Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November 25th – 7 Star Luxury in Dubai

As we sailed towards Dubai at midday, its crazy comic-book skyline emerged out of the mist, with the ridiculously tall Burj Khalifa dominating this manic Manhattan in the desert.

Today, we, and pretty much all the passengers, were decamping to the 7 Star Burj al Arab Hotel for a cocktail reception in the ballroom at the top of this iconic hotel. The hotel not only has one of the most distinctive architectural profiles in the world, but it's taken luxury to a whole new level – the reception area is just stunning, as you walk into the tallest atrium in the world, close to 300 meters tall, and livened up by incredible dancing fountains.

From the top, as we sipped our cocktails and listened to the string quartet, we could see the lights of the city stretch back into the emptiness of the desert – it re-inforced the feeling of what an unlikely setting this was for a modern metropolis, but it was a wonderful way to end a most enjoyable two week journey from Greece to the Middle East.

Whilst the luxurious setting was fantastic, the most entertaining part of the evening was when the Chef was trying to take a picture of the Dancing Fountain in the reception. Unfortunately, he was sizing up his photo rather than looking where he was going, and he got rather closer to the fountain than he was expecting. Before he knew it, he'd tripped on the step before the fountain, launching himself into the fountain like an exhausted marathon runner with bambi legs, and was floundering his way (still with the camera glued to his eye) right into the middle of the pool at the bottom.

He then had to stagger out of the fountain, crimson with embarrassment, dripping water everywhere, his shoes full of water – as a bemused audience of passengers (fortunately only a couple), hotel guests and staff, and us, struggled to take in the slapstick performance in front of us. It was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long while – my head was aching I was laughing so much. Nothing is funnier than watching someone fall over!