What It’s Like to Stay at The Lana, Dorchester Collection’s Dubai Debut in the Middle East
Dorchester Collection enters Dubai with an oh-so-chic hotel along the Marasi Bay Marina.
BY Jen Paolini  |  June 14, 2024
11 Minute Read

Welcome to Checking In, a review series in which our editors and contributors rate the best luxury hotels based on a rigorous—and occasionally tongue-in-cheek—10-point system: Each question answered “yes” gets one point. Will room service bring you caviar? Does your suite have its own butler? Does the bathroom have a bidet? Find out below.

Dorchester Collection’s newest hotel has opened in Dubai.

Describe the hotel in three words: Quiet, tasteful elegance.

What’s the deal?

Dorchester Collection, operator of legendary European hotels such as 45 Park Lane, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and Hotel Principe di Savoia, as well as the storied Beverly Hills Hotel, has gracefully entered the UAE with its first property in the Middle East. As the group’s 10th opening—and its first in as many years—anticipation for The Lana was at an all-time high, and we are happy to report that the result does indeed match up to expectations.

Countless hospitality brands have the Middle East in their sights as a lucrative market, so it comes as no surprise that Dorchester Collection should make a move into the region, as well as further east—a new property in Japan has already been announced for 2028. In Dubai, Dorchester’s latest hotel project is the result of a partnership with luxury real-estate developers Omniyat, forming part of a new neighbourhood planned for the city’s downtown.

The Lana’s interiors were designed by French duo Gilles & Boissier.

Marching to the sound of your own drum in a place saturated with over-the-top extravagance is not an easy task, but Dorchester Collection’s distinct continental identity proves to be a breath of fresh air. Naturally, the crème de la crème of the architectural world was enlisted to create the decisive silhouette of The Lana. Foster & Partners rose to the occasion, creating an interlocking design of two towers—one reserved for the hotel, the other for branded residences—punctuated by open spaces and stately columns, elevated off the ground to dramatic effect as the structure overlooks the Marasi Bay Marina. French duo Gilles & Boissier put their magic touches on the interiors, interpreting the desert landscape and climate of Dubai into a sophisticated palette of warm gold, creamy neutrals, blushed rose tones, and rich browns interwoven with a textural library of veiled marble, all while deftly balancing feminine and masculine characteristics throughout. It’s quiet, tasteful elegance at its best, standing in stark contrast to the over-the-top glitz and glam so often seen in Dubai.

The Marina Duplex Suite living room comes with double-height floor-to-ceiling windows.

The best room?

Of the 225 rooms and suites available at The Lana, it’s tough to pick just one, but the Marina Duplex Suite is suitably impressive. Spanning 211 square metres, this palatial duplex is dramatically drenched in natural light, and its residential feel makes it a fine option for longer stays. Bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in wardrobe—which comes with a watch winder for your automatic timepieces, by the way—are on the upper floor, while the living room benefits from double-height floor-to-ceiling windows for a heightened sense of space.

All rooms feature a balcony or outdoor terrace with views of the Business Bay skyline or the Dubai Design District.

Does the hotel have a standout perk?

With eight different dining and mixology concepts in one place, this new Dorchester opening is a foodie’s paradise, and that becomes more impressive when you consider that the hotel has managed to pull together three award-winning chefs of note—Jean Imbert, Martín Berasategui, and Angelo Musa—to develop four of the restaurants and bars.

On the accommodations front, each of the rooms features a balcony or outdoor terrace overlooking either the Business Bay skyline and the iconic Burj Khalifa—we definitely recommend this view—or the Dubai Design District and Meydan Racecourse.

And did we mention that the first Dior Spa in the UAE has opened at The Lana?

The lobby features a sophisticated palette of warm gold, creamy neutrals, blushed rose tones, and rich browns.

Did they greet you by name at check-in?

