No luxury hotel works without its people, says the gal. Arrive at Park Hyatt Dubai, conveniently close to the airport and yet surrounded by so much greenery and water that you think you are in the distant countryside, and you are asked if you have any laundry to be done. How long will it take? A couple of hours. The young man came in five minutes, and sure enough two hours later, on the dot, he came back, smiling with said garments, now washed and pressed. Small items were wrapped in paper and linen in a big leather box.
Needless to say for the intervening two hours I was room-bound. I looked out at the water and the greenery and listened to the birds, and read really decent newspapers and caught up on emails. Believe it or not some ‘top hotels’ here do not have the fast and reliable connectivity that the world associates with Dubai (I had one very-tricky Skype hotel in Dubai on this trip but it was not this hotel). Temporarily lost on one occasion – now fully clothed as my laundry had come back – I was immediately befriended by an Uzbek concierge. I love the hotel world. It is a microcosm of the United Nations, and fun.
After watching the sunset it was dinner in Arabesque, a tall white room with columns that looks like a palace of yesteryear, apart from its working pizza oven, that is. We drank Matua Shiraz 2013 Marlborough and helped ourselves to far too much mezze from the buffet, and then proceeded to plates of meat, and seafood, kebabs. Lebanese food, sometimes with flavoured shisha hubbly bubblies for both sexes, is very popular throughout UAE but here, indoors, shishas are not allowed.
In the morning I lay on my carpet doing stretches and realised again how lovely it is to have sand-coloured carpeting that is deliberately waved, a reminder of the seashore (though apparently the ‘waves’ are hard on carpet cleaning). I have brown photos of old Dubai, by Richard Butterfield. I pulled back room 1309’s French windows before showering and wished again that all developers of luxury hotels would realise the importance of windows that open. I accessed the gym incredibly early, getting ready for a meeting and, back in Arabesque, smiling servers took me back to the same table and oh my, there was the big boss, Adrian Slater, as a surprise. Yes a hotel is about sense of place, say a wavy floor, and its people, led by the GM.