This New Luxury Hotel Is Proof That Dubai Can Be Understated

Amid the flashy hospitality of Dubai, the Lana, a Dorchester Collection hotel, adds a dose of understated luxury to the hospitality scene.

The rooftop pool at the Lana,Dorchester Collection, with several empty  white daybeds shaded by umbrellas at left and city skyline in distance

The rooftop pool at the Lana, a Dorchester Collection hotel, in Dubai

Courtesy of the Lana, Dorchester Collection


The vibe: Quiet luxury with superlative service in Dubai’s up-and-coming waterside neighborhood

Location: Marasi Drive, Business Bay, Dubai | View on Google Maps

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The AFAR take

At first glance, the Lana—Dorchester Collection’s new Dubai outpost and its first hotel in the Middle East—has all the hype-worthy features of a city defined by bling. The shimmering 30-story exterior was designed by Foster + Partners, with an infinity pool on the roof and a sumptuous Dior spa on the 29th floor set to open in April 2024. Yet the hotel, which opened in February 2024, is a study in calm, confident hospitality.

A valet walks by the cream-colored entrance of the Lana in Dubai

The entrance to the Lana in Dubai

Courtesy of the Lana, Dorchester Collection

The hotel’s interiors are designed by Gilles & Boissier, the Parisian duo behind the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, the Baccarat Hotel in New York, and the Hotel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf in St. Bart’s. The light-filled lobby’s soaring arches, cornices, curves, and mosaic-covered columns are complemented by gentle colors and textures, with grays, pinks, and sandy tones meeting materials like raw and polished marble, alabaster, and stone. The hotel contains more than 50 specially commissioned artworks by local and international artists, including striking gilded casts of natural honeycomb in the lobby by British artist Sophie Coryndon and Emirati artist Latifa Saeed’s glass and sand installations alluding to Dubai’s evolution from desert to city.

Who’s it for?

This is a hotel for those who love the Dorchester Collection’s sense of quality and service style—grown-up, knowledgeable, confident—and who don’t mind eschewing the showiness of many other Dubai hotels.

The Lana’s central urban location makes it ideal for those who want to be in the heart of the city with all of its intoxicating energy. Beach-loving guests have access to the sea at One at Palm Jumeirah, the Dorchester Collection’s private residences, located a 25-minute complimentary car transfer away. From April, boat transfers will also connect the two properties.

A Marina guest room, with a neutral palette and floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to private balcony

A Marina guest room at the Lana in Dubai

Courtesy of the Lana, Dorchester Collection

The location

Business Bay doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the addresses of other Dorchester Collection hotels, including Mayfair in London, Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, or the first arrondissement in Paris. There’s not much to do in the immediate vicinity of the hotel (though that’s set to change—more on that later). Even though the Burj Khalifa looks deceptively close, it would take a long, circuitous walk on not very pedestrian-friendly streets to get there. Having said that, if you’re happy to hop in a car, the hotel is located within quick and easy reach of most places of interest to a visitor. Dubai Mall is a 10-minute drive away, some of the city’s top restaurants and nightlife are a 15-minute drive, and Dubai International Airport is 20 minutes away by car.

The views of the Burj Khalifa and the skyscrapers that surround it across the Marasi Bay Marina are fantastic, especially at sunset when the sky casts a golden glow over the whole scene. As a long-term Dubai resident, I found myself adding it to my list of “best sunset views in the city.” The rooftop pool is a fine place for viewing sunset, although I preferred the panoramas from my 11th-floor balcony.

The hotel, which opened in February 2024, is a study in calm, confident hospitality.

The rooms

The Lana’s 225 guest rooms and suites follow the rest of the hotel’s design theme, with light, bright colors and soothing textures. The smallest rooms start at 603 square feet with additional balcony space and go right up to the 3,822-square-foot Lana Royal Suite with its own grand terrace. If you’ve splurged on one of the larger suite categories (the Lana Suite and above), complimentary airport transfers in one of the hotel’s two Rolls-Royces are included in the room rate.

My corner Marina Suite, measuring a very spacious 1,184 square feet with an additional 140 square feet of balcony space, was a symphony of whites and pale pinks, soft and feminine with impressive views of the marina and Burj Khalifa. The cozy bed was made for afternoon naps—it’s the kind of place where you’d want to curl up on the dreariest of days, wrapped in the fluffy duvet, head cradled gently by soft yet supportive pillows. Keep the curtains open and you can still enjoy the views from your bed.

