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It's a known fact that Kempinski likes to do things big. Who got chosen as management for North Korea's most-famous-hotel-that's-never-opened, the Ryugyong Hotel? Kempinski. Whose property opened last month with the Dalai Lama's blessing? Kempinski.
Even when their employees are extorting money from guests' credit cards, they still manage to do it in style.
So it kinda makes sense that one of the brand's most iconic hotels, Kempinski Dubai Mall of the Emirates has decided to cement their renegade status by installing an 18 foot high "snow wall" along one side of Aspen, the hotel's cafe. As you can see in the above photo, the surface looks like it could be the lower strata of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, or possibly just some beautifully textured abstract wall art.
Not that the hotel is short on conversation pieces. The Middle East's first and largest indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai, is attached to the hotel; hence the 'snow' theme of the brand new installation. In fact, the snow wall's designers, London-based Solomon&Wu, built the shimmery wall out of glass-reinforced plastic in order to simulate "snow drifts and rock formations." Looks like they pulled it off.
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By now an inseparable fixture of the Dubai skyline, the 77-story twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is gradually introducing itself into the city. After an initial November opening, this month, the hotel begins service at its nine restaurants and five bars, including Vault, a cigar lounge and bar occupying the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel.
Think that's too many restaurants and bars for one hotel? Think again. Guiness Book of World Records officially recognized the JW Marriott Marquis as the world's tallest hotel, with a current total of 804 rooms.
And don't forget: that's still only half of the hotel. Though we expected the final unveiling sometime this year, the second tower isn't expected to open until late 2014.
That will bring the hotel's total room count to a whopping 1,600, allowing major conventions and meeting groups to house their attendees all under one roof. Like a giant slumber party, only instead of making popcorn and watching Sixteen Candles, guests will be gobbling steak at Prime 68 and whiling away their evenings soaking in the tub overlooking the twinkling lights of Business Bay.
Rates start at $217/night.
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We're only one month into 2013 but already there's drama brewing in the form of a hotel takeover, this time in Dubai. Hotelier Middle East reports that Pullman (which falls under the Accor brand) has been ousted as the management for Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates, which henceforth is to be known as the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates.
'So what?' you're thinking, 'hotels change management all the time.' True.
What's interesting about this re-branding, though, is the method in which the owners will implement the new changes. According to a tipster in Dubai, the switch will take place during the night, meaning guests will go to sleep in one hotel and, for all intents and purposes, wake up in a new one.
The basic structure will remain exactly the same, but with all new signage, branding—not to mention new staff—it might feel a little Twilight Zone-y coming down to breakfast in a different hotel than the one you had dinner in the night before.
Two for the price of one! Not that we'd expect anything less from a hotel inside a mall...
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You know those lazy afternoons in hotels when you're sitting in your room wondering, 'What the heck am I gonna do for the next three hours until dinner?' Well, there's a nifty little device that's been popping up in places like The Hermitage in Monte Carlo and Kempinski Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
Produced by a Dubai-based company called Sweetbeam, the bedside devices look like regular old picture frames. Except the images change. And upon closer inspection, you see that this isn't just background art—these are customized ads, subtly (or not) promoting different amenities that the hotel offers.
Forgot to bring your bathing suit? Turns out there's a boutique in the lobby—and bathing suits are on sale! Wondering what time happy hour starts? Five minutes ago! Didn't know there was a spa? Well, surprise—it's one floor above your room!
(Well, the ads don't use quite so many exclamation points as we do, but you get the idea...)
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Things are most definitely not slowing down over in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. After announcements on forthcoming hotels by Le Bristol and the budget-oriented Ibis, it looks like the 395-room Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is now taking rezzies for stays beginning on Jan 1, 2013. Whoopie!
Marriott's luxury brand already has quite a strong presence in neighboring Dubai, with two properties—the beachfront Ritz-Carlton Dubai Marina (which happens to be undergoing some major renovation/expansion work), and the snazzy Ritz-Carlton DIFC—attracting plenty of luxury-seekers in an already luxury-saturated market. But further down Sheikh Zayed Road, this will be Ritz-Carlton's first Abu Dhabi location.
But that's not all! Read on to find out about more UAE openings coming up around the corner!
Dubai is going all "Dubai" on us again, unveiling a plan to create a $1 billion "replica" of the Taj Mahal, which will include a 300-room, five-star hotel. Emphasis and quotations on the word replica due to the fact that Dubai's version of the iconic Indian structure will be four times larger than the original Taj Mahal.
