Chef Jean Imbert’s Dubai

In a city built on extravagance, how does a new hotel that’s designed to be understated make a splash? Enter: Chef Jean Imbert.

While there’s no shortage of caviar and champagne on offer at Dorchester Collection’s newest gem, The Lana Dubai, this property wasn’t designed to be flashy. As the antithesis of the bling that so much of Dubai has been built upon, The Lana answers the call for a fresh take on Dubai with subtlety. When you slink up its drive in a Rolls-Royce Phantom (the house car of all house cars, if we do say so), and tuck into a Vispring mattress (the same ones used at Buckingham Palace) with a direct view of the tallest building on earth, the tranquility of Marasi Bay Marina takes over. To stay at The Lana is to take a breath of fresh air in dazzling Dubai.

Location, Location, Location

Despite only being a twenty-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, The Lana Dubai is in close proximity to the Dubai Design District and Dubai Mall. Its unique location on the marina affords easy access to the promenade along the banks of Dubai Canal so you can take a neighborhood stroll and stretch your legs — something rare in this not-so-pedestrian-friendly city. The Marasi Bay Marina is still being developed but manages to feel like an oasis tucked away from some of the more built-up areas in the city. From this vantage point, The Lana provides panoramic views that capture the essence of this cosmopolitan cityscape with the iconic Burj Khalifa in full view.

DC Moments

Many years in the making, this tenth outpost by Dorchester Collection stays true to the brand’s Europen roots with thoughtful design by French duo Gilles & Boissier. We adore the femininity of the Himalayan-salt pink marble framing The Lana’s entrance played as a perfect pairing to the plush velvets adorning its lobby furnishings. These soft touches are only complemented further by the use of the signature Dorchester rose — a specific bloom created by Meijer Roses of Holland — bursting from decorative motifs that adorn the entrance, just as they do when you’re walking into The Dorchester in London.

As Dubai continues to evolve, The Lana serves as a testament to the city’s unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation. The team — many of whom came from other Dorchester Collection properties around the world — is dedicated to curating bespoke experiences that showcase the best of what Dubai has to offer, from exclusive art galleries to world-class events and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, The Lana invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and delight.

Chef Jean Imbert

Those fortunate enough to have spent time at sister property Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris will feel all the more at home at The Lana thanks to Chef Jean Imbert’s presence across multiple of its Dubai dining outlets. Bringing Chef Imbert into The Lana was a natural progression for Dorchester Collection as the team opened its first Middle Eastern hotel; the collaboration allows for guests who’ve long known and loved the brand to have the best of both worlds as they dip their toes in traditional Arabic influences through a fusion of French flair.

…the choice was representative of the brand’s commitment to ushering its properties into a more modern, fresh wave of what luxury means to discerning travelers.

Chef Imbert took on his first project with Dorchester Collection in 2021 when he was announced as the successor of Alain Ducasse at Hôtel Plaza Athénée. At the time, the decision set the hospitality world abuzz; while Imbert was well on his way to becoming a French household name after winning the French edition of Top Chef in 2012, the decision to have him helm one of the most prestigious outlets in the world without any Michelin stars yet under his belt was a calculated risk. Ultimately, the choice was representative of the brand’s commitment to ushering its properties into a more modern, fresh wave of what luxury means to discerning travelers. And serving up (quite literally) the unexpected is what Jean Imbert does best— in fact, he’s famously been quoted to enjoy his status as the underdog.

With over half a million Instagram followers and a reputation for cooking and collaborating with Pharell, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and beyond, it could be easy to reduce Chef Imbert to a social media star. But those who do so clearly haven’t tasted his food. In his early forties, Imbert is far from an overnight success; over twenty years ago, he opened his first restaurant, Mamie, in Paris in partnership with his grandmother. That solid foundation has allowed him to bring his talents as far and wide as French Polynesia at The Brando, aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train by Belmond, and now to his latest outposts in Dubai at The Lana. No matter where he’s cooking, Imbert’s Bretagne roots and the fundamentals he honed in his grandmother’s kitchen shine through across his menus.

We checked in with Chef Jean Imbert to learn more about what his latest project means to him.

SmartFlyer: Tell us about the early days of your partnership with Dorchester Collection—how did you know the brand aligned with the direction of your career as a chef?

Jean Imbert: I used to visit Dorchester Collection hotels a lot as a customer before becoming the Chef at Plaza Athénée, and I always found that they had a wonderful ambiance across their exceptional hotels positioned at iconic addresses around the world. All the hotels in Dorchester Collection have a history that fascinates me, and in my projects, I always try to do things that have meaning and make me dream, so it seemed obvious that I should do my best to work with them.

SmartFlyer: What excited you most about the opportunity to open an outlet in Dubai?

Jean Imbert: What’s exciting about The Lana Dubai project is, first, continuing to work with Dorchester Collection, which is a collaboration I’m very proud of. Secondly, working in a new hotel where there is so much to explore, in a place [Dubai] that I don’t know well yet. It is very challenging, but I love a good challenge.

SmartFlyer: How did you decide on the menu concepts for Riviera and High Society? How long did it take from ideation to execution to bring them to life?

…creating the menu isn’t the most time-consuming part, it’s spending time with the teams, doing tastings, and thinking about what doesn’t work that takes time

Jean Imbert: The menu concepts for Riviera and High Society came quite naturally. In my restaurants, I like everything to be cohesive: the decor of the place, the menu, the design of the menu… I like every detail to be thought through to make everything work together. In a place like Riviera, it’s the cuisine inspired by the South of France, Italy, and Greece that seems to me the most appropriate, whereas for High Society, which is more of a cocktail bar, bites, and dishes are meant to be shared. As in all restaurants, creating the menu isn’t the most time-consuming part, it’s spending time with the teams, doing tastings, and thinking about what doesn’t work that takes time. All the work and revising that comes after creating the menu is what makes the guest experience special.

