Saturday, February 9, 2013
Room with a View
I hope you'll pardon the hiatus of the last couple of days; Mr. Muscato and I have been off on a more-or-less unplanned little jaunt, courtesy of a friend in the travel business. We are, you see, in the early stages of what chez nous is considered the busiest holiday season of them all: Mr. Muscato's birthmonth. Back home in WASP-land, we tapered off on birthdays by ten or so; not so, it seems, in Egypt, where birthdays are big business for, as they say at the circus, children of all ages. In any case, various friends up in Dubai wanted to throw him a party, and at the same time, we got an offer to spend the weekend in what must be one of that very silly city's very silliest hotels at a highly advantageous rate. Of course, we leapt at the chance.
The hotel in question is located out on The Palm, Dubai's man-made peninsula in the shape of a many-fronded tree surrounded by a halo of land that both acts as a breakwater and the home for a series of resorts. The most famous of these, I suppose, is Atlantis, an overblown horror show I once wrote about after what the Mister and I realized was our last visit to The Palm, some four years ago.
Our hotel is a more recent arrival, a resplendent pile meant to recall the splendor and excess of the Ottoman empire, which, it must be admitted, to a creditable degree it does. Unlike so much of Dubai, most of which is as humorlessly charmless as a place devoted to Fun at All Costs can be, it shows signs of having been designed with a certain wit.
Here, for example, is a quiet corner of the lobby. The snap hardly does justice to the riot of colors and textures set against the limitless expanses of polished inlaid marbles, but whether or not one fully approves of the taste, one has to grant that it has a very definite Wow Factor. As did our suite, the view from which appears up top (with Dubai doing a very creditable impression of a real city, in the distance; being on The Palm does give one lovely skyline views). It was a dark and rather mysterious lair, with the walls colored a burnished bronze that was offset with long panels of antiqued mirrors, a great deal of Louis-XIV-meets-a-belly-dancer furniture in black and gold, and a bathroom that would not have been at all out of place in a Gloria Swanson-Cecil B. DeMille epic. If the place didn't also sport a spa that recalls in scale the Baths of Caracalla and in decoration the home of Miss Belle Watling, we might have just stayed in the suite all weekend.
Breakfast is served in a vast long gallery that's working hard to recall the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, but which seems in the end more like a department-store dining room of the mid-thirties. The food was great, but I'm afraid my attention was riveted on this dear lady. As with the snap of the lobby, this photo is but a pale indication of the splendor of her hairdo, even of her general presence. Sadly, we see the coiffure here on Day Two, when it was more than a tad deflated and even a little scruffy around the back. The preceding morning it had been an orb, nearly perfectly spherical, made of descending rows of tidily arranged little curly waves; better preserved, I think, is the color scheme, which alternates patches of cotton-candy pink and an amber-yellow. She seemed very proud of it. Bless.
Oh, and that birthday party? Well, few things on earth are less well organized than the average group of multinational Dubai-based confirmed bachelors, and apparently it's next weekend. We didn't mind all that much; we steamed and swam and had very good massages and ate far too much and made good use of the Free Flowing Champagne offers on hand (and good stuff it was, too, not the usual sparkling vinegar Dubai seems to specialize in) and generally forgot how very dreary it can be at the office. Back to reality tomorrow, but for moment, now that we're home and the dogs have calmed down, all's well.