Is anyone surprised by this?
This Taj Mahal is the most recent addition to the already in progress Falconcity of Wonders, a $35 billion-plus project located in Dubailand - a six-world theme park - featuring life-size reproductions of the Seven Wonders of the World (Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Piza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc.).
For what's shaping up to be our weekly Fantasy Friday post, we head back to Dubai (under better circumstances, this time, from earlier bad news) where the Raffles Resort is showcasing one hell of a dress—the world’s most expensive in fact--today and tomorrow.
How much does this frock cost? A whopping $5.65 million is the price tag for the Black Diamond dress created by British fashion designer Debbie Wingham.
Those at the hotel can ooh and ahh over the elegant sheath during a special Fashion Afternoon Tea this weekend featuring delicate pastry items like the Dark Chocolate Stiletto encrusted with sugar diamonds .
And just so you’re not sitting there eating cake and glumly lusting after sparkly things you can't afford, guests can enter a contest to win a pair of limited edition DCJ Black Diamond jeans worth $4,040. All you need to do is be able to spot the difference between the genuine Black Diamond dress and the “fake”, which is only worth a meager $16K.
The 26-year old employee, who is from India and worked in the reservations department, admitted to the crime and apologized. He was tried in Dubai’s Criminal Court and sentenced to six months jail time yesterday.
The crime occurred on September 27th when the Kempinski Hotel guest asked his bank about an unrecognized charge on his credit card bill from the airline. It was determined that the purchase date was the same as his stay at the Kempinski, located in the Mall of the Emirates. The guest then reported the incident to the police, who then tracked the name on the ticket and subsequently arrested the hotel employee. He will be deported after his prison term.
Remember The Palm and The World, the two giant land reclamation projects off the coast of Dubai? While The World remains mostly empty except for a single show home (and by some accounts, is sinking back into the sea), The Palm is adding another hotel to its list this fall: Fairmont The Palm Dubai.
Slightly more subdued in architecture, and admittedly, smaller, than its fellow Palm-resident Atlantis, this is still large-scale luxury. We’d wonder whether the current economy (in Dubai and elsewhere) could really support another big, expensive hotel, but then the upcoming opening of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai (1,608-rooms and the world’s tallest hotel) begs to differ.
Let’s look at the numbers for the Fairmont shall we? 381 guestrooms and seven restaurants, including pan-Chinese and Brazilian options, and the now seemingly ubiquitous cigar room with walk-in humidor. Four pools, a private beach, and a giant Willow Stream spa with 13 treatment rooms. A dedicated floor for Fairmont Gold, the group’s concierge level. Over 3,000 square meters of meeting and conference space, including a ballroom capable of holding 600+ people.
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Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger had a really good run in Dubai recently – including a 45-minute performance that netted her a million bucks – but promptly wiped out all that positive press last night in the heat of an LA nightclub. A photo emerged today that shows her and rapper Chris Brown getting awfully comfortable, and it kind of sort of looks like they’re kissing if you commit yourself to drawing inconclusive conclusions. Her reps are rabidly denying the report, suggesting it portrays a close conversation at a kicking club.
Press is press as they say, though, and it once again shines the spotlight on Scherzinger, who has made headlines of late for her reoccurring presence in Dubai. Last week she received $1 million to perform a short 45-minute set for Emirates NDB Bank at the Dubai World Trade Center, and back in August she made her home at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray for a few days as part of her role as a judge for X Factor UK. She and Grammy-winning R&B artist Ne-Yo held up in the Grand Imperial and one-bedroom suites, respectively, filming the Judges’ House scenes throughout the hotel property.
GulfNews reports that the hotel is predicting 80% occupancy over the first two years of its opening—that's roughly 1,300 out of the hotel's expected 1,600 total rooms, all filled. Never mind that Dubai is one of the world's most hotel-saturated cities, JW Marriott Marquis has apparently found its "sweet spot" (their words, not ours), and isn't at all worried about whether the demand will meet the supply.
But if the hotel's $1,200/night price tag is making you uneasy, consider this: for just a quarter of the price (and probably a tenth of the snobbery), Mina A'Salam offers an impeccable beach that sits right next to the Burj, so you can bask in the sail-shaped hotel's glory without ever having to break the bank. It's what we like to call "Dubai DIY."