The city of Dubai is electric with the sense that ‘anything is possible’. Design is rapidly evolving due to the demands of a more sophisticated market. The hospitality industry in particular has many examples of well-curated hotels that display the way modern luxury is expressed.

In the not-too-distant past, as a reaction to the traditional monotone colours of the desert, brightly coloured adornment was considered luxurious. And - as a result - there are many examples of older, overly embellished, poorly curated designs. But now we are witnessing a design revolution. There is an audible narration around the idea of place and space; and depth to the story. Crafted materials and the execution of space are becoming more refined.

The Vida Hotel in 2015 started the trend for local, contemporary, luxury. And since then many hotels have followed suit. Dubai now has many versions of similar budget to mid-scale hotels in the affordable, entry-level part of the market.

These often celebrate a sense of place with flavours of the city or neighbourhood of the hotel tangible in the design. These designs are considered - and arguably - more refined specifically because they are relevant to the area.

Justin article 1
The Arabic Oud largely influenced the design behind the DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai, design by dwp


There is certainly an appetite for contemporary design. But there are also limitations to be aware of.

If buildings are modern, but soulless, they offer nothing back to the individual. That is unquestionably an unsuccessful outcome.

Human scale is important. How the users of a space actually inhabit that environment matters.

In a great space people feel enlivened and inspired by being there.

Justin article 2
Soundwave Light Installation in the Lobby, W Dubai - The Palm, design by dwp


‘Comfort and shelter’ were originally the main drivers of hotel design. Now we are in the era of experience; so the approach to hospitality design has changed. It has become much more hybrid with less physical focus. The intangible assets are adding greater value.

More than proportion and materiality, those are the drivers. People are asking: ‘What can I do while I’m here?’ ‘What experiences does this place offer me?’ ‘How can I share these experiences with my friends?’ Of course, there still needs to be a good bed, a good shower… but the intangibles are having more intrinsic value in the experience economy.

The reality is that change is normal in hospitality. It is re-inventive by nature. Hotel design is about escapism, beauty, out-doing the competitors and establishing new markets. And all these kinds of influences tend to create self-perpetuating change. In Dubai sophistication has happened rapidly. And, as designers, we have our fingers on the pulse of this adrenaline fueled change. Anything is possible, after all!

Justin article 2
Six Senses Hua Hin Earth Spa, Thailand, design by dwp

For more articles like this, subscribe to our newsletter.


  • Supporting Association

    AAID high resolution 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Supporting Association

  • Premium Media Partner

    Premium Media Partner CID logo no tag-line 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Premium Media Partner

    CW resized.jpg
  • Official Lighting Media Partner

  • Premium Media Partner

  • Supporting Association

    logo 180 x 120.jpg (2)
  • Premium Media Partner

  • Entertainment Partner

    LA PERLE LOGO 180 x 120 px.png
  • Lead Partner for The Trend Tour

    Love That Design (180x120).png
  • Premium Media Partner

    Premium Media Partner ME Architect logo 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Official Airline Partner

  • Premium Media Partner

    Logo_POS-LADENBAU_gold (180x120).jpg
  • Travel & Visa Partner

    trAvZed_180 x 120.jpg
  • Recruitment Partner

    The Right Job Logo (180x120).png
  • Official Construction Intelligence Partner

    vs.png (1)
  • Official Show Magazine Partner – INDEX HOME

    InsideOut Logo (180x120).jpg

INDEX Media Partners

  • AEC Online

  • Architecture and Interiors Panorama

    AIIP logo 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Asia Today

    AsiaToday-Logo-180 x 120.jpg
  • AsiaTradeHub

    AsiaTradeHub logo 180x120px.png
  • Beldara.com

    beladara logo with black tagline.png
  • BIZNES meble.pl

    logo BM.pl nowe 180x120px.jpg
  • Business1.com

  • Ceramicanda SRL

  • Ceramic Focus

    focus logo 180 x 120.png
  • Collezioni International Fashion Magazines

    logo_COLLEZIONI Int. (180x120).jpg
  • Compasses

    Compasess logo x Index 180 x 120.jpg
  • Construction and Architecture Update

    C&A LOGO.jpg
  • CovetED Magazine

    logo-site-01.jpg (1)
  • Design 4 2day

    logo design42day.png
  • Design Diffusion

    DDN_LOGO 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Design Insider

  • dezeen

    Dezeen Logo (180x120).jpg
  • Divisone Contract

    logo_DC_180 x 120.jpg (1)
  • Dubai Blog Network

    Logo Dubai Blog 3D for black background - Copy.png
  • e-architect

  • Encyclomedia

  • Exhibitions For You

    Exhibition For You Logo (180x120).jpg
  • ExportHub

    logo-EH 180x120.jpg
  • Eye of Dubai

    Eye of Dubai 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • Eye of Riyadh

    Eye of Riyadh logo 180 x 120 px.jpg (1)
  • G & G Magazine

    G&G _ Magazine logo white.jpeg
  • Gulf Construction

    GC Logo 180 x 120.jpg
  • Gulf Industry

    Gulf Industry Mag Logo(new) 180 x 120.jpg
  • Homes Mauritius

  • Hospitality Mauritius

  • Italian Bark

    Italian Bark 120x120.jpg
  • Lamasat

  • Mebelny Biznes

    Mebelny Biznes logo.jpg
  • MySolutionInfo.com

    MySolutionInfo 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • myUAEguide

    myUAEguide logo.jpg
  • NA-Nuevo Azulejo

    log NA_english01.jpg
  • Stone Review

    logo 180 x 120.jpg (1)
  • Textiles Para El Hogar

  • The Interior Design Italia

    LOGO TID 180 x 120.jpg
  • Thesignspeaking.com

    THEsignspeaking_logo_2017_BLACK-GRAY 180 x 120 px.jpg
  • TradeKey

  • Tradewheel.com

    TradeWheel (180x120).jpg
  • Treniq

    Treniq Logo Corrected Black.png
  • Wood in Architecture MENA

    ir_WIA MENA logo01.jpg