s Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Dubai uses the oud as interior inspiration

Design worldwide partnership, Doubletree by Hilton, Doubletree by Hilton Business Bay, Dubai, Dwp, Hotel design, Hotel interiors, Interior design, Interiors, UAE, Wood

The interiors of the new Doubletree by Hilton Dubai Business Bay embody authentic modern styles and sleek Arabic design.

Set in vibrant Bay Square, a new shopping, dining, and retail community in Dubai’s Business Bay, the design concept for the new DoubleTree by Hilton reinterprets the essence of Emirati culture in a dynamic and edgy manner.

Design Worldwide Partnership (dwp) undertook design, tender, and construction-stage services. For the interiors of this property, the design team drew inspiration from the traditional string instrument, the Oud, as well as from the hotel’s lively neighbourhood.

“Dubai is a city renowned for its dynamism and thriving business community, and nowhere encapsulates this more than Business Bay,” says Carol Finnie, portfolio director at dwp.

She tells Commercial Interior Design that the layout of the 238-key hotel is further inspired by the idea of a “home away from home”, featuring living room-like spaces complete with eclectic furniture and colour palette.

“It just feels so open, welcoming, and fresh,” says Finnie. “The client brief was to create a modern city hotel that was also warm, inviting, comfortable, and relaxing. The concept revolves around the simplicity of happiness and comfortable luxury. Guests are welcomed with a cookie at check-in.”

In Arabic culture, the Oud is considered to be “the king of instruments”. Elements of the Oud’s design are incorporated into the property – its warm, glossy wood finish and rounded form are reinterpreted in areas of the hotel such as the reception and surrounding break-out areas in the lobby.

Finnie continues: “We took the Oud instrument as an inspiration, which was a great item to dissect and break down to unique elements, which we then used it in different aspects of the hotel.

“At dwp, we often take an unusual item and break it down to create a story and come up with an original design.”

In the lobby and lounge, the aim was to create a warm sense of arrival. The designers created a mix of multifunctional spaces with social and private zones that cater to everyone – the busy businessman, families, and the new wave of millennial travellers.

“It is like visiting the home of a traveller friend, who has collected furniture and art from their travels around the world,” says Emmy Taimour, senior interior designer at dwp. “We didn’t want to give it a typical hotel lobby look and feel, but rather a nice and welcoming living room look. It doesn’t look controlled and it feels quite causal.”

Wall patterns in the lobby are created by varying the thickness of timber slats. The reception and concierge desks are inspired by the finish and form of the Oud, while large-scale, stylised, backlit medallions are styled after the instrument’s hollow fret panel. Layered carpets in the lobby emulate those found in desert tents during festive gatherings.

To bring the traditional theme of the Oud to life, Remco Werkhoven, general manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay, says the hotel offers Arabic coffees and dates in the lobby lounge while an Oud player performs daily from 3PM, turning the hotel lobby into a central meeting spot.

“GCC guests feel connected to the hotel and its Arabic elements: walls capture music vibrations, strings become partitions, dark timber wood and warm colours are all welcoming elements, which are perfectly blended together.”

Social and private nooks are created for visitors seeking some down time. The “connectivity zone” is part of the main lobby, creating a space within a space that is both social and private. The design encompasses all public and private areas to ensure a consistent guest experience.

“Travellers from all over the world are looking to immerse themselves in the destination,” adds Werkhoven. “Everyone is looking for that little bit extra during their trips, to experience the ‘real thing’ and to feel like more than just a tourist. This is exactly what they find once they step into the hotel lobby.”

The Oud’s intricate motifs further provided the inspiration for the carpet design in the corridors and rooms, as well as for the bold artwork, which was designed by dwp and procured by Capsule Arts.

“We wanted to add the warmth in the corridors by introducing the wood cladding on the walls and the pattern from the lobby so it is all well connected,” says Taimour. “We designed 18 room types since the space was not built for purpose. This was supposed to be an office building. That was one of the challenges”

The spacious guestrooms and suites feature custom lighting, a large walk-in shower, and a double sink in every bathroom, generous for a four-star hotel. “We’re really focused on the details. We even made sure some beds come with a view of our handsome neighbour, the Burj Khalifa,” says Taimour.

The designers wanted to create a feeling of openness, capitalising on the property’s views. The colour of the wood, and the choice of the wood veneer, were further elements that drew inspiration from the Oud, and the team contrasted these with dark grey and pops of yellow.

Catering to the increasing number of business and leisure travellers visiting the area, the property provides food and beverage (F&B), retail, and leisure facilities, which also attract local office workers and residents. In addition to the artisan gelato and Arabic coffee on offer at the 24-hour Oud lobby lounge, the all-day-dining restaurant, My Square, is a social hub, with an open kitchen and a bistro-style atmosphere.

“All-day-dining is very casual and easy, and is broken down into spaces so guests don’t notice whether it’s empty or full. The outside terrace has 70 seats, arranged in different seating areas. Combining industrial elements like wood and stone delivers a casual atmosphere for quick business breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, where kids can also feel welcome. In a smaller, separate dining room, we introduced metal framing with plants and custom-designed lighting, with 3D tile cladding for the wood counters.”

The DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay is one of Dubai Properties’ many hospitality projects designed to cater to the increased number of tourists that are expected to visit the emirate ahead of Expo 2020.

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