Showing posts from March, 2016

Dinner at P&C by Sergi Arola - Shangri-la at Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi

It is an icon, isn't it. It may have joined forces with two-star Michelin chef Sergi Arola, but to many guests P&C by Sergi Arola will always be Pears & Caviar. To appreciate that, one has to go back to when Shangri-la opened its doors here in Abu Dhabi. This restaurant was like nothing else. It had a vision and did things differently. 

As I approach the restaurant, the entrance is iconic in itself, as is the bar which catches my eye as I walk in - I never tire of looking at it. The hostess has  a look and walk that makes you feel you are in a  restaurant that speaks style. But something is different, and it is something defining. It is the sound of jazz. Sergi Arola is, of course,  a huge fan of jazz, and tucked near the entrance, I see a DJ, Julita Witt,  who is spinning jazz tunes. It is an actual radio station. It is  a quirky concept and immediately makes you feel there could be a new x-factor to the restaurant. ( However,  I remain unconvinced b…

Spectacular views of the Abu Dhabi corniche - Azura Panoramic Lounge, St. Regis Abu Dhabi

City life has its own undeniable energy. At night, this energy takes on a  different perspective. That is when a skyline really comes to life. This is particularly true right now of the Abu Dhabi skyline on the corniche which continues to evolve. I had the pleasure this week of visiting the Azura Panoramic Lounge at St. Regis Abu Dhabi to see first hand how that energy is transformed at night.

As I make my way to the Lounge, I stop for a moment and turn around. The facade of the St Regis Hotel looks breathtaking, with its Presidential suite suspended between the two towers. Night time energy.

The lounge is vast and to my elation, it is tiered. I love levels. I think they really do something for a venue. While I walk to the top of the lounge, I already sense a different energy on each level. This can only bode well for guests as they seek a corner to reflect their mood. Tonight I am feeling some of that city energy, so I am seated at a  table that gives me 180˚ views of the corniche.

As w…

Understated luxury Hotel stay - Grosvenor House, Dubai

There is something to be said for understated luxury in a  time where there is a fascination with the biggest, brightest, tallest and even most expensive. Grosvenor House, as evidenced by its nondescript exterior, is about going beneath the surface and showing luxury in an unobtrusive way almost. I look around and survey the guests checking in - it is a sense of knowing, I think to myself. Notwithstanding the glorious Swarovski crystal and magnificent flower arrangement in the lobby, the hotel's understated nature is maintained throughout. 

My daughter and I arrived earlier than our stipulated check-in time. As a courtesy, we were shown to the hotels' tea house, aptly named Leaves, where we were treated to tea and some sweet treats. A very nice touch, and a wonderful introduction to the hotel's customer service. The outdoor terrace and the lobby before that also gave me an insight to the typical clientele at the hotel. Immediately I sensed a very Britishness to the hotel, b…

A deliciously surreal evening - Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House, Dubai

The dragon is a potent symbol of power, strength and also luck in Asian culture. It is interesting that the West has demonised dragons, and as a result, have lost out on appreciating Asia's richer symbolism of this creature. Similarly, red as a colour is also richly symbolic, but suffice to say, it is all about power too. 

As I approach, through low light, the bar inside Buddha Bar at Grosvenor House, I see dragon iconography and red everywhere. I sit down for a drink, and appropriately, the barman creates  a drink, which in light, looks dark red. Power. Potent power. His Bubbly Fusion, featuring Laurent Perrier NV is brought to life as he adds Crème de cassis, and...well that is his secret isn't it? But the result is red, congruous with the restaurant. 

Soon after I finish my drink, I make my way to my table. The tables are close together in a typically Asian manner, but high ceilings ensure  I never feel claustrophobic. Moreover, high glass windows with views of the Marina add…