Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Finance Centre, Dubai, UAE

Four Seasons DIFC is the group’s second Dubai hotel. Hotel Spec editor Can Faik speaks to Adam Tihany, founder of Tihany Design, about his vision behind this state-of-the-art project...

Located at the heart of Dubai’s Financial District, the new Tihany designed Four Seasons hotel offers an intimately scaled contemporary oasis for business travellers. Surrounded by contemporary galleries and the most sought after restaurants in the country, the 106-room hotel is a gem to be uncovered.  With its impeccable craftsmanship, bespoke finishes, and attention to detail, the ultra luxurious retreat is unprecedented in Dubai. The hotel’s unique identity embodies the essence of Four Seasons while creating an elegant and refined environment for guests. Like a custom tailored suit, Four Seasons at DIFC is a sleek and sophisticated destination for all business travel.

The hotel is accessible through two arrival portals. Guests may check in at the ground level reception, which is framed by gold metal mesh and accented by cream and black marble and bronze mirrors. The second lobby is located at the podium level, allowing for pedestrian access from the retail concourse. Blue metal mesh screens line the room, placing a focal point on the bespoke custom mural depicting an architectural composition of Dubai’s skyline. The blue stone fountain and cascading raindrop chandelier both energizes and calms the space.

The adjacent Tea Lounge exudes refined elegance. The room features a custom geometric chandelier and gold mirror faceted bookshelves and bar front.

Both rooms and suites are designed with wood clad walls, hand tufted custom carpeting and faceted metal pendants. In the suites, a custom metal mashrabia frames the windows, which overlook stunning views of the Burj Khlafia. Suites bathrooms feature limestone interiors and freestanding bathtubs.

The rooftop features an above ground glass pool and large Jacuzzi. Cabanas lining the deck provide privacy and comfort.

The spa is designed to be the ultimate haven of luxury and relaxation. Enveloped in cream-coloured walls and light wood floors, the space is accentuated by dark millwork, custom bronze light fixtures and a luxury retail display.

Located on the 8th floor, the Sky Bar is designed to evoke the symbolism of the falcon, a national emblem luxury and bravery. True to form, the space is dominated by strong black and gold colours. The ceiling light fixtures mimic the coat of the bird while the back bar features rotating cage-like liquor displays. Kenya black stone walls frame the entry to the terrace, where guests can take in the breathtaking views of the Burj Khlafia.

From the Sky Bar, guests can retreat to the Cigar Bar by ascending the decadent feature staircase. Curved wall fins define the intimacy of the bar while rich wood millwork and antique materials create a masculine yet classic space.

Founder Adam Tihany of Tihany Design speaks to Can Faik about his experience of working on Four Seasons newest Dubai hotel...

Tell me about the early stages of this project. How did you come to design FS DIFC?
Before Four Seasons was named operator, we were working directly with the ownership, with whom we had an existing relationship. This group of very local, forward thinking developers represent a new generation of growth in Dubai. Their emphasis is on sophistication above of else, which I think comes as a by-product of self-assurance. For me, their insistence on quality of product and expression is both refreshing and inspirational.
What was the inspiration behind the design concept of Four Season DIFC?
Four Seasons DIFC is really unlike anything else in Dubai. With only 106 rooms, it is miniscule compared to everything else going on there. With that in mind, we designed a hotel that is modest in size but rich in style and sophistication. It feels very personal with a hand-crafted quality. From the first steps into the lobby, there is an immediate sense of ‘I have arrived.’
In addition- our design approach for all projects is very site specific. We go to great lengths to understand the culture, the local tastes and the community’s sensibilities. We believe the end product should embody the spirit of the location, not a canned expression of luxury. For Four Seasons DIFC, we captured the essence of Dubai through the commissioned art of Bram Tihany. His series of architectural portraits of the city are striking in what they represent and in shear size. Passing by these images, guests are immediately reminded of where they are.
How long did it take to bring this project from concept to completion?
About 3 years
How many people did you work with on the design project?
Ours is a very collaborative studio, but I worked most closely with senior designers Irina Khatsernova and Margaret Stoneman to bring this project to life.
What was the highlight of the project for you?
Witnessing this boutique concept develop into a rare gem in a fantastical and sometimes overwhelming environment.
Were there any particular challenges? If so, what were they?
The venue was originally intended for office spaces, so the suite views were not ideal. We had to make the best use of the intimate layout to create a luxury residential feel in each room.
What makes Tihany Design different to other design companies?
We are a boutique shop of 15 designers between our offices here in New York and in Rome. We think of ourselves as custom tailors or portrait artists- every project is handled as a unique story to bring to life.
What’s the biggest change you have seen in hotel design?
The shift from the tools of the trade (e.g. pencils, paper, rulers, compasses) to Google and Pinterest. We are becoming an Instagram Industry, which I think it ultimately draining us of original and creative problem solving.
What’s next for you and your team?
Next month is the official launch of Seabourn Encore, which marks our first complete cruise ship. We have no doubt she will be the most beautiful small ship at sea.
Also opening next month are the new penthouse suites and gaming salon at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas as well as the new guest rooms and suites at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. We’re also working on the renovations at The Oberoi New Delhi, opening next year.
What would be your dream hotel project?
The most luxurious airport lounge in the world.

Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Finance Centre, Dubai, UAE