We were greeted by name long before that, when we were picked up at the airport for our direct transfer to the hotel. Dapper doormen clad in burgundy tails, with top hats to boot, extended a warm welcome. Genial hospitality and an eagerness to please are evident in the service style and staff at The Lana—GM Richard Alexander runs a tight, well-oiled ship.

Was a welcome drink ready and waiting when you arrived?

Our arrival at The Lana was close to midnight, so if there is a standard welcome drink procedure, we must have skipped it, as our biggest priority was to get checked in and shown to our rooms so we could call it a day. However, we were welcomed with seasonal fruits inside the room—plump Hakata Amaou strawberries from Fukuoka, a rare delicacy sought-after for its sweet flavour—and a miniature chocolate replica of the Lana hotel.

Marina Duplex Suite bedroom.

Private butler for every room?

No, not for every room—with 225 keys, that would be a lot of ground to cover—but upon request, The Lana can certainly provide private butler services to guests overnighting in the signature suites, which include the Marina Terrace Suite, Marina Duplex Suite, Marina Royal Suite, and The Lana Royal Suite. For all others, just speak to the lovely staff members stationed in the lobby or call up guest services to make your requests known.

Is the sheet thread count higher than 300?

Dream bigger. For rooms, guests will be sinking into 400-thread-count linen, while suites are dressed in silky-smooth 600-thread-count sheets, all supplied by—who else—Frette.

Is there a heated floor in the bathroom? What about a bidet?

No heated floors—this is Dubai, after all—but there is a bidet, though to focus too much on the lavatory feels like doing the rest of the bathroom a disservice, as it is tastefully done up in a light, neutral palette and elegant manner with taupe-veined marble, white panelled walls, light herringbone-patterned floors, and a freestanding tub with a view. Simply a stunning and sophisticated space in which to start the day—or bring it to a close in a relaxing bubble bath.

Are the toiletries full-sized?

Yes; the toiletries, bottled in chic Dorchester Collection ceramic holders, are scented with magnolia, jasmine, and cedarwood, provided by British skincare brand Wildsmith Skin.

The rooftop infinity pool at High Society overlooks the Dubai skyline.

Is there a private pool for the room’s exclusive use? How are the spa and gym?

Unfortunately, not even the top-level suites come with private pools, but we think the gorgeous rooftop infinity pool at High Society, located on the 30th floor, more than makes up for it. Do a couple of laps and reward yourself with a craft cocktail and all-day bar bites curated by Jean Imbert while taking in views of the stunning Dubai skyline from the breezy cabanas. (High Society is also a top-notch spot for sunset-watching and pre-dinner tipples.)

The Lana is home to the first Dior Spa in the UAE.

Meanwhile, The Lana can claim bragging rights to the first Dior Spa in the UAE, following in the footsteps of sibling Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Natural light and soaring interiors define this oasis of well-being and beauty, comprising five treatment rooms and a couple’s suite dressed in sophisticated blonde wood and Dior’s signature blue toile de Jouy print pattern. Cutting-edge technology meets natural, time-honoured wellness solutions; the Dior Skin Light LED therapy mask, Dior micro-abrasion booster, Dior stone massage, and D-Sculpt ritual are among a long list of treatments on offer for body and face. Dior Spa even offers a luxury barber experience for men, as well as a Dior athletic therapy for post-exercise recovery.

As expected, there is a fully equipped gym on the same floor as the Dior Spa, with a few Dior-branded accessories as well, like the toile de Jouy-patterned yoga mat and ball.

Jean Imbert’s Riviera specialises in Mediterranean coastal-inspired dishes.

Is the restaurant worth its salt?

If there is one thing you will not be doing at The Lana, it is going hungry. Jean Imbert of Hôtel Plaza Athénée fame is one of the names that you will encounter at the hotel, as is Martín Berasategui, he who holds a cumulative 12 Michelin stars in his native Spain. Angelo Musa, pâtissier extraordinaire, rounds out the trio of award-winning chefs shaping the dining programme at The Lana. It’s the first time that Imbert, Berasategui, and Musa have opened their own concepts in the UAE, and their respective debuts leave a formidable impression.

