For a year I lived across The Opus by Omniyat, a structure in the Burj Khalifa district of Dubai, and watched it being completed one glass panel at a time. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, helmed by the late British-Iraqi architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, the building features a massive cavity at its centre, resembling the handiwork of a giant. Besides offices, serviced apartments, and restaurants, the ME Dubai by Melià, occupying the entire ground floor, is the only hotel in the Opus.
If first impressions count, then the ME Dubai hits the mark right away with its open, highly Instagram-worthy lobby. The three floors of the hotel overlook the central atrium that includes the reception and a seating area. A sprawling glass roof ensures the atrium is bathed in sunlight all day long. Sharp angles and fluidity are all Hadid hallmarks, and have been strictly adhered to here. As I wait to complete my check-in formalities, my gaze constantly turns upwards to the dramatic yellow lighting built into the curvilinear floors. The specially designed LED lighting along the extended balconies and glass roof is paired with techno beats, changing as the day progresses, creating a trippy ambience as darkness descends.
The Aura rooms evince a swish and satiny touch. Photo Courtesy ME Dubai
Designed well before the pandemic, the pod-shaped seating in the lobby coincidentally allows for sufficient social distancing. Gold-rimmed cocoons with burgundy sofas from Hadid’s Petalinas collection, inspired by flowers, pop against the all-white interiors—the space is uncluttered and functional, yet very chic.
The ultra-modern, minimalistic, and fuss-free design aesthetic extends to all 93 rooms. Guests can choose from two themes depending on their mood. As an ode to Dubai’s location, Aura, the desert theme, is dominated by sleek neutrals and nods to native nature, offering calm and soothing vibes; the other, Vibe, features deep midnight blues, and sets the tone for some serious revelry and partying. Even the bathrooms are carefully designed extensions, the latter and former featuring white and black marble, respectively. The dark blue interiors of my room did not mirror my mood, and I felt a lot more comfortable in an Aura-themed room that aligned perfectly with my state of mind.
Relaxation is reflected across the shimmering pool (bottom), and framed in the modish mirror-like windows (top) that span its unconventional design. Photo Courtesy: ME Dubai
ME Dubai stakes claim to be the only place to have both its exterior and interior designed by the master architect, Hadid, and as a result, there are some very unusual and futuristic elements found across the hotel. In the bedrooms, the key feature is the custom bed, flanked by brushed metal headboards with recessed lighting set along sweeping curves. Smart technological features make everything super easy and accessible at the touch of a button. All rooms come with a 65-inch LED TV that turns into a webcam when someone rings the doorbell. Air conditioning, curtains, and lights can all be controlled via the TV. There are lighting presets and guests can pick the one they enjoy the most. I found the motion sensor by the side of the bed that turns on the ambient lighting automatically: a very useful feature.
What was also instant love was the signature ME essence, a combination of fruity watermelon and cool cucumber, which is used throughout the hotel. If there was one thing I could take back with me, it would be that deliciously pleasing essence. ME delivers subtle surprises in different ways, each an elegant pleasure to experience.
Doubles start from AED1800, plus taxes.
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is the former Associate Editor, Special Projects at National Geographic Traveller India. She's partial to nature, history and the arts. She believes that every trip is as much a journey within as it is one outside.
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