You don’t stumble across the Four Seasons DIFC, more so make note of the animated whisperings from those in the know as if they’ve stumbled across some sort of secret. And the fact is they have.
The Four Seasons hotel in Dubai International Financial Centre is as understated as they come. Nestled among the soaring skyscrapers of DIFC, the hotel itself appears unmistakably modest compared to its larger, Jumeirah resort sister.
Walking into the hotel is similar to entering a private club; the floor is gleaming, the impeccable receptionist smiling and the lobby remarkably small and understated for a Four Seasons property. However, this is where the greatness lies.
Hotel’s in the business side of Dubai have so far managed to escape the tourist trap of the big, beachside hotels near Dubai Marina and on Palm Jumeirah respectively, instead remaining a plush home-away-from-home for international business travellers and a handful of well-healed fashionistas.
You don’t even have to enter the hotel through the busier podium level that connects the walkway to DIFC, also where the afternoon tea hotspot, Penrose Lounge and the Firebird Diner is located. Instead, you’re briskly ushered inside by the porters on the ground floor where check-in is located and in a matter of minutes you’re escorted up to your accommodation without even seeing another guest. Now, that is service.
A self-confessed ’boutique hotel’, the Four Seasons DIFC features just 106 beautifully appointed rooms including 28 notable suites. Each room and suite has been designed with the needs of the modern traveller and not just the business traveller in mind; comfort and productivity are core elements of the interior design with plush curved sofas in the suites fringing a raised coffee table and comfortable desks in front of natural daylight that make the ideal place to work.
From the coziness of the bijou Superior Rooms that are designed to be a comfortable sanctuary in a bustling metropolis, the wood-clad walls enveloping you into a warm and welcoming space where you can relax on the custom Four seasons bed and enjoy a movie on the 45-inch LCD TV, to the beautiful Four Seasons Rooms themselves which are around 600 sq ft a piece and offer dynamic views of the iconic Burj Khalifa through the floor-to-ceiling windows, made visible by a press of a button on your very own iPad mini which controls the window drapery for you as well as all the lights in the room. A notable touch that I also became aware of was that your every whim can be catered for at the swipe of a finger, for this iPad mini becomes your very own personal butler. Have trouble sleeping? Simply place an order for some earplugs or an eye mask. Need some more Roja toiletries? Likewise. Want to order a newspaper to the room in the morning? or make a reservation at one of the restaurants for that night? All arranged with a finger swipe.
We stayed in the popular Studio Suite which offers unrivaled accommodation for those that demand the very best from their hotel room. At 689 sq ft this is a suite that makes the most of its impressive size; a glass wall separates a modern limestone bathroom from the elegance of the bedroom and separate living area. The open-concept room is designed with hand-tufted carpet that melts beneath your weary soles and a custom metal mashrabiya that frames the windows, revealing the incredible view of the Dubai International Financial Centre below. By day the sunlight streams through the window flooding the suite with natural light, making it the perfect environment for checking your emails and at night the twinkling lights of the world’s tallest building shines through reminding you of just what a fascinating part of the world you are staying in.
For a real treat one of two specialty suites, the Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite offers another level of luxury accommodation as you step out onto your very own private terrace marveling in the panoramic views of Downtown Dubai or Zabeel Palace. This suite has been designed with the most discerning of business traveller in mind, with ample space to unwind or entertain where you can relax either inside in air-conditioned bliss or on the furnished leafy terrace without interruption.
However, we were quite surprised to note that the Four Seasons DIFC is not just a comfortable place to lay your head after a day of meetings but also a place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy yourself. This is the secret; disguised as a typical business hotel the Four Seasons DIFC has so much more to offer.
Let’s start with my favourite feature and quite literally the jewel in the hotel’s crown: the rooftop pool. This is not your ordinary swimming pool for the above-ground, glass-walled tank resembles a human aquarium and by night shimmers like a brilliant blue sapphire. It needs to be seen to be believed. The rooftop space once again feels like a private members club such is its tranquility. Beneath the shadow of some of Dubai’s most impressive architectural feats, bask in the Arabian sunshine on one of many lounge chairs and sunbeds that line the pool deck. There are even luxurious cabanas providing shade and privacy. Sip a freshly squeezed juice or cocktail as you recline in the heated whirlpool that is set on its own adjoining platform, taking in the views of the city. You’ll feel as if you’re in your very own hidden oasis.
A spa also accompanies the pool on the 7th floor, dedicated to your wellbeing. Work up a sweat in the 24-hour fitness centre which boasts a selection of weight training and cardio equipment from Cybex, Technogym and Life Fitness or indulge in a little ‘you-time’ at the spa which is an intimate haven of calm with five treatment rooms and an extensive menu.
Something that also might surprise you about the Four Seasons DIFC is its array of restaurants and bars that are proudly among some of the very best in the entire city. The funky Firebird Diner by Michael Mina is in stark contrast to the hotel, attracting a lively crowd at the weekends (and indeed throughout the week) with its tongue-in-cheek American Diner themed interior and menu. The food here is really quite excellent although we’d expect nothing less from the much celebrated chef himself who is renowned for his restaurants in America.
After dinner (or Thursday night brunch) in Firebird Diner, whisk yourself up to the eighth floor to the Luna Sky Bar which as you might have guessed from the name, offers breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa. This sophisticated spot is great for an after work or late night tipple and the impressive cocktail menu is best enjoyed whilst perched on a stool on the outdoor terrace although the interior itself, a contrast of jet black and shimmering gold walls make for quite the talking point. From the Luna Sky bar descend down a show-stopping staircase to the secluded enclave that is The Churchill Club. A classic, masculine space that is the perfect meeting point for cigar connoisseurs with personal storage lockers in the humidor and a large curated selection of fine spirits.
From late nights at great heights to afternoons with your feet on the ground, the lobby level Penrose lounge has carved itself a reputation to be one of Dubai’s best spots for afternoon tea. With a lovely outdoor terrace and a decadent indoor lounge, it’s the ideal place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a mouth-watering array of pastries and cakes.
The Four Seasons DIFC is a perfect blend of business and pleasure, catering to both professional and leisure travellers alike. Its contemporary mix of luxurious accommodation, excellent business facilities, cutting-edge design and sought after dining make it a hotel that offers so much more than its discreet facade. It’s not only an ideal base for your time in Dubai but it more than lives up to the Four Seasons name, offering a taste of real, indisputable luxury without all the unnecessary glitz.