To be met by one Manager is Magnificent, to be met by two is, well, true luxury, but that is what happened to the gal when the Mercedes S-class – easy-to-work WiFi of course – drew up at Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, generally just called Four Seasons DIFC. See above, on the right Carlo Stragiotto, shortly leaving to become GM of Four Seasons’ Amman property, and, on the left, incoming boss, another equally charming Italian Lorenzo Maraviglia. But then this entire Dubai experience has style (look up at the exterior of the nine-floor building, itself a futuristic sculpture).
Sculpture is one of many distinguishing features here. The 106-room hotel, adapted by Bright Start from what was once planned as residences, is integral with the entire mixed-used DIFC complex. Walk, at upper podium level, direct from hotel to a courtyard with, currently, a popup display of Warriors, sculptures by Antonio Signorini – yes, another Italian (he is based in Dubai). Back home, walk barefoot around your room, as I did in corner room 317, and you have a sculpted carpet. Massage while you walk, and at no extra charge (why not make this an industry norm, at least at luxury level?).
Rooftop, the hotel has an indoor bar but walk on through it to a sensational glass-walled pool, with a jacuzzi nearby. A shiny silver fish sculpture adds to the overall art feel that goes so well with fine service. I was up there for a party but my evening was made by the hotel’s sensation MINA Brasserie, down on the third floor. What had started off as an Adam Tihany diner, great for jukebox aficionados, is now a Martin Brudnizki re-imagination, a European take on casual-luxury, modern-right, design. Inside, 86 people can sit comfortably in booths or at tables, white linen cloths but no table-top sculptures. As I ate my bowl of tuna tartare chopped with pine nuts, garlic, mint, sesame-habanero oil, with a Laguiole fish knife, I was able to look through an entire glass wall to the outdoor terrace.
MINA’s outdoor terrace, supposedly seating 44, opens on to the DIFC piazza, and people flood in. That night, admittedly a weekend, they had over 500 guests total, from 7 pm through to the early hours. A mobile band plays 9-12 and, as it moves around the terrace, happy people – perhaps in one hand holdig a Vesper Martini (Belvedere and Bombay Sapphire) – helpi play a drum. This luxury hotel’s entire MINA venue, inside and out, is masterminded by five hostesses, all it seems six feet tall with legs that appear to be four feet long: these, says Lorenzo Maraviglia, are the key to success, the revenue managers of eating and drinking. Make sure no table is ever empty, make sure guests are so happy they want to come back, and they tell their friends. AND NOW SEE WHAT ROOM 317 LOOKS LIKE