The Tuscan lead designer Habitalia Design Group in association with Studitalia have created magnificent public spaces that could have been commissioned by the Medici family at the height of the fame of Florence.
That the client is the Dubai Government is a mark of how a combination of wealthy patronage and the finest modern taste can be combined to produce something really exceptional. These interior designers have not got out of control but there is some great Italian flair with a play on colours, textures, lighting and display art to create an unusual ambience.
Endless marble floors and modern Murano chandeliers sound like the classic Dubai formula for luxury hotels. But these chandeliers are avant-garde, and you have mosaic mixed in with the marble. Indeed, should you happen to look up in the all-day dining room you will be able to see the same mosaic in the ceiling.
The furnishings are also lavish but comfortable, more the kind of furniture you might choose for your own home, and functional as well as elegant. But it is the detailing that you should keep your eyes open for. Little things like the crossed knives and forks on the wine rack to support the bottles in the steak house, an original idea for this hotel.
The conference and entertainment room is also quite exceptional with cream-leather panels, dark wood and a curved-pattern motif. Have a look at the mirrors in the ante-room to the restrooms, again a Murano classic.
There are 294 large-size bedrooms and suites in this hotel. Pre-publicity boasts ‘heavenly beds, luxurious bath amenities and LCD TVs’. But AMEInfo was unable to access the bedrooms though rumour has it the presidential suite is outstanding, even by Dubai standards.
For restaurants and bars the guests at the Westin can choose the already well established Bussola Italian restaurant and pizzeria in its own separate building on the beach. Its switch to a more modern, minimalist type of Italian cuisine has won mixed praise but the terrace is a wonderful place for al fresco dining, and there is a large bar on the roof overlooking the sea.
The Westin will also boast an all-day dining restaurant with open-plan kitchens and floor-to-ceiling sea-horse murals, a seductively styled steak house and a super-cool Asian fusion restaurant.
The hotel is actually a part of the beach complex operated by the Dubai International Marine Club which includes the club house and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, long a popular expatriate weekend haunt.
In fact the best thing about the Westin, Dubai is its location on the beach with views out across the sea to the Palm island and the Burj Dubai. You have the coolest in Italian design on the warmest Arabian coastline.