The St. Regis Dubai — last chance to check in

The St. Regis Dubai is situated on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal. (Supplied)
Updated 24 July 2018
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The St. Regis Dubai — last chance to check in

  • Situated on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal, the hotel boasts 182 guest rooms and 52 suites
  • The driveway leading up to the property’s entrance screams grandeur

DUBAI: If you’ve always fancied staying at Dubai’s very first St. Regis hotel, then now is your last chance. Earlier this month, it was announced that parent company Marriott International would no longer operate the property, along with adjoining hotels W Dubai Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City, after July 31. Management will be transferred to Al Habtoor Group. It is yet to be confirmed which international brand, if any, will take over the property, or how the hotels will be renamed.

Good job then, that the five-star property has a special GCC summer offer on until the end of the month, offering 20 percent off, and including a buffet breakfast. At the time of publishing, prices start from $168 per night. And it is worth the visit, for two things in particular: the rooms and one of its restaurants.

But first, a little bit more about the St. Regis Dubai overall. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal, the hotel boasts 182 guest rooms and 52 suites, eight F&B outlets, as well two outdoor swimming pools and spa. Two of the rooms are quite special: the Middle East’s first Bentley-themed suite and the Sir Winston Churchill Suite, which includes its own private pool. The driveway leading up to the property’s entrance screams grandeur, opening to a spectacular lobby featuring two staircases adorned in gold paint finishes.

I am greeted at the entrance and led to one of a few check-in desks dotted around the lobby hour. It’s efficient and before long, I am escorted to my room by a friendly staff member who runs through the hotel’s features.

I stay in a Deluxe Room — the most basic category, although it is by no means basic. With a walk-in wardrobe area, gorgeous bathroom with two sinks on opposite ends and comfortable bedding, you won’t find much reason to leave. As you’re getting settled, you’ll receive a visit from your very own butler, who’s on hand to help with you anything — including unpacking/packing your luggage. If, like me, that’s a little too ‘fancy’ for your liking, other more low-key services include drinks and laundry.

As mentioned, it’s entirely possible you won’t want to venture out of your room during the stay, but if you do want to head out for dinner, then there are several options to choose from. Whilst I liked the lounge area in the courtyard, it lacked atmosphere and didn’t really reflect the brand. My next stop, however, was a winner — at least if you’re a fan of steak. My fillet at J&G Steakhouse was possibly one of the most tender, juicy and flavourful pieces of meat I have ever enjoyed in this region.

Bearing in mind the current GCC summer offer, a stay at the St. Regis is definitely worth the money. It’s great for a romantic getaway, staