United Arab Emirates Travel Guide
When we shared some early images of the upcoming ME Dubai back in March, it was hard to wrap our heads around the undulations and contortions that are a staple of Zaha Hadid Architects.
With this new batch of renderings, we continue to look (gasp) in amazement and wonder at the hotel’s visual evolution. If space is still the final frontier, then the ME by Melia, Dubai, opening in 2016, seems like a good prototype for a hotel in space--it is just that way out there. It's also gonna be expensive to build.
Hotel Bathrooms / Hotel Design / Hotel Rants / Abu Dhabi Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Le Royal Meridien Hotels / Jonathan Khoo / → All Tags
This looks like a nice bathroom, right? Granted, the toily is a little close to the shower, and we’d prefer a proper bidet to a hose that someone else might have done who knows what with, but overall it looks good. Props for the separate tub, sexy streak of brown marble and omg-yes-gimme-dat dinnerplate showerhead.
Except the hotel left out one thing. A panel of glass.
This was the tweet that alerted us to the problem recently, from friend of HC and intrepid traveler, Jonathan Khoo.
hey bathroom designers (hotel & otherwise), ALWAYS a bad idea to just have a shower out in the open with no wall, tub, curtain, lip, etc.— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) August 14, 2014
Yes, as much as we may bitch about peekaboo bathrooms, there is a worse bathroom sin, and that is the bathroom that leaks everywhere.
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Four Seasons Dubai is coasting towards its 1 December opening, and to pique our interest four months off, unleashed some new renderings over the weekend.
We’d already shown you the rooms, which look like your typical luxe hotel digs, though the blingy bathrooms, shown this time round, are a cut above:
All 237 rooms will have sea views, Presidential Suites (there’s more than one?!) have their own gyms and media rooms, and the Royal Suite has a room for one’s butler. There will be two free-form pools in the grounds, and one outside the spa. There will also be an onsite watersports center, and 10 restaurants, one of which is the rooftop Mercury Lounge, pictured above.
So what sets it apart from Dubai’s gazillion other megaluxury hotels? For a start, it’s “intimately scaled” according to the company. For another, it’s relatively short – just five stories in a city of skyscrapers.
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And so the expansion of Four Seasons Hotels continues apace: we told you about Moscow (we’re still in shock over the prices), Boston round two, Kyoto being years off but in progress, and now Dubai (above) and Johannesburg are opening at the same time later this year. Having a little wander around the internet, we found reference to other Four Seasons Hotels coming to Puerto Rico, Oman, Barbados, and more as well.
Whether it’s a dose of winter sun in the Middle East, or summer sun and safari in South Africa you’re looking for, reservations are open from December 1 at either property.
In true Dubai-style, the Four Seasons at Jumeirah Beach does things big: 237 rooms starting at over 750 square feet, 10 restaurants and lounges, three swimming pools and spa, and a private beach. The design looks fairly typical Four Seasons, with all rooms having some form of outdoor space. Also big? Nightly rates, with an introductory offer ringing in at 2,204AED, or just over $600.
Luxury hotels are a dime a dozen in Dubai — OK, a million a dozen — and it really is only a matter of time before the world’s top fashion designers want to be part of the action. Bulgari Hotels and Resorts have just thrown their hat into the ring with the announcement of their fifth luxury hotel, Bulgari Hotel Dubai, to be located on Jumeirah Bay Island. The hotel group has not given an official opening date, but has said it will likely be in 2018.
Hotel Weddings / Hotel Helipads / Dubai Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Insane Hotel Packages / → All Tags
The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is the world's most luxurious luxury hotel where every hotel room is a two-story suite, every guest has its own butler, and every in-room iPad is plated in gold. And now, weddings at the Jumeirah Group hotel are sky-high. Literally.
The hotel's new Wedding in the Skies experience will allow couples to get married on the helipad of the hotel 212 meters above the Arabian Gulf. The very same helipad where Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a game of tennis and where Formula One Champion David Coulthard performed donuts in a Red Bull Racing car.
For $55,000, guests will work with not a wedding planner but rather a "Wedding Architect" who will guide them through such pressing wedding day decisions as--should the couple arrive at the hotel by air in an Italian twin engine Augusta 109 or by road in a Rolls Royce Phantom? Which wedding cake from Executive Pastry Chef Johannes Bonin should they choose from? Which spa sessions from the Talise Spa should they indulge in? And perhaps, most importantly, what specially designed wedding scent developed by a leading perfumist should the couple spritz everywhere?
Other perks in the package include, accommodations (of course), private sessions with personal trainers, shopping and styling sessions with personal stylists, dance and etiquette lessons, floral consolations and access to Dubai's best jewelers and top haute couturiers.
Interestingly, there's no mention of photography services so we hope the Wedding Architect can at least recommend someone. And yes, we think you should get BOTH a photographer and a videographer for this big day.
