These, believe it or not, are shisha flavours, for which flavour you would like in the hubbly-bubbly offered at Sambusek Lebanese restaurant at the 189-room Rosewood Abu Dhabi. Make your choice, and a shisha concierge appears to help you light the thing, and to keep it going if, like the gal, a non-smoker is trying to take one gentle puff. Rosewood Abu Dhabi is indeed a stylish luxury hotel with a lot of specials, and being able to eat a mezze outside, looking over this part of Al Maryah Island, is one of them, shisha or not.
Luigi Romaniello – yes, he comes from Rome – is even more excited about this two- year old hotel than he is about the two centuries-old house he has just bought in Tuscany (actually it looks more like a folly with eight bedrooms). Luigi is one of the most extrovert Italians imaginable, and that says something. We rush down 31 steps to the wine cellar, and one flight of steps even further down, to a small stone room that is humidor plus whiskies, where already, even early evening, a couple of Brits are sampling, having a lovely time.
I am in 805, an end suite looking out at the adjacent Cleveland Clinic, which will provide a lot of business to the hotel in the form of relatives waiting for their loved ones to recover. The suite thinks of the senses. My welcome, with full descriptive notes, is a bottle of Comte de M 2007 Bekaa, sent by sommelier Isael Goncalves. Among the serious and well-chosen books is Paul Smith A to Z.’B is for brand: I hate the word brand.’
Here, by the way, there is also retail stimulation. Two minutes’ walk from the hotel’s wood-framed front door is the main entrance to Galleria, a three-floor luxury shopping mall, down below ground, designed by Adam Tihany. This whole area is growing, with whatever you need – Galleria has an Emporio Armani, a Zuma and many other eating places. From suite 805 I can also look out, to my right, to see a copper-coloured construction that will be Four Seasons Abu Dhabi.