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Suited in Luxury

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They are without many peers — in opulence, elegance, comfort or design. The sheer grandeur of luxury suites at Dubai's five- and seven-star hotels is years ahead of its global competition. Its frenetic and futuristic ways have made the desert city unstoppable in its enthusiasm to be ahead of the herd, and to have the first of the firsts.  Here are five hospitality hallmarks of Dubai, known for its high-end lifestyle.

Luxury's Playground: Burj Al Arab
Stately iconic and globally renowned, Burj Al Arab is an all-suite seven-star hotel standing tall on its own man-made island. From a Rolls Royce limousine pick-up from the airport to an Arabian reception at the suite, our visit to Burj was all about elegance. The evening served more of it: champagne, caviar and spectacular views of the ocean, The Palm Islands and the  Dubai skyline. The luxury suite where we were staying was done up in bright hues and had just the right amount of bling with 24-carat gold fittings. But one of the most pampering features of the stay was the 24x7 butler who fulfilled our every whim for Arabian sweets. If the suite was awe inspiring, the restaurants had us marvelling. The fine-dining rooftop restaurant Al Muntaha has a sea-facing glass elevator, while the seafood restaurant Al Mahara's live aquarium is jaw-dropping. And just when we thought things couldn't get better, a chopper from atop the hotel's circular helipad flew us across the megapolis, back to the swanky airport. Alhamdulillah!

OUT OF THE WAY: Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel is lit up to showcase its full glory, and (top) the Dubai Musical Fountain set against the cityscape, as seen from the Armani Hotel Dubai (Photos provided by the authors)

Continental Luxury: Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel

We followed the footsteps of the great traveller Ibn Battuta, scaling the heights of this 396-room five-star outpost with its iconic 60-metre-high arched gate. Mövenpick Hotels' Swiss hospitality reflects in the chic design of the living areas and public spaces of this grand hotel. Ibn Battuta's cross-continental travels and experiences are frozen in theme suites inspired by Andalusia to Morocco to India, China, Russia, and Tanzania, and radiate unhindered affluence. Most of the furnishings are in deep velvet and rich brocade. Latticed screens, sparkling bed linen, thematic lighting and the choicest of flooring covers, carpets and dhurries add verve and elegance to the rooms.

Minimalistic Marvel: Armani Hotel Dubai
At the svelte new iconic address in downtown Dubai, imagination skyrockets to dizzying altitudes. The Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world and a spectacular architectural wonder, houses the platinum-crested Armani Hotel. As we glide into the dedicated entrance of the hotel, an understated aura ushers us within its minimalistic environs. Conceived and created by renowned designer Giorgio Armani, this super luxury haven has his touch in all elements of design. The Armani Hotel occupies the concourse to levels 8, 38 and 39, offering jaw-dropping views of the city. Our glass-walled Fountain Suite was full of chic amenities and at night, we stood speechless looking at the latest water feature below the Burj Khalifa — the seamlessly graceful pyrotechnics displayed on sashaying musical fountain waves against the steel and mirrored backdrops of this architectural icon.

BURJ AL ARAB, Grand Luxury Suite

Design Delight: Jumeirah Emirates Tower

It is one of Dubai's most recognizable places on the ultra-zippy Sheikh Zayed Road. With 51 floors, this skyscraper is European in design, with a dynamic linear layout and a wondrous art gallery. We were shown around the ‘ladies only' Chopard Floor on level 40, serviced only by women. All suites radiate geometric finesse and complementing upholstery. Flush storage enclaves in natural finish veneer and straight line panache dominate the design. 

Suavely Scandinavian: Radisson Blu Hotel
Cheery colours of modern linear design opulently reflect across the environs of this hotel as we sail into its avant garde reception and onto the sumptuous executive suite. Stylish décors, chic furniture, muted shades, excellent spot lighting all blend harmoniously. State-of-the-art Scandinavian couches, soft flooring covers, frosted glass, walk-in wardrobes and bath fittings in steel and ceramic result in modernism elevated to functional excellence.

The Iyengars are luxury travel and high-end lifestyle writers

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 21-05-2012)