SmartFlyer: How do the Dubai restaurants incorporate your French roots while bringing something fresh to the city?

Jean Imbert: As I’m a French chef and my cooking is essentially inspired by traditional French cuisine, it seemed obvious to me to add my ‘French touch’ to my restaurants, even if the inspirations are sometimes broader. We know that Dubai has a large French clientele, so it seemed also interesting from that point of view to incorporate my French roots.

SmartFlyer: Tell us about the “Chef Jean’s Favourites” section of the breakfast menu.

Jean Imbert: The ‘Chef Jean’s favourites’ section of the breakfast menu includes some of the classics we have at the Plaza Athénée, which I’m proud to be able to serve at Lana too.

SmartFlyer: If you had a free day in Dubai, where would we find you?

Jean Imbert: If I had a free day in Dubai, I think you would find me tasting some restaurants, same as I would be in Paris or other places I might find myself in the world with a day off. But the concierge at The Lana has been wanting to help me tap into my sense of adventure, so they have created some recommendations for me like ballooning and skydiving that I might take up next time I have a break from the kitchen.

SmartFlyer: What’s something to you that’s distinctively Dubai?    

Jean Imbert: Dubai is a very international destination and despite the presence of many restaurants with very different concepts, I have the feeling that there is a place for everyone, which is very interesting. It is a city I’m getting to know and it certainly has a lot to offer.

SmartFlyer: What do you think will surprise first-time Dubai travelers most about this international city?

Jean Imbert: The diversity of bars and restaurants in the city is overwhelming (in a positive way). There are lots of places to spend quality time with family or friends, with interesting concepts and distinct atmospheres. I don’t think people visiting for the first time expect to have many choices, but that’s what Dubai, and specifically, The Lana has done so well: it’s full of surprises.

The Lana Concierge Picks for The Adventurer

Coming off Chef Imbert’s notes on what he’d do to experience Dubai as an adrenaline junkie, we checked in with the concierge at The Lana for some insights into top picks. While Dubai remains a jumping-off point for all kinds of cultural immersion, they opted to showcase two ways to see the city and its surroundings from a higher vantage point: ballooning and skydiving.

Balloon Ride

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the desert from a unique perspective with a private adventure balloon tour. Accompanied by an expert balloonist and falcon handler, you’ll witness stunning aerial views of the desert landscape, with the chance to spot majestic Oryx and camels below. Perfect for special occasions or those seeking a cultural adventure unlike any other, work with your SmartFlyer travel advisor to book.

Skydive Dubai

For thrill-seekers craving an adrenaline rush, Skydive Dubai offers an exhilarating experience of free-falling over the city at 120 miles per hour. Whether you’re a beginner jumping tandem with experienced guides or a licensed diver taking the plunge solo, Skydive Dubai caters to all levels of adventurers. With a tandem flight from their Palm location, it’s a worthwhile investment for those unafraid of heights and seeking the ultimate thrill.

Back on Solid Ground

After all that adventuring, you’re likely to be craving somewhere soft to land and re-regulate the nervous system. Fortunately, the accommodations at The Lana are nothing short of extraordinary and sure to envelop you in every creature comfort. Or, if you prefer to relax at the spa, personalized treatments and holistic therapies await. And finally, because we can just never get enough of talking about food, we’ll recap the highlights of the eight dining outlets available on property, including one at the rooftop pool for ultimate relaxation.

Accommodations at The Lana

When exploring rooms and suites at The Lana Dubai, guests are greeted by a seamless blend of contemporary design. Each meticulously appointed guest room and suite exudes sophistication and style, offering a sanctuary of comfort and tranquility amidst the bustling cityscape. From breathtaking views of the iconic Burj Khalifa to the serene waters of Marasi Bay Marina, every vista is a testament to the beauty and grandeur of Dubai. Be sure to partner with your SmartFlyer travel advisor to find the room or suite that best fits your needs.

The Dior Spa

For those who revel in the art of relaxation and rejuvenation, The Lana Dubai offers an exquisite experience tailored for Dior Spa lovers. Immerse yourself in the epitome of luxury and tranquility as you indulge in signature Dior Spa treatments designed to pamper the body and soothe the soul. From revitalizing facials to indulgent massages, their expert therapists ensure a blissful escape from the stresses of daily life.

Check, Please!

At The Lana, every aspect of your dining and leisure experience is carefully curated to elevate your stay to new heights of luxury and sophistication. From Michelin-starred dining to unparalleled amenities, the property invites you to embark on a culinary journey and indulge in the ultimate in luxury hospitality. In addition to Jean Imbert’s culinary masterpiece, The Lana boasts a diverse array of dining options curated by Michelin-starred chefs. Delight your palate at Bonbon Café, curated by Angelo Musa, where delectable pastries and artisanal treats await. For a taste of Spanish culinary mastery, visit Jara Restaurant by Chef Martin Berasategui, renowned for his innovative approach to Basque cuisine.

The style of The Lana’s restaurants reflects a harmonious blend of contemporary design and traditional Arabic influences, creating an atmosphere that is both elegant and inviting. Whether you’re in the mood to savor a gourmet meal or prefer to enjoy a casual dining experience, each restaurant at The Lana offers a unique ambiance and culinary journey to remember. As you bask in the warm embrace of Dubai’s sun, retreat to the stunning infinity pool, a serene oasis surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking views. Lounge in luxury as you soak up the sun’s rays or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters, indulging in moments of relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the vibrant energy of the city.



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