First look: inside the Four Seasons DIFC

Cool new Dubai hotel is both boutique and business with an American diner and remarkable pool.

Robert Chilton March 17, 2016

Business hotels can often be grey, uninviting spaces that possess all the wow factor of a spreadsheet. But the new Four Seasons DIFC, which opens on March 21, is looking to attract a more stylish and laidback business professional who enjoys chowing down on a burger after a day of back-to-back meetings. 

After previously telling you what we knew about the hotel, EDGAR was given a sneak peek of the sophisticated 106-room hotel a week before it officially welcomed its first guest.

Next door to La Petite Maison and surrounded by DIFC’s art galleries, the hotel’s location is a major plus. “You can walk to meetings; DIFC is pedestrian friendly so you can walk around and feel welcome,” says General Manager Carlo Stragiotto. 

Also nearby – a three-minute drive we reckon – is The Dubai Mall and hotel guests can hitch a ride in the hotel’s Maserati to visit the shopping paradise. 

The hotel has been designed by award-winning interior designer Adam Tihany, who said the DIFC area drew him to the project. “The location was carefully chosen to cater to high end business travellers and will be of the highest quality. Four Seasons at DIFC is nothing short of a custom tailored suit, elegant and designed to adhere to the needs of its guests.” 

Tihany’s colour scheme of browns, beiges and creams is calming and tasteful. Furniture, art pieces and fixtures and fittings are curved and rounded – the headboards in the guest rooms especially – which creates a cosy vibe. 

Off to the right of the lobby is the Penrose Lounge, a casual meeting space with sofas. To the left is a large, red lit-up sign in the shape of an arrow declaring: ‘Eat’. This points the way to the fantastic 1950s burgers and shakes place Firebird Diner. 

Cleverly, the hotel has chosen not to compete with the high-end restaurants nearby such as La Petite Maison, Zuma and Roberto’s. Instead, the more casual diner, created by American celebrity chef Michael Mina – has been decked out with booths that look like they’ve been ripped straight from the set of Happy Days

On one wall are protruding sculptures of old American cars while opposite is a jukebox that cranks out hits from the 50s – EDGAR couldn’t help tapping our foot to Shake Rattle and Roll by Bill Haley & His Comets as we tucked into a strawberry milkshake, garlic fries and a gourmet burger that more than justified the AED 120 price tag. The diner is open from 7am to 3am so it’s great for early birds requiring a breakfast of pancakes and coffee or night owls with the munchies. 

Outside on the terrace is a cinema screen that will show black and white movies from the 1950s (Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront would be our special request).

The spa has five treatment rooms and uses two product lines: Carol Joy from London and Terre d’Afrique from South Africa. Guest rooms, meanwhile, carry Roja luxury toiletries. A tablet on the bedside cabinet is used to communicate with hotel staff and operate room functions. A beefy subwoofer in the room’s media compartment should keep music fans happy. 

Views of the Burj Khalifa can been seen from the Luna Sky Bar on the 8th floor, while one level up is the cigar bar, Churchill. Black and white framed photographs of famous men smoking cigars – Groucho Marx, Clint Eastwood, Robert Downey Jr, Jack Nicholson for example – line the walls of this elegant hideaway. “The hotel is a sanctuary for the business traveller – it’s intimate,” adds GM Stragiotto. 

Guests who have finished with their meetings for the day can jettison their suit, slip on their swim shorts and take the free shuttle service to the sister property, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, just a 15-minute drive away. Or they could stay put in DIFC and take a dip in the rooftop pool that stands on the decking and has clear walls that resemble a giant fish tank. 

Whatever you choose to do, this is a boutique hotel that means business.