I think I have finally figured out why middle- and (especially) upper-middle-class Indians like Dubai so much. They see it as an idealised Indian city; as something that should exist in India but does not because all the poor people get in the way.
The best of the new international hotels is probably the Four Seasons (the chain has taken its time to get to Dubai). It is a lovely, low-rise, resort-type property, built in an elegant and subtle style in a city where gold is the new black.
For Indians (and discerning foreigners), however, there really is no better choice than the Oberoi. Though the Oberoi Group opened five-star hotels all over the world (Singapore, Colombo and much of the Middle East, for instance) in the 1970s, it gave Dubai a miss.
Then, just under two years ago, it opened a medium-sized (around 200 rooms) property in the emerging hub of Business Bay.
In terms of style, it is in direct descent from the classy new Oberoi hotels that the company opened from the 1990s onwards and reminds one of why the Oberoi Group is to South Asia, what say, the Mandarin Oriental or the Peninsula are to Hong Kong: Asian hospitality with a luxury focus that has now gone global.
I spent two nights there and while it was everything you would expect of an Oberoi (stylish, discreet, luxurious, etc) I was most intrigued by the emphasis on personalisation.
From HT Brunch, June 7
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