The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Research Conversations: Atheer Al Mulla

02 March 2021, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Hilton Hotel - from Hilton Hotel Al Ain Archives

MPhil/PhD student Atheer Al Mulla discusses her research.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Thomas Abbs

The Modern 'Emirati Hotel'

Atheer Al Mulla

Supervisors: Professor Iain Borden and Professor Edward Denison


The luxury hotel is a significant by-product of modernity, an institution which has been influenced by the expansion of international transportation routes, technological advances, the new age of travel culture, and luxury design. Yet, the existing literature on modern architecture in the United Arab Emirates often showcases the hotel as a fancy lifeless facade, merely treated as an abstract space devoid from soul and meaning. Atheer's research is an attempt to explore the modern hotel as an embodied experience of modernity, influencing new social and cultural attitudes within the local Emirati urban landscape. Between the first branded hotel in UAE, the Hilton Al Ain which was built between 1968 and 1971, and the current thriving luxury-hotel scene in Dubai and Abu Dhabi represented by Burj Al Arab, the worlds’s only seven star hotel, opened in 1999, Atheer will situate the curious case of the modern ‘Emirati hotel’.

Image: Hilton Hotel Al Ain Archives