Imbert’s Riviera takes the best of French and Italian coastal cuisines and shapes it into a modern Mediterranean experience that evokes feelings of endless summer sunshine and bountiful tables heaving under plates of sea bream with confit lemon and Provençal tomatoes, roasted whole Bresse chicken with confit potatoes, green risotto with herbs and seasonal mushrooms, tuna tartare prepared tableside, and Imbert’s signature vegetable-charcoal-encrusted avocado with caponata and baby spinach. Breakfast is also served at Riviera, and runs the gamut of classic continental to Middle Eastern; the latter includes a staggeringly generous mezze selection that a solo diner might struggle to finish.

Berasategui brings authentic Basque cuisine to Dubai through Jara, while his Jara Bar, on the same floor, will showcase pintxos snacks and cocktails. Open fires, charcoal grills, and clay ovens are the centrepieces of the bustling kitchen, and the indoor-outdoor configuration of the restaurant means you can dine al fresco or in full view of the cooking action. His collection of croquettes—with fillings of mixed mushrooms, cheese and spinach, Spanish squid, and cecina salted meat—and personal take on the classic gilda skewer snack lead the way as an introduction to the Basque cooking style. Dishes like the txangurro donostiarra, a San Sebastian-style spider crab stew, and traditional kokotxas casserole with clams are novel, and there is, of course, a robust selection of seafood and meat seared over the charcoal grill.

Bonbon Café’s laminated brioche with pistachio and rose is one of the eatery’s signature bakes.

Meanwhile, Bonbon Café will give other French patisseries in Dubai a run for their money. Musa, who was crowned the World Pastry Champion in 2003, knows a little something about crafting exquisite bakes; his all-day venue by the Marasi Bay Marina slings viennoiseries, bread, cakes, sandwiches, salads, and artisanal ice cream and sorbets. He also oversees the pastry programme at The Lana, so his impeccable croissants are never too far from reach.

Other than Riviera, Jara, and Bonbon Café, there’s also Veranda, a relaxed outdoor dining concept specialising in international light bites and cocktails, and The Gallery in the hotel lobby for a spot of afternoon tea—the menu is also available in a vegan iteration for diners following a plant-based diet. (Don’t miss the excellent platter of finger sandwiches.)

Bitter Honey is set into a discreet alcove in the lobby.

Do you want to spend Friday night in the lobby bar?

Yes—Bitter Honey is intimate and discreet, set into a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alcove in the hotel lobby with a tall, dramatic arch that gives it just the right touch of theatrical. Drinks on the menu are inspired by the sweet elixir that lends the bar its name, with original creations like the Honeysuckle Daiquiri or Campari-based Bee and Loathing making an appearance.

However, for something even more exclusive, the hidden, after-dinner speakeasy and cigar lounge, Txakolina, would be our pick. Available to hotel guests or by invitation only to folks not staying at The Lana, this private nook, billed as a “closely guarded secret,” proffers a curated list of fine spirits from around the world, poured to the dulcet tones of vinyl records.

The Lana looks out over Marasi Bay Marina with a direct view of the Business Bay skyline and the Burj Khalifa.

Would you buy the hotel if you could?

No doubt. Owning such a gem is an attractive prospect, but I have a feeling the price tag attached to this new hotel will easily make my eyebrows disappear into my hairline. As the first of many developments to be raised from the ground on this side of Dubai, The Lana leads by example as a symbol of Marasi Bay’s high potential as an ultra-luxury waterfront neighbourhood for living and leisure, if the demand of the next-door Lana Residences is anything to go by—all units have been sold and some even resold since launch.

Score: 9

What Our Score Means:

1–3: Fire your travel agent if they suggest you stay here.

4–6: Solid if you’re in a pinch—but only if you’re in a pinch.

7–8: Very good. We’d stay here again and recommend it without qualms.

9–10: Forget booking a week. When can we move in permanently?

All images courtesy of Dorchester Collection.