Glitz Not Glam

BY Lisa Lindblad

January 20, 2011

I drove back early to Dubai from Zighy bay, Six Senses Hideaway on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, to catch my midday plane back to Oman’s Muscat.  Sounds crazy but, I am assured, it’s the better way to transfer, the road being long and boring.  My road back was long though not boring; we had a flat tire and, three hours later, I arrived at the Dubai airport to see my gate closing.

Well, as one door closes, another opens.  This time, lovely Mohammed walked through to help me book a new flight and share four hours of leisure which I had not expected.  Where to?  With a selectively placed phone call, we drove to Jumeirah beach’s Burj al Arab hotel and were whisked through the security gate.  So enchanted had I been two nights before by the vision of this floating sail at sea, I was determined to see it up close and personal.  Big mistake.

Certain things should be left either to the imagination or, if made flesh, then kept at a distance.  My heart sank as we neared the building which, itself, seemed to sink from feet of clay at the water’s edge.  What had seemed ethereal at night looked bloated and heavy.  The inside was even worse; not just ott, it looks dated and caricaturish.  Lots of glitz, no glam, and not the place to stay.  If you want a look, go and have tea or a drink on the roof from which you can see the Palm and the World.  And then go home to The Address, or Armani, or any of the scores of other 5-stars around.  Better still, enjoy it from afar.  Be bewitched by the vision, but resist trying to touch it.

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John Derian Goes West