by CHRISTINE KARAN
Raffles is a brand that stands for tradition, service, brilliance, cultural adaptation, uniqueness and much more, and in Dubai, they have a brand of their own that shares the same characteristics.
The city of Dubai is known for its skyscrapers and exceptional views of the concrete jungle. Sitting pretty at the crossroads of East and West, this dynamic city is also home to over 700 hotels, from budget to premium and ultra-luxury, many of them owned by renowned hotel chains such as Raffles Dubai, one of the city’s eye-catching hotels.
Located in the busy hotspot of Dubai, the 17-storey hotel is an aesthetic combination of the Middle East and its birthplace of Singapore, well-pronounced by its Egyptian Pyramid exterior.
Opened in 1887 in Singapore by Armenian hoteliers the Sarkier Brothers, who named the hotel after the founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the brand and its hotels have remained a class apart from other luxury properties. What makes the Raffles Dubai different from the other luxury hotels in Dubai you ask? Here are just five reasons:
1. The Meld of Two Cultures
Paying tribute to its Asian roots of Singapore and its host region, the Middle East, Raffles Dubai is a unique combination of two cultures. The Pyramid-shaped edifice is dressed in glittering gold and green, its façade with imposing pillars with hand-engraved hieroglyphics, the lobby and corridors dotted with sculptures that remind you of the Pharaohs. Adding colours to the glitter are the enormous brass chandeliers in exquisite Arabic filigree tracery. The large palm leaves, which is the emblem of Raffles, are placed around the lobby to complete the picture.
2. The Ultimate Sanctuary of Zen
In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the big city, Raffles Dubai is a place of ‘calm and charm’ as the hotel’s brand expert Gehan Sidky puts it. And I couldn’t agree more; the hotel is built on the concept of embracing the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water. Take a brief look at the majestic roof-to-floor ‘waterfall’ fountain in the lobby, it surely takes away the bad vibes and calms your inner senses. Or just walk into the Raffles Garden that is so well manicured with plants and flowers. Topping these are the four opulent Presidential Suites, each designed after one element.
3. The Mystic Spell
As a frequent traveller, I’ve been to many hotels and swam in a variety of pools, but I have never seen a pool with a mystical story behind it. The pool is boarded with four large pillars sporting roman numbers engraved on them. Adjacent to it is the pool café with water spurting out of every juncture from its roof. You may ask what with all this? Well, these roman numerical and the water fountain from the café roof form a mystical clock; the water in between the pillars being the minutes and the spurting water from the café roof being the hour. How cool.
With its birthplace in Asia, you can expect a lot more zen from their spa and they deliver. With tranquil music, expert masseuse and quality essential oils, you soon wade into the bliss of zen-trance to bring back lost energy for both body and mind.
4. The Sophisticated Rooms
If the exteriors are so spellbinding can the rooms fall behind? The first thing you notice when you enter the room is SPACE, yes in capital letters! Oversized rooms furnished with a clever and bespoke blend of Asian and Middle Eastern design accents, walk-in wardrobes and large balconies with comfy, lightweight cushions from where you can enjoy a drink and take in the panoramic view of Dubai’s skyline.
5. The Fabulous Food
A hotel stay is not complete if you’ve not tasted the in-house chef’s creations. Raffles Dubai by far has one of the best food offerings in Dubai. From simple breakfast chai to the mouthwatering Middle Eastern delicacies to sumptuous Italian fare, the chefs do it well and do it right. A big shout-out to Sid and Becky for brewing one of the best Chai in Dubai- a perfect start to the day.
Beyond all these facilities, bells and whistles, if there is one thing that makes you come back to Raffles brand is their impeccable service. The staff at Raffles Dubai go above and beyond, be it the security staff, the bellboys or the housekeeping staff, their service is quite courteous. No plastic smiles, no-matter-of-fact responses, no scripted dialogues. All you see is warm smiles, genuine greetings and unobtrusive interaction with guests. Exceptional, that is the word to explain the service of Raffles.