Those views continued into the walk-in closet—a wardrobe with a view—and into the elegant white and gray marble bathroom, where a large bathtub is positioned in the window so you can watch the changing light over the water as you soak. Refillable amenities are by British cruelty-free brand WildSmith Skin with a custom scent featuring magnolia, jasmine, and cedarwood.

The food and drink

Breakfast takes place in Riviera by Jean Imbert, the chef who leads the culinary team at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, another Dorchester Collection hotel. It’s a lovely, fresh-feeling venue with greenery and slanted dividers creating individual seating areas indoors, plus a long sunny outdoor terrace with cheery blue-and-white striped cushions and planters filled with rosemary.

Outdoor table for two with view of skyscrapers (L); overhead view of food in shallow white bowl (R)

Dining at the Lana in Dubai comes with Mediterranean flavors and city views.

Courtesy of the Lana, Dorchester Collection

Breakfast choices include excellent bread and pastries, Middle Eastern items like shakshouka and falafel, indulgent soft boiled eggs and caviar, and an extraordinary spinach and goat cheese puffed omelette, a huge soufflé-like confection that is large enough to share.

Lunch features flavors of the French and Italian rivieras, including a tuna tartare made table-side, a popular dish with fellow diners that was too light on seasoning for me. I also ordered the intriguingly named PW’s corn / corn / corn, named, as my server explained, after Pharrell Williams, a good friend of the chef. The repeated “corn” refers to the three-beat opening salvo of most of Williams’s songs, and the dish itself was a large copper pan filled with polenta, topped with grilled sweetcorn and popcorn. It was probably better as a side dish than a main course, but it was nonetheless comforting on an unseasonably chilly day.

On the top floor of the hotel, next to the pool, High Society is the spot to quaff champagne (the Lana has the largest selection in the United Arab Emirates) and nibble on elegant bites like Tarbouriech oysters, fish crudo, creamy tarama with buckwheat wafers, and truffle and caviar Croque Monsieurs.

Just off the lobby is Bitter Honey, a tiny bar centered on a cocktail trolley where bartender Lionel crafts a selection of drinks that are a tribute to bees; some drinks feature local honey. “The bar is the hive, the guests are the bees, and the drinks are the nectar,” he said as he mixed up a delicate margarita with mescal, hibiscus, cherry, and Mexican tajín spice for me.

But it was the afternoon tea in the Gallery that blew me away ($163 per person, or $190 if you add a glass of NV Pol Roger Brut Réserve). Everything from the quality of the food to the pairing of the teas and the knowledge of the server Miles, who had arrived in Dubai after stints working at the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, was exceptional.

The lobby at the Lana faces Dubai's skyline, with high arched windows leading to outdoors

The lobby of the Lana in Dubai

Courtesy of the Lana, Dorchester Collection

Savories are delicate works of art, with tiny spirals of cucumber, tangy yuzu pearls complementing crab and avocado, and an egg sandwich with Alba truffle so light it felt as if it could float off the plate. Sweets are by award-winning pastry chef Angelo Musa, the ruby grapefruit and strawberry cheesecake being a major highlight, a sculpted swirl of pink deliciousness on a crunchy sablé base.

Not all the restaurants were open during my stay in early February. Jara by Basque chef Martín Berasategui, whose restaurants have earned him 12 Michelin stars, has now opened, along with speakeasy cigar lounge Txakolina. Parisian-style patisserie Bonbon Café by Meilleur Ouvrier de France pastry chef Angelo Musa has also recently opened on the ground floor next to the marina promenade.

Staff and service

There’s a sense of mature, professional poise here that’s typical of other Dorchester Collection hotels. That’s not to say it’s stuffy. There’s a friendly confidence throughout the hotel, even though I visited just a few days after opening, from the top-hatted doormen in smart burgundy suits to the servers in the restaurants who know their menus and products inside out.


The Lana has four accessible Horizon category rooms.

Still to come

The ever-growing Business Bay neighborhood is a bit of a mishmash of high-rises, hotels, waterfront promenades, and the odd construction site, and you won’t be strolling to cool cafés or smart boutiques from the hotel. Not yet, anyway: Still to come are shops and additional dining venues in the promenade that sits beneath the Lana’s private residences in the adjacent building.

Writer Nicola Chilton tells the stories of people, places, and unexpected adventures from her home base in Dubai.
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