Leading Dubai based designers Stickman Tribe and Blink Design Group draw from a legacy of storytelling.
The W Dubai Mina Seyahi is nestled directly in the middle of the Dubai Marina, an affluent area comprised of residential and commercial developments.
Once a bustling port, the waterfront promenade of Dubai has been transformed into a vibrant destination in its own right.
The overarching concept and design narrative for W Hotel Mina Seyahi was the brainchild of Stickman Tribe. The property was previously tagged to be a Le Meridien, and then changed to a W-Hotel – whereby Stickman Tribe played a pivotal role in designing the entry, welcome zone, living room, lounge, Bar & W-store — defining the guest experience and narrative throughout the whole hotel to capture the Al Halqa and Hakawati concepts, while award winning design studio Blink Design Group’s canvas is a hotel ranging over 31 floors, with 291 guest rooms and 27 opulent suites; a spectacular marina-front lobby, infinity pool and lavish spa, four state of the art meeting rooms and a selection of the most cutting-edge dining concepts in Dubai. The result is an utterly unique creation, entirely of its place, colourful, eclectic with a touch of retro; a place where ancient storytellers’ tales will be given new life through its guests.
The design concept for the hotel reflects and captures the essence of the vibrant history of Dubai, as well as its surrounding landscape and cultural significance. Growing from a village which thrived off fishing, pearl diving, and boat building— Dubai emerged and began providing accommodation and sustenance for traders who would pass through on their way to sell gold, spices, and textiles. Gradually, Dubai expanded into a business center where the East met the West, inviting like-minded travelers to become part of a significant, unfolded story.
Dubai is a truly multicultural home to eccentric freethinkers, accommodating mostly expats. Spoiled with the hybridity of influences, the cosmopolitan city is characterised by a dynamic, changing face that juxtaposes many prejudices and evokes the city’s defining double act. A strong social community is shaped by interesting, courageous, and ambitious individuals who like to break down barriers, and is reflected in the metropolis’ excessive and vibrant way of life. The design of W Hotel Mina Seyahi reflects these eccentricities.
In the Metropolis, like-minded travellers create new bonds in inner exclusive circles, continuously evolving the public gathering of the age-old Al Halqa. The metropolis is a mix of flavours with a prominent juxtaposition of new and old Dubai – a magical chaos, from fortune-tellers to the Saharan viper and menageries to poets, storytellers and performers, the city evokes the pervasive mix of spiritual and sensual. Also named ‘The City of Gold’, encompassing a literal meaning for traders in the precious metal, the nickname reflects Dubai’s stunning growth from a small Gulf port to a world-famous business and leisure crossroads. Between sources in Africa and consumers in the rising economies of China and India, the geographical location of Dubai has played an important factor in becoming the regional gold capital. Next to gold, fresh stocks of spices and textiles arrive daily, transported by Dhow from countries such as Pakistan, India, and Iran. The narrow passages of the old souqs are filled with aromatic scents and passionate conversation. It is a bold environment that is perfectly in line with Dubai’s multiple, ever-changing personas.
To capture the guest experience Stickman Tribe were engaged to design the ground floor by walking through the W Hotel Mina Seyahi, you can see a reference to all these elements. As soon as guests enter the main doors, they are greeted with crystal pages floating in the air. A depiction of Al Hakawati or a storyteller’s book, the installation symbolises the stories being shared within the hotel. Towards the right, lies the reception desk and the waiting area. One of the main design elements in this space includes a flying carpet in the lobby’s waiting area. Located in the halqa-inspired waiting area, the flying carpet theatrically bursts into crystals. The lobby alludes to mythical snake charmers with a basket inspired back feature wall and snakeskin inspired reception desks. A mosaic-tiled path, also resembling snakeskin, leads guests to the check-in desks.
The rest of the lobby space, which is towards the left of the entrance, is designed as ‘The Gold Souk’. A contemporary take of an oryx sculpture, made of black and brass steel wire, forms the central design element, adorned with Gold trinkets which hang from its antlers. The space features warm hues and gold accents often associated with these traditional markets. Another design element includes a feature beaded wall – each bead featuring a name of a story from the 1001 Arabian Nights. In the Arabian Leopard-inspired lobby bar, guests are enveloped in a sense of fantasy and reverie, all while enjoying a cocktail or a meal.
As you make your way outside the mythical bazaar, snake line banquette seats are shaded with flipped & over-sized tajine canopies – and a central bar, flanked by 2-4 metre artistic sculptures of a scorpion and viper snake— are jousting for the 1st drink at happy hour. The playful juxtaposition of elements layered in with cultural references captures a unique essence of visual and tactile engagement – keeping guests stimulated and intrigued, wherever they may be.
Blink Design Group’s founder and creative partner Clint Nagata explains: “We drew deep inspiration from the timeless tradition of Al-Halqa, the storytellers’ circles as old as Arabian culture itself, where crowds would form around masters who would spin captivating yarns. It’s an art form that has been given World Heritage status in Morocco and still thrives for those who know where to look in the UAE.”
He said the project had proved an eye-opener in terms of what was possible within the vivid brand universe of W Hotels.”
Guest rooms and suites
The guest rooms and suites are laden with lavish touches and hints of intrigue, adventure and romance. There’s a treasure chest as a bedside table, with little treasures inside to surprise and delight guests.
The bed headboards are white leather, with ribs and shapes inspired by Dhows, as well as fabrics with motifs drawn from local calligraphy and being playful with paper. Lights echo ancient lanterns in colours straight from the Arabian Nights. The suites have been envisioned as a place to gather with friends for pre-dinner drinks and gossip, or for a casual meeting. The beds have a luxurious seating area, with a tilted mini-bar in brass and dark blue lacquer, a social space where drinks can be served and a perfect place for lazy grazing.
The wow extends to the walk-in closets, closed with billowing curtains in a gradient of sunset colours, echoing the hues of the bay. We play with the idea of the secrets behind the veil. The storytelling theme extends to the bathrooms via a calligraphy theme, with bold black and white colours to echo ink and paper. The bathroom also has its own seating area, encouraging long bathing rituals, cocktails and conversation.
The hotel’s signature dining experience, Ginger Moon, has been created as an eclectic and bohemian space for travellers, traders and modern nomads to gather, featuring a spectacular split-level ocean deck connected to the sparkling waters of the bay, with a restaurant and pool bar overlooking The Palm Island.
The hotel’s Bar-B Spa was inspired by the mythical landscapes from the 1001 nights, Arabian storytelling, mythical landscapes and creatures.
Located on level 30. It’s a very intimate spa, just three spa treatment rooms, including a couples’ room with fairytale lighting and leopard print-inspired wall coverings to create an exotic magic, it’s a very whimsical, mystical experience, taking you to a different world.
The centrepiece of the spa is Bar-B, a manicure counter which doubles as a working bar, where guests can enjoy a bespoke cocktail while their nails are pampered.
The EWOW Suite luxuriates over 160sqm, comprising a large corner of the 30th floor, with breathtaking views over the bay and marina, where Dubai’s movers and shakers come out to play.
The main living area features a bar that also doubles as a DJ station, with mosaics inspiring the textile treatments. The master bathroom also features a mosaic. The bathroom is conceived as an entertaining space, where you can be having a cocktail and chatting to your friends while you do your makeup and get ready for dinner or the club.”
The living area is separated from the two bedrooms by an ‘airlock’ concept, created from pressed metal embossed with poets’ words. So acoustically, you could have a party going on in the main living area, but the two bedrooms are separated and private.