From early beginnings Dubai showed its desire for beautiful things, as pearl divers risked their lives to dive for oysters in the Gulf waters.
In designing the Away Spa at W Dubai - The Palm, dwp (design worldwide partnership) dives into Dubai’s pearl diving roots.
Arriving guests are treated to a design inspired by the underwater perspective of a pearl diver, where iridescent shells reflect sunlight that peeks through the ocean above.
The overarching concept for the Away Spa was ‘let’s go Away’ and the design was required to take guests beyond the known world, while putting the ‘wow’ in W Hotel – a brand known for being ‘labs of creation.’
This new wadi needed to ooze luxury and combine theatrical overindulgence with the ancient culture of the region, into with pearl diving is tightly woven.
Mirrored realities should reveal contrasting worlds of dual personalities, an almost parallel universe into which guests can escape and relax.
Meandering spaces, and intricately tiled curved walls entice spa goers to explore and discover the space as it conjures up a mirage between Dubai’s geometric forms and the meandering spaces influenced by nature.
Opportunities for discovery come almost immediately, as upon entry they are presented with a divided path.
Dare to explore? Designed with a lively vibe in mind, the space is both relaxing, yet social. From the moment guests walk in, dwp says they will understand that this is not the traditional zen spa offering.
From the bright neon signage at the spa entry, to the shimmering tile work and finally the abstract palm tree lighting installation that transforms into a raindrop above the central beauty bar, they are treated to a real sensory spa experience.
As guests take a seat at the beauty bar multiple individual lights create a ripple effect above highlighting the importance of water, not only for the region but for a spa.
Floor tiles symbolise both desert dunes from a bird’s eye view and the cracked earth by wadi waterbanks. Curtained salon pods provide the option for privacy but the overall design aims to provide the perfect platform where friends can meet, energy can amplify and guests get ready to bring on the night.
The subtle lighting mimics underwater light reflections and contrasts to precious stones from international terrain, demonstrating how far Dubai has come. The changing rooms capture the essence of the region and explore cultural modesty with contemporary fashion.
As raindrops breathe life into the desert so does the water invigorates those who spend time in the Away spa.
Options for indulgence abound, as the spa, which is the first of its kind in the UAE, offers 11 treatment rooms, including a couples suite and hamman, a steam room, sauna, whirlpool and experimental shower.
The treatment rooms all feature mood lighting that can be adjusted at the request of the guest to fit their mood and the wet areas feature brightly iridescent coloured walls and a lot of beautiful layering of materials - very in keeping with the upscale W brand and the younger market sector it vies for.
Speaking about this element of the project, the renowned design firm’s tech team says: “This was one of the most intriguing projects dwp|tecnology has had the pleasure to be a part of. Not only were we able to work closely with several highly regarded designers, the operator and client were pushing the boundaries of what a cutting edge five-star hotel could be.
“Our lighting design is varied for each area of the hotel and we were able to take advantage of the excellent room geometry and space. The Away Spa is unlike any other spa we have designed, with speciality lighting and unique details in every room.”
There’s a sense of rebellious luxury that is the quintessential W Hotel experience and in fact dwp’s Dubai office were also responsible for bringing this aesthetic to public areas and Wow Suites at the W Dubai, creating a dynamic and energetic hotel, with a sensational spa at its heart.