A riot of colour is how best to describe rooms at AL QASR, one of the beauties that make up the Madinat Jumeirah complex in Dubai. Look at room #521, above. Girlahead, who usually hates pattern with a passion – why bastardise a clear colour? – went wild as soon as the door was opened, on arrival. The designer is Kristina Zanic, whose eponymous Dubai-based company, with over 300 finished projects under her non-existent belt, is currently working in more than 20 countries. As it happened, the GM of Al Qasr, Peter Roth, who also oversees all of Madinat Jumeirah and seems to have even further-reaching responsibilities, was away on Special Assignment. It was impossible, therefore, to convey personal congratulations on how old and new so miraculously blend.
Al Qasr, whichis opened August 2004, deliberately designed like a sheikh’s Summer Palace, complete with wind tunnels atop the eight-floor sandstone building to attract cooling air. Looking out from the terrace of #521, to the immediate left is the side of a protrusion of the building, its recessed windowsills harbouring, day-long, cooing pigeons. ( The ageless vista evokes memories of TAJ LAKE PALACE in Udaipur. There, an aged crone with a six-metre rod attempts, in vain, to shoo away pigeons. Here, just a couple of cooing birds add to the ambience.) Back inside, turn through 360° to note how. although interior twisted columns, formerly dark wood, are now white, antique pieces of furniture remain and, indeed, complement Zanic colour. Interestingly, last visit here, pre-Zanic, some of the notable brightness were the Acqua di Parma toiletries, a burst of sunflower hue. Now these have been replaced by white-packaged Amouage – small size, OK, not beloved by environmentalists but so much more customer-friendly and surely overall better value, and no annoyance of fighting with narrow spouts of pump-pots while trying to get even a smidgen of conditioner.
Dinner was outside at Kayto, a delicious sashimi and black cod extravaganza, enhanced by the chilled 2020 Minuty Côtes de Provence rosé. Breakfast was outside at The Hide, which has one of the biggest, and best, buffets in the business. Whatever you seek is undoubtedly there. Look across to Madinat’s inland waterway and bright green of manicured bushes. The Peugeot mills are orange and turquoise, the Rene Ozorio china is white, eggs and smoked salmon add yellow and more orange. This is overall one strongly colourful memory.