x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Executive travel: corporate favourite Renaissance Downtown Hotel scores big on style and value 

First five-star deluxe hotel for RDK, a diversified local property holding company chaired by Rashed bin Darwish Al Ketbi

Deluxe suite at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai. The new property offers all a business traveller could wish for. Courtesy Renaissance Downtown Hotel
Deluxe suite at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai. The new property offers all a business traveller could wish for. Courtesy Renaissance Downtown Hotel

Corporate hotel guests are always looking for the smartest and latest option offering the best value for company expenses and great facilities.

Why not consider the 298-room Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, just 10 minutes' walk from Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, that opened on December 4 last year with a private concert by American songstress Gwen Stefani?

Its hip and chic design stands out from the crowd. Its collection of globally inspired restaurants is outstanding. And everything about it oozes no expense spared.

This is the first five-star deluxe hotel for RDK, a diversified local property holding company chaired by Rashed bin Darwish Al Ketbi. It’s a flagship for his ambitious group as well as the Marriott’s 170-strong global Renaissance chain.

A relaxed vibe is clear from the moment you enter the hotel. Funky music plays discreetly in the background. The check-in desks are small and curved.

The concierge is replaced by a navigator who can suggest hidden places to explore; and an amber glass sculpure like a DNA spiral traverses the ceiling, apparently representing oil and sand dunes.

Farther inside and a large lobby area opens up with plenty of comfy sofas and a coffee bar. There are also four terraces to sit outside with views over the Dubai Canal as well as the huge laid-back Italian restaurant Basta! by David Myers with a mural of the actress Sophia Loren.

Upstairs, and you do have to go up the stairs because the restaurants are designed to be kept separate from the hotel rooms, and there is a majestic concealed cigar bar ideal for corporate plotting into the night.

Adjacent is the Bleu Blanc restaurant by the peripatetic American celebrity chef David Myers, also responsible for the Italian downstairs.

This is a light and homely space inspired by French country kitchens. I think it is fair to say the cooking is more American grill than French. But the steak and sides are ample in portion and done to perfection, with attentive service.

However, the hotel’s largest and most impressive restaurant has just opened on the 23rd and 24th floors and looks well worth a visit, both for the view and the food.

Part of the main restaurant area on the 23rd floor of Renaissance Hotel Downtown in Dubai
Part of the main restaurant area on the 23rd floor of Renaissance Hotel Downtown in Dubai.

Japanese celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto’s 250-seat extravaganza features four outside terraces ideal for corporate events and three private VIP terraces, each with their own combination lock doors and kitchens.

Then again Syrian maestro Mohanad Alshamali, formerly of Dubai’s highly-rated Qbara restaurant, presents the finest Arabic cuisine on the third floor at Bhar.

Not enough? Well how about setting up a private dinner beneath an atrium the height of the building, and using the small outside terrace next to it for a presentation?

A dedicated meeting room floor has three glass ‘Labs’ to seat 12 to 15 people that turn opaque at the touch of a button for privacy; and a ballroom that can be split into two rooms or used for a reception for 300. I saw it being set up for the launch of a fashion website.

Ballroom at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai. Courtesy Renaissance Downtown Hotel
Ballroom at Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai. Courtesy Renaissance Downtown Hotel

Hotel bedrooms, and its 65 suites, have 9.7 Mbps internet – free for Marriott Rewards cardholders. I liked the TV hidden inside a huge mirror on one wall, the interpretation of Picasso’s camel sketch above the bed and the quality of the designer furniture.

These are also the largest rooms available in the Business Bay, with either Dubai Canal or Burj Khalifa views.

Room service offers an impressive menu as well as old favourites: a club sandwich is Dh75, Margherita pizza Dh65; still water Dh23 and a Coke Dh18.

For the world-weary business traveller there is the signature massage in the Six Senses Spa at Dh620, perhaps after a workout in the gym with highest-end equipment: four running machines, four steppers and two bicycles, all with panoramic views. Or you could swim in the infinity pool and relax on its terrace.

I’ve stayed in many corporate hotels over the years and consider that this is definitely one of the best. With rooms from Dh899 per night, this is also top quality at something of a bargain rate.