Nick Ames visits the ibis styles hotel in Dubai, one of the city’s first hospitality projects with an eye towards affordability.
With Expo 2020 on the horizon, a new approach to hospitality is seeing an increase in three and four-star hotels in Dubai as the city caters for an influx of less affluent tourists. Among the most recent projects is the Ibis Styles hotel in Jumeirah, Dubai designed by Drawlink Group.
“As the Dubai Expo 2020 approaches, I feel there will be a much greater demand for hotels which can accommodate travellers on a budget. The event is aimed at people who want to experience the world and all the cultures which are on offer,” explains Daousser Chennoufi, architect and CEO of Drawlink Group, who did both the exterior design and the interiors of the seven storey building.
Originally an office before its extensive retrofit, the Ibis Styles is a budget hotel and reflects a move away from the high-end with which Dubai is usually associated.
“The challenge was how to create affordable accommodation but maintain a convivial space with all the comforts that guests would need within an agreed budget,” says Chennoufi.
“During the last 10 years a lot of concepts regarding luxury five-star hotels have been explored, but I feel the trend now is towards three and four stars.
“Visitors to the Expo 2020 – they may be students for example – will not have the funds to stay at top range hotels so they need to be provided for. Also, Dubai is well known for hosting exhibitions at places like the World Trade Centre, which is close by.
“If companies only have high-end accommodation on offer they may only send one person. But if the prices are lower they may send three or four. This can really benefit the economy of the city as well as letting more people see what is taking place in their area of business.
“Then there is the economic factor. There is no doubt we are experiencing a slowdown, so people are just more careful with their money.”
However within the project, designers also had to make sure that the guests’ experience would always be a pleasant one, providing comfortable and airy rooms, with smart and sophisticated décor and large-scale windows to offer views across the city.
Upon entering the hotel, guests are greeted by an open-plan lobby, which merges with a café offering drinks and light snacks. Designers have chosen neutral colour schemes for both furniture, which is chic, yet simple, and walls, adding a vibrant greenery to the rooms.