McGinnity begins InterConti Dubai interiors

InterContinental Dubai Festival City, due to open in June 2007, has already
first interior designs of the hotel rooms in place.London-based Terry McGinnity, executive director, GA Design International
was selected from a list of prestigious names and entrusted with creating
the perfect mini-havens for InterContinental guests in need of a relax, or
simply time on their own to work in peace.

The InterContinental Dubai Festival City and the Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City properties now stand tall at the billion dollar project on the banks of the creek and with the exteriors already resembling the five-star hotels they’ll become by summer 2007, attention is now turning to creating world-class interior design. 

InterContinental Hotels Group arrived in the region over 40 years ago with InterContinental Phoenicia in Lebanon, pioneering the international 5-star hotel category here. Since then, the brand has been the hallmark for luxurious hospitality and ‘in the know’ destination experiences and these qualities extend to the hotels’ designs, from the lobby to the dining outlets and the coffee shops to the guest rooms themselves.  For the final touches at InterContinental Dubai Festival City, top talents have been brought from across the globe to create the perfect balance between aesthetics and practicality to ensure both leisure and business travellers are entirely comfortable in their environment and get exactly what they want from their hotel.

The diverse mix of Food & Beverage options planned for the hotel present an ambitious menu.  Among those confirmed is an authentic Japanese restaurant at the heart of the property, a high-profile Lebanese eatery and a unique outlet under the guise of a yet-to-be-revealed Michelin star chef.  Responsibility for making these new concepts look as good as the food will taste falls into the hands of internationally renowned interior designers such as ‘Super Potato’, Gregory Gatserelia and David Tokiwa.

While hospitality specialists David B.Tokiwa & Associates will contribute sleek designs and modern lines as seen in their work at the second Wagamama restaurant located in the Greens, Dubai, ‘Super Potato’, one of the most highly regarded interior design companies in Asia, will lend their talents to the creation of a contemporary coffee shop and the multi-station authentic Japanese restaurant, which is set to become the hotel’s centre-piece. The latter 950 square meter space with just over 200 seats will bring live action cooking stations into the very heart of the restaurant in full view of the diners who interact directly with the chefs buffet style from each of the stations.


It is clear with such international stars on board, guests’ senses will be spoilt for choice when dining at InterContinental Dubai Festival City however, for staying guests, the quality of their room can be the deciding factor about whether they come back and therefore choosing the best room designer was critical.  London-based Terry McGinnity, executive director, GA Design International was selected from a list of prestigious names and entrusted with creating the perfect mini-havens for InterContinental guests in need of a relax, or simply time on their own to work in peace.

McGinnity is known for his focus on luxury materials and therefore was a perfect fit not only for the hotel itself but also for Dubai, which has a well documented penchant for the finer things in life.  The main challenge for him as a designer was balancing a luxurious look with practically and modern designs to ensure the overall feel appealed to all.

“Using richer materials but along cleaner planes enabled me to effectively bring in the feel of luxury that this region loves so much, without actually compromising on the clean forms and steering clear of overly decorative elements,” said McGinnity. “By keeping the detailing clean and simple this emphasises the luxury of the materials used, from high-gloss Macassar ebony to the linen-panelled walls.”

This simplicity carries through to the windows where the decor is understated to ensure nothing takes away from the stunning view over the creek and the city beyond.
And all surfaces have been freed of lamps, literature, phones, etc to provide a calm and uncluttered ambience.

Despite the need to blend the tastes of an international clientele, the local market remains key to InterContinental Hotels Group and therefore their specific needs have been catered for in an innovative and unique way.  For example, a series of sliding screens and walls combine to give maximum flexibility and privacy allowing the guest to close off areas such as the entry hall so that Room Service can wheel in and leave a tray without disturbing guests. While cultural sensitivity has considered a key part of the room design, understated artwork, produced specifically for the rooms, provides subtle references to the region.

The room sizes at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City are generous and yet McGinnity still invested much time in coming up with solutions that enhanced the space further to give guest an open and free feel. “The room was designed to be a series of interlocking spaces and planes, said McGinnity.  “The traditional boundaries and walls of the bathroom and entrance have deliberately been broken down to blur the line between the volumes, enhancing the overall room experience and expanding the feeling of space.”

Of McGinnity’s work, which is displayed in a mock-up room at the hotel, Tom Meyer, General Manager of InterContinental Hotels Group, Dubai Festival City, said: “GA Design has shown an innovative approach to the main challenge of working on this project, which is the shape of the building.  Its curvature means that instead of one room type, one executive suite and one main suite, we feature an enormous range of room types - and more than 80 different arrangements have been implemented within the project,” said Meyer.

“The final look is stunning and a credit to McGinnity and his company, as well as being inherent of the world-class designs to which InterContinental Hotels and Resorts guests are accustomed,” he added.

Located on Dubai Creek and with stunning views in every direction, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City is set to become a new city landmark. At 36-floors high, the InterContinental Dubai Festival City property will boast 501 exquisitely designed rooms, including 120 suites, three Presidential Suites and one Royal Suite. All rooms will have a choice of views including the Dubai Creek, the Festival Marina or the world-class shopping centre.