Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Up There on a Visit
So I'm off on a brief road trip - just up the highway to Dubai on an overnight, which is a regular enough sort of thing, but this time, for various reasons, I find myself in the tender care of a particularly de luxe client and so have the view seen above. I am, in fact, rather to my surprise, ensconced in a suite at the Armani Hotel, an intimidatingly contempo entity that occupies a number of floors in the vast monstrosity that is the Burj Khalifa, for the moment The Tallest Building in the World.
And I have to say it's all very odd. Stark in its opulent simplicity, the rooms around me (and I think I've found them all, although since all the walls appear to slide open and reveal other spaces, I'm not entirely sure) range in color and tone from high gloss ebony (I sit even now at a writing desk finished like a concert grand piano and of similar dimensions) through a matte gunmetal gray. The elaborately layered draperies (which rise and fall at the touch of a button) are variations on those shades, as are the almost equally elaborately layered carpets (faux-fur edged plush area rugs artfully placed over a woven floor covering that at some distant point in its tortured history may have been grasses, but which now seems more like an enormously enlarged houndstooth wool). The whole effect is - unexpectedly, given how determinedly futuristic it all is - oddly retro, in the sense that it seems quite thoroughly 1970s. I half expect to find cocaine on one or another of its relentlessly textured surfaces.
Just concluded is what I very much hope is the last of this evening's massive son-et-lumiere spectacles focusing on the lake that fronts this vast tower (and it's discomfiting to think that looming over my head is something like 150 stories). It features dancing fountains that throw water a dozen floors or more into the air, great clouds of rolling smoke effects, and dozens of jets that propel great gobbets of Oz-the-Great-and-Powerful flames, offset by whirling searchlights and a sub-Orffian Carmina Burana-esque score of thundering drums and roaring orchestra. Quite exhausting.
Other than planning to plunder everything moveable in the way of toiletries and other disposables (which will doubtless deeply please the magpie side of Mr. Muscato), I really don't know quite what to make of the place. I've just survived the ordeal of having to speak to my "Lifestyle Manager" in order to ask for a little room service, and soon I'll have to face the even worse trial of determining how to turn off all the lights in order to grab a little sleep in a bed as austere and unyielding as a Corbusier facade. Frankly, it's making me nostalgic in the extreme for the deeply comfortable but comparatively dowdy digs we normally inhabit in Dubai when on our own or Golden Handcuffs' nickel.
Tomorrow, it's all back to reality, but right now I feel very Marisa-Berenson-shopping-at-Fiorucci, and while not even slightly the Armani type, I think perhaps I'll put a little Grace Jones on the iPod and pretend it's 1978 all over again. If only I had the blow... but then again, at my age, I need my beauty sleep. If I can figure out the bed, perhaps I'll get some. Wish me luck.