Luxury Hotels


Girlahead has talked before about how great the arrival experience must be. Architecturally, being driven down to a subterranean front door is not exactly welcoming (various hotels in south-east Asia should take note). Being driven UP, on the other hand, somehow makes arriving customers feel personally elevated. That’s what Kapil Chopra, then with Oberoi, had in mind for the splendid The Oberoi Gurgaon

At Mandarin Oriental Barcelona you go up, but by foot. The arrival’s like walking a catwalk – see above. It’s exactly right for the location. Passeig de GrĂ cia is, in a city renowned for really-chic, the most stylish of them all. As well as Catalonians and tourists dressed to kill, here’s where you find the most exclusive boutiques.

Actualy, while on the shopping circuit, there are some front desks that can be reached via shops, or at least arcades and malls. Go in side entrances at, say, Four Seasons Montreal, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, or its siblings The Peninsula Hong Kong or The Peninsula Beijing. Also in Hong Kong, Landmark Mandarin Oriental can be accessed direct from The Landmark shopping centre. A short disstance away, go into Upper House via a pop-up displaying household wares by André Fu, designer of the hotel.

Some of the most memorable arrivals have other unique pointers. Go into The Betsy in Miami Beach and you right feel you are in a court of culture. There might be a jazz concert or a reading about to start, there are heritage photos of The Beatles and other memorabilia lining the corridors. Scroll down to find recent memories of Dubai. The lobby of 25hours has circular love-set with, at its head-rest core, some of the properties 10,000 books, to read and/or borrow. Atlantis the Royal is entered via changing videos that might be urns of fire, as if a prelude to the sky-high bulbous silver sculpture, by Mike McLeod in Jeff Koons style. Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach greets you with four corner-set, ceiling hung and floor length, flower displays.

A suitable conclusion here is arriving at Four Seasons George V, where the lobby invariably has sensational floral art by Jeff Leatham. He who invented the idea of, say, shoving metre-long flowers-on-stems in matching vases, the flowers-on-stems all at the exact same angle and thus parallel to each other, warrants a word named after him. Perhaps a verb? To Leathamise. Aficionados know what that means, and certainly stepping into the Four Seasons lobby off rue George V, you know you have arrived.