The best experiences in life are because of the people, says the gal. Undoubtedly there are other luxury hotels around the world that employ ‘public’ tidy-uppers. Long time ago, not in Bethlehem but at the still-missed Hong Kong Hilton, legendary GM James Smith had a female cleaner who dusted the escalators up to the Captain’s Grill around 12:30 every day, deliberately timed to ‘inconvenience’ the captains – of industry – ascending for their business lunches.
They got the impression, rightly, that Smith’s Domain was impeccable. The same happens today at Park Hyatt Dubai. Continually throughout every 24 hours someone painstakingly combs the fringe around the 30-foot diameter circular carpet in the hotel’s lobby.
It was a 90-minute trip, with a female driver, from Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi to its older sister (well, 2005 vintage), Park Hyatt Dubai. The former offered fantastic views of sand dunes and the hope of turtle-nesting and dolphins out in the blue sea. The latter offers creek-side views, immaculate gardens and serenity.
The five-floor building concertinas around in a double-sword shape, with angles both outside and inside – fortunately the signage is more than satisfactory. First thing I do here is find my way OUT of the 225-room hotel, down to the side of the creek. There are serene walks along the marina, with its moored yachts, and round Dubai Golf and Yacht Club – Thomas Björn had a hand in the design there.
Suite 1208, on the second floor of the first area, if you get the message, offered a lovely view, looking across the water to some of bustling Dubai opposite. This hotel does not bustle, it works to exact time but it is not rushed. The room, a Wilson design like St Regis Abu Dhabi, is here all muted sand colours, with plain walls throughout.
Corridor carpets are sand-and-tan sand dunes. Bedroom carpets are sand-and-sand sand dunes. Richard Butterfield brown and sepia photographs on the walls show – sand dunes and local scenes of yore.
It is very creative and soothing staying here. Creation means one can write well, first time. Soothing meant nothing grates, no extraneous noise and the free WiFi works everywhere, fast.
GM Adrian Slater, from New Zealand, is a young man with ideas from experience. He has put a bookshelf in 1208’s main ‘toilet’ area. It is a proper bookshelf, with hardback books and the latest issue of The Economist. That shows thoughtfulness and style.
One of these days someone should award hotels for thoughtfulness. (Talking of awards, outspoken car journalist Jeremy Clarkson’s article in the UK Sunday Times, May 6th, 2012, is spot on. ‘…giving awards for cars is daft, this year’s European car of the year is the Vauxhall Ampera … it is emphatically not fine if you are Elton John…
I ate in a restaurant where the menu said Chicken, flattened by a brick… seriously, do we want to know it could be deer, run over by a Toyota?… food is only a small part of what makes a dining experience great.. the best restaurant in the world is the one where your friends go’.)
One of the best breakfasts in the world is at Park Hyatt Dubai. I have said so in my notes – sorry guys, totally private, NO one sees these – on every visit and it just gets better and better.
It is a tall airy room, sand-coloured of course, with columns rising to arches. Servers wear white-sand pyjama suits that look good on the 460-ultra healthy team mates here but would look ghastly back in Jeremy Clarkson’s home town or anywhere in the GREAT US of A.
Look at the fruits, a riot of colour. Want milk? There are five, different, named jugs, including date milk. Want yoghurt, there must be five by five different flavours and types. And then there are the hot dishes… and the coffee is so good it must be the Maroma that I keep raving about.
There is a working pizza oven that at this hour is producing fresh-baked Arab bread. But then there is a whole table of different breads, even enough pumpernickel to satisfy Chancellor Merkel and her best-known driver, Michael Schumacher, who undoubtedly would not be seen in a Vauxhall Ampera either. Remember Jeremy Clarkson’s comment about restaurants being made by friends.
Well, how about this, Adrian Slater insisted on turning up at 07:00 (he said he is always up at five, do not believe him) and we chatted about this and that and then he saw me off to the airport. He probably wanted to make sure I was really leaving…