The long-awaited Zaha Hadid-designed ME Dubai by Melia will open its doors on Sunday March 1, 2020.
Four years after it was originally set to open, the hotel in The Opus by Omniyat building in Downtown Dubai, will welcome guests in the next few days. As workers put the finishing touches to the hotel, The National took a behind the scenes tour of the only hotel in which the British-Iraqi architect conceptualised both the exterior and interiors.
Furniture by Zaha
The furniture throughout the lobby, lounges and suites was designed or personally selected by Hadid: and her forward-thinking, curvaceous aesthetic is obvious from the second you walk in.
With 74 rooms and 19 suites, the hotel offers a boutique feel in the heart of Downtown Dubai. Each room is designed in either a midnight blue or golden desert theme, and guests checking in can expect views over the Dubai Canal, up towards the towering Burj Khalifa or both.
Mini bars have been replaced with maxi bars, and complicated hotel lighting is a thing of the past at ME Dubai — lights are instead controlled by one main switch or via the hotel's in-house app. Bathrooms feature rounded sinks, oversized showerheads and curvaceous soaking tubs.
In the grand lobby, where the beautifully-curved couches took three years to make, the hotel will pay tribute to Zaha Hadid every Thursday via a montage of her work on a huge video projector screen.
Eating and drinking
Dining options include a 24-hour brasserie on the lobby level called Roka, from Zuma founder Rainer Becker, as well as a Spanish-tapas inspired restaurant called Central that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Eventually, the hotel will have 15 food and beverage outlets. It's also set to welcome a sprawling underground nightclub that will be split over two levels.
When it comes to down time, guests can take a dip in the white marble clad swimming pool, while fitness fans will love the huge gymnasium. In classic Hadid styling, even the machines are sleek, with wood finishing and hydro-powered functions. Nearby, the Refuel & Relax pool bar offers a wide choice of vegan options for pre- or post-workout meals.
The spa at ME Dubai is small but perfectly formed, with a wide range of therapies. The use of lots of natural light and curved wood contrasts against the building's metal and glass exterior. Colour therapy lights let staff or visitors set the mood, adjusting the ambiance to suit treatments being delivered.
Plastic is a no-go in the hotel, which has partnered with a local company in the UAE to install a drinking filtration system throughout the property. All rooms are stocked with filtered water in glass bottles and there are no plastic cups or straws in sight.
ME Dubai is the hotel brand's first property in the Middle East. It joins other hotels in destinations such as Ibiza, London, Cabo and Milan.
Rates start from Dh1,590 per night, www.melia.com