[Photo: Burj Al Arab]
The announcement was made yesterday that The Langham, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai will open on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah with 323 rooms, all with outdoor terraces and sea-front views. Fifty-three of the rooms, designed by Aedas Limited, will be either one or two-bedroom suites and 22 of those will have their own plunge pools. #todiefor
The restaurants, most of them al fresco, will range from Japanese to Arabic and Italian fusion while the Palm Court lounge will be modeled after the original at The Langham Hotel in London (remember, this was the first hotel lounge to serve traditional afternoon tea in 1865.) The hotel will also feature a Langham Club Lounge with complimentary food and beverage throughout the day, along with a dedicated concierge service. To peep on the Langham Club experience, read our story HERE.
There will even be a separate Travellers Lounge where guests can hang out before their room is ready or after check-out but before their flight. Aside from a library, entertainment options and light dining, this lounge will have showers and change rooms.
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Dreams do come true...in Dubai, where Vikram Chatwal's Dream Hotels will open in late 2014. But this won't be some regular old hotel on a city block. No, this is Dubai, where everything is done not just bigger and better, but biggest and bestest.
So in following that logic, the Dream Dubai will be housed in the Marina 101, which is on track to be one of the largest super towers in Dubai and which will make the Dream Hotel the tallest hotel tower in the world when it opens. (Sorry, JDubs. You've got competition.)
Abu Dhabi Hotels / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Mixologists / Hotel Drinks / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Your fancy luxury hotel may have a mixologist crafting up specialty cocktails at bar downstairs but does your fancy luxury hotel have a Camel Milk Mixologist working there? Didn't think so.
That rare kind of mixologist can only be found at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi which just opened in March. Mohammad Daoud does pretty much what his job title implies--mixes drinks with freshly muddled ingredients infused with locally-sourced camel milk, ranging from flavors such as sweet strawberry and refreshing mint. “I wanted to create something special for the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan,” said Daoud. “Because camel milk has a high level of protein and additional nutrients, it’s an excellent beverage to consume during Sohour, the meal taken prior to sunrise for Muslims fasting during Ramadan.”
Ramadan begins next Monday and lasts through August 7 but the hotel will continue to offer its camel milk menu in Mijana, the hotel's Arabic restaurant. There, the mixologist can help camel milk newbies guide them through their first-time tasting as well as come up with different camel milk flavors to pair with various dishes. Of course, all these preferences can be saved for their next visit.
Want to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi? Room rates start around $750 AED a night, or about $205 USD. Contacting the camel milk mixologist ahead of your stay is highly recommended at +9712 818-8282 or emailing email@example.com. Camel milk not your thing? Head over to the Ritz-Carlton Phulay Bay, where there's a spice concierge instead.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Amenities / Dubai Hotels / Paramount Hotels / Hotel Movies / Movie Set Hotels / → All Tags
A few months ago, we told you about the new Paramount Pictures movie-themed hotel coming to Dubai. And now, we have a few more details on that project thanks to a recent interview in Hotelier Middle East.
In it, the CEO of Paramount Hotels & Resorts (keep in mind, this will be the company's first-ever hotel) explains that while Paramount Pictures is one of the biggest movie studios around, and its films are very well-known, people usually aren't able to connect the actual movies to the company (Grease, The Godfather, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, and Forrest Gump were all Paramount movies, in case you were wondering).
Thus, the hotel will attempt to kill two birds with one stone: create the ultimate movie-lover's hotel experience, and by doing so, educate people on the impressive Paramount Pictures back catalog.
The CEO told HME:
"In-room entertainment will be home theatre surround systems inside the guestrooms as a minimum because I’m convinced that this will be a top expectation from all our guests.
We’ll look at themes for the entertainment throughout the year; give each month a theme, so in February with Valentine’s Day it could be love films. The hotels will also have a screening room; a high-end luxury theatre with lounge seating, a multi-functional environment."
Luxury Hotels / Hotels with iPads / Dubai Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel iPads / Hotel News / → All Tags
The answer is: of course not! But this is The Burj Al Arab and whatever their high-paying guests want, or think they might want, they will get. Hence the new 24 carat gold iPads that are now available in all guestrooms. (No doubt, these will show the Emirates Palace just how silly their gold Christmas tree was!)
The iPad will be loaded with the Burj Al Arab's own virtual concierge software, enabling guests to order up whatever they wish through the iPad. The glittering iPad is just one of the latest high tech amenity additions to the Burj which already has iMacs in each room, plasma TVs and private butler service. Fortunately, the WiFi is free.
But as Business Insider points out--the starting room rate is $1,500 so perhaps offering up gold iPads is the least the Burj could do.
Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi generally gets most of the attention when it comes to Viceroy hotels in the Middle East. But that's all about to change, as word got out last week that Viceroy is planning to build a 481-room beachfront resort on the Palm Jumeirah.
We kinda figured one 1,500-room mega-resort would be enough, but we guess we were wrong.
Set to open in 2017, Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah will be a mixed-use development, with an adjoining 220 pre-furnished luxury residences, a spa, private beach club, 3 outdoor swimming pools, and the hotel itself. Of course, plenty of this already exists in Dubai, but this is a city practically founded on the concept of one-upmanship, so there's always room for something bigger, better, and more bombastic.