Middle East Must-Sees

Eastern Mangroves’ Residence comes with a private butler, chef, masseuse, limo and chauffeur.

These days it seems like five-star sets the bar in the Middle East, so when you want unique luxury, you must go over the top and think like a Sheik. Here are two hotels that will make even the most prestigious VIPs drop their jaws. 

Just about a year old, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is still one of the most over-the-top hotel experiences you can find in this corner of the world. Here’s why: If nothing else, book this resort for the Beach View Suites, which measure at an impressive 1,291 square feet. Situated on the beachfront, each suite has a bedroom and living room, separate kitchen, and a large private terrace with an open-air plunge pool overlooking the Arabian Sea. Swoon. 

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Stay tuned for 2014 when the anticipated Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach is slated to debut. The hotel is still in the construction/development phase, but we say it is one of the most highly anticipated hotel openings.

We hear that the resort will have 237 rooms and 49 suites and will be just a mile from Dubai’s central commercial district. At press time, there were no liaison contacts available for luxury travel advisors, but stay tuned to LuxuryTravelAdvisor.com for updates on this luxury resort’s progress.

 

Have families traveling? We hear one of the 11 stand-alone private villas is ideal. These range from one to three bedrooms. Guests in these villas are entitled to private butler service, as well. 

For a truly opulent stay, you cannot go wrong with the Royal Villa, a 3,000-square-foot palatial space with three bedrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. The bathroom has a Hansgrohe rain shower and stand-alone Toto bathtub. A separate kitchen offers a private entrance for chefs and butlers to come and go with total discretion. Be sure to experience the private terrace with plunge pools, sunbeds and an outdoor rain shower.

Reach out to Sales Manager Christian Redl ([email protected]; 011-971-566-885-071), with questions. 

A visit to the Atarmia Spa is a must at this resort. The nine-treatment-room space specializes in aromatherapy. Three of the nine rooms have outdoor private terraces for alfresco therapies. Your VIPs will not want to skip the Caviar Sublime therapy, which includes an Aculift massage, scalp massage and a hand-and-foot treatment, all involving caviar. How is that for over the top? There is also an Opulence Caviar or Diamond Experience facial, which both sound equally extravagant. 

Spa Manager Nichola Roche ([email protected]; 011-971- 2-407-1170) is the best person to contact for spa inquiries. 

Dining options run the gamut at this property, from Arabian specialties to Western comfort food. The Park Bar & Grill restaurant serves up seafood, authentic Asian dishes and steaks, while The Café offers Arabic specialties and has a show kitchen. Note: It is best to make reservations 24 hours in advance. 

A-listers craving unique luxury will want to reach out to Front Desk Manager Ashwin Kaicker ([email protected]; 011-971-2-407-1234). Kaicker can arrange for private beach dinners, boat cruises, chef’s tables, cooking classes and private yoga sessions. 

Well-heeled travelers can also embrace the Emirati lifestyle at Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, another high-end option that is sure to wow even finicky travelers. 

Tip: Book the Kasara Suites, of which there are five. We hear these are the most exclusive suites in that they offer private plunge pools and complimentary access to the Kasara Club Lounge and personal concierge services.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Royal Villa
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Royal Villa is a 3,000-square-foot palatial space with three bedrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows.

For a client that commands the royal treatment, look into the one Royal Mangroves Residence, which has a rooftop private infinity pool, garden, terrace and bar with direct elevator access from parking (key if discretion is imperative). The Residence can be configured to a three-, seven- or 10-bedroom space and comes with a private butler, chef, masseuse, limo and chauffeur. 

Reach out to Simona Dobre ([email protected]; 011-971-2-656-1000), area director of sales. 

Some sweet pampering is to be had at the spa, which offers 10 treatment rooms, excluding private rooms, hammam and Vichy showers. The spa also features sauna and steam rooms, spa cuisine, consultation rooms and a styling section. Note: It is best to book treatments three to five weeks in advance. We hear the Shiffa Cleansing Emerald Ritual is the most requested treatment.

Contact Spa Supervisor Mohammad Fleifel ([email protected]; 011-972-2-656-1146).

Qatar Airlines’Business Class
Qatar Airlines’Business Class cabin provides à la carte dining, hot or cold towels and his and her Ferragamo amenity kits.

Dining at Eastern Mangroves is for the truly chic. Inside Scoop: If your clients are dining at Pachaylen, we suggest ordering the lamb shank. If dining at Impressions, book a table for the Cheese and Wine night, and if your clients are at Ingredients, they cannot miss with the Peking duck pancakes. 

It is best to make reservations at least a month in advance.

Luxury travel advisors can contact Food & Beverage Secretary Carolyn Oladive ([email protected]; 011-971-2-656-1161) with questions. 

Looking for something extra? The hotel has been known to arrange city tours of the Grand Mosque or the Yas Island with the Formula 1 Circuit. Guests can also arrange private shopping experiences, kayaking in the mangroves or private cooking classes. To arrange a special experience, reach out to the hotel’s Chief Concierge team ([email protected]; 011-971-2-656-1013).

Jetset Alert: Getting There

If you want to arrive in the Middle East in true VIP glamour, we suggest flying premium with either Emirates or Qatar Airways.

The Private First Class Suites on Emirates’ Airbus 380s are some of the best you can come by, with massage-enabled leather seats that convert to flatbeds. The suites also include a dining table, built-in vanity table with mirror, and an overnight amenity kit. Cool Touch: Each cabin has its own mood lighting system complete with a starlit sky, which adjusts throughout the flight to help combat jet-lag effects. 

Emirates Lounges
Emirates Lounges can be found at the rear of the Business Class cabin of the A380s.

First and Business Class passengers must check out the Lounge that sits at the rear of the Business Class cabin on the upper deck of the A380 (think fully stocked bar, hot and cold canapés, sofas and a 42-inch LCD screen). 

Need to freshen up? Emirates offers two fully equipped bathrooms in its First Class cabins, including shower facilities. Each Shower Spa has a cubicle with water temperature/time control. 

Either before or after departure, premium customers can relax in the Emirates Lounges at various airports around the world. All lounges have a business center, complimentary Wi-Fi and onsite chefs. 

While Qatar Airways does not provide First Class service to and from the U.S., its Business Class service does not disappoint. (See our November issue with a report on our own experience flying Qatar.) 

Qatar’s Business Class offers seats that convert into a fully flat bed. The cabin provides à la carte dining, hot or cold towels, his and her Ferragamo amenity kits (our favorite!), 17-inch LCD TVs and more. 

Most Qatar international flights have a layover at the Doha International Airport, and we say a trip to the Premium Terminal is a must. The terminal features its own private duty-free shopping, conference rooms, bars, fine dining, an area for children, spa treatment rooms, sauna and Jacuzzi. 

Qatar flies from Houston, New York and Washington, D.C. to Doha, and onward to Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Perth, Singapore and the Maldives. We hear the airline will be flying from Chicago as of April 2013.

We would be remiss not to mention Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. No doubt the most elite clients will want to travel Diamond First Class, which includes individual suites, lie-flat beds, a personal food and beverage manager, 23-inch television, personal mini-bar, personal wardrobe and more. 

First class passengers should experience the First Class Lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which has its own Six Senses Spa, a cigar lounge, a la carte dining and a champagne bar. 

A step down, but not far off, is Pearl Business Class, which features a flat bed within a privacy shell. These customers also have access to their own food and beverage manager as well as a 15-inch television screen and mood lighting to ease jet lag.

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