The famed SLS brand’s first hotel in the Middle East region, which opened in Dubai in April this year, boasts a stately ambiance with hints of rather whimsical touches, thus offering an elegant lifestyle hospitality experience with glamour and playfulness.
Designed by the renowned Dubai-based firm Bishop Design, SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences is hosted within a sleek 75-storey tower at the heart of Burj Khalifa District and is one of the tallest hotels in the region featuring 254 hotel rooms, 371 residential units and 321 hotel apartments.
The project was developed by a partnership between sbe, a leading international hospitality group that develops, manages and operates award-winning global hospitality brands and Mehmet Nazif Gunal, Founder and Chairman of World of Wonders Real Estate Development.
Bishop Design – with Paul Bishop at the helm – envisioned the interiors of this landmark, from the hotel rooms, residences and the lobby to the famed SLS-branded venues and restaurants such as Ciel Spa, Dario Cecchini’s contemporary steakhouse Carna, the female-led dining establishment Fi’lia and nightlife spot, Privilege.
Drawing design inspiration from the module of an ‘oriel’ – a common feature and a distinct aspect of mid-century classic architecture, SLS’s overall facade texture creates a very dynamic mass and a unique character that evokes the image of a ‘honeycomb’. London-based and award-winning architecture firm Aedas was the lead designer of the structure – which comprises four zones: residential in the lower part, hotel-apartments in the middle, the hotel zone on the upper side and finally, the public floors that are referred to as ‘The Crown’.
According to Bishop, the driving sentiments and design ideology for the property primarily revolved in creating a Middle Eastern evolution of SLS as a brand, coupling the approach of a sophisticated and contemporary urban paradise with Dubai’s culture and aesthetics.
SLS Dubai’s hotel rooms, suites and residences feature a calming palette of soft lavender, pale grey and rose gold and metallic accents with structured modern furnishings.
Bishop Design’s daring side is on full display in the sky lobby, on the 71st floor, where the myth of King Midas, his golden touch and that of Greek goddesses, serve as influences for the prominent gold-embellished and white-studded interiors.
Keeping true to its namesake, the Gallery of the Goddesses looks down over a carpet with abstract, ethereal planet-styled graphics that have a streak of gold running through them. Both the intriguing carpet illustrations and Gallery of Goddesses were conceptualised by an in-house artist at Rogue by Bishop Design, Bishop’s creative subdivision.
Dakota Development, a subsidiary of sbe, provided technical support for the entire development process including partnership with Bishop Design on SLS’s public spaces and food and beverage venues.
“The Bishop Design team made sure to incorporate SLS choice pieces, like its iconic multi-coloured duck located poolside on the 75th floor, the whimsical chair meets hippo and avant-garde art, spread throughout the hotel, that is completely tongue-in-cheek yet a marvel to look at,” explains Bishop.
“The carnival of visual texture is also evident in Carna, showcasing modern design elements paired with bold, earthy tones and colours. Housing velvet-green banquets, a vibrant red theatrical bar, and rich jade-green bricks, Carna further provides a perfectly scenic backdrop with rustic brass finishes and suspended linear, geometric chandeliers,” he adds.
Fi’lia celebrates femininity through the combination of raw elements from rose gold, blond wood furniture and bohemian-style tokens to an integration of nature and greenery.
The main nightlife space is Privilege whose walls are covered with various gold-framed mirrors, gold-wrapped chairs, and an elevated DJ deck. Privilege’s main element and focal point is the exclusively designed lighting fixture that changes colour depending on the beats, promising a completely immersive party experience.
“This venture has been a collaboration of a lifetime, and a real honour for Bishop Design,” Bishop remarks. “SLS Dubai has now set an unprecedented standard for our region’s hospitality scene, driven by likeminded creatives who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Bishop states that “the launch owes its success to the strong alliance between the client, operator, suppliers and contractors, for without them this monumental achievement would not have been possible”.
Furthermore, “hailing from Miami and Beverly Hills respectively, the project perfectly coincides with our company expansion to the US as part of our mission to continue developing global hospitality with unique experiences”, he adds.
Following the insignia found at the SLS entrance, according to Bishop, the saying of ‘fortune favours the bold’ is a “philosophy that awaits you as you embark upon your journey”.
SLS Dubai has delivered an imaginative lifestyle hospitality experience with unmatched glamour, playfulness, leisure, and wit. Culinary artistry, theatrical interiors, subversive design touches and unexpected indulgences are at the heart of every SLS property – which Bishop Design has focused on in creating its design.