Luxury Hotels


How food displays change with the times. When INTERCONTINENTAL HOUSTON opened what now seems many centuries ago, you could only get to its ‘fine dining place, which began with a P, by going up an escalator, walking across a shiny marble lobby watched by all the eyes of the numerous front desk clerks. Reach the closed door of said restaurant, and go in to an icebox temperature of a room. There were stained glass windows.  The food has not been remembered.

By contrast the welcome Omani coffee cart at AL BUSTAN, A RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL in Muscat, is a first and thus a lasting memory for so many – it’s being shown off (see above) by the Sultanate’s most fabulous, thoughtful and capable driver-guide, Yasser Marhoon Al Maamari   Read more about Al Bustan in days to come, but Saturday is food day, so we need to look at the rest of the world…

Let’s go Japanese. Mitsuru Tsukada is Omakase specialist at MANDARIN ORIENTAL GENEVA (Geneva gourmets love Japanese, but that’s another story). The hotel’s SACHI restaurant has been designed by Yoshi Kida, who also did Matsuhisa at ROYAL MONCEAU, RAFFLES, PARIS (a Girlahead favourite – this is the one that so brilliantly transforms into one of Europe’s all-time best breakfast buffets).   In Geneva Kida-san focuses on beautiful lighting, dark wood from unique Swiss oak, and sparkling textures and shapes that enhance the riverside ambience, all conveying a sense of the local Swiss culture. Its Martini bar has unique blue onyx marble. Kumiko-style Japanese woodwork, in a traditional shippo pattern: it hangs from the stainless steel ceiling, along with traditional oak latticework called koshi, to lend a feeling of comfort and privacy. The hotel’s SACHI Discovery package includes an  eight-course Omakase menu at the live-cooking bar, and bed, breakfast and parking.

If Geneva is into Japanese, the whole world has been into Copenhagen’s Noma, at least from afar. It’s well known it is nigh impossible to get a reservation, amd now it could be too late. This Monday Noma conceptor Rene Redzepi announced the restaurant will close later this year. It will become Noma 3.0, which he describes as a pioneering test kitchen for food innovation and development of new flavours.

Oh dear, do we NEED new flavours?  Why not just stick with existing flavours served with imagination, say doughnuts filled with beef cheeks, and brioche containing fresh olives, both tasted in Dubai, and, in Muscat, frankincense icecream?