Peter Roth, RVP Jumeirah and big boss of the company’s signature MADINAT JUMEIRAH complex in Dubai, can be summed up in one word, ‘debonair’. What a lovely word that is, from the phrase de bon aire (interestingly French sticklers complain about Parisians talking about ‘picnics’ and ‘weekends’ but the Anglos pinched those French words back in the 13th century).
Debonair also implies a degree of charm, polish and carefree outlook. James Bond can be called debonair. Girlahead has no idea how many real spies can be thus classified – she’s only come across two, or so she thinks, and the one coming out of the Pacific with a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot was enigmatic and the one wearing trilby to ward off the English cold was boring as a party political broadcast.
Peter Roth performs Bond-like trills. Some of the golf carts here have Escher-like camel decorations by Sheikha Wafa Bint hasher Al Maktoum, working as FN Design (she’s a cousin of Sheikh Mohammed). The boss has his driving licence in hands. He drives to PierChic, Madinat Jumeirah’s over-water restaurant 300 metres from dry land. There’s a curlique halfway along its boardwalk, an enclave to one side, ideal for an early evening cocktail to watch the sun set behind Burj Al Arab, about a metre away as the crow flies over the water.
Pierchic is empty save for smiling staff. It’s truffle time, and everyone’s favourite Italian mamma Beatrice Segoni, comes out personally to grate the white truffle, and grate some more, over the tagliolini. Girlahead imagines she is M, for Momma – Bond’s M was apparently based on Churchill’s spymaster Sir Stewart Grenville Menzies with whom Ian Fleming interacted at London’s Old War Office (yes, that’s right, the one that soon opens as RAFFLES OWO LONDON). This M’s smiling, and so is Girlahead, and so is Peter Roth. The restaurant is now full. Lunch for Emirati Bright Young Things. Just the kind of event-magnet that Peter Roth encourages word of mouth to bring yet more business.
Perhaps debonair’s other connotations, of charm, polish, and worldliness, should be combined with business acumen? The hotel industry is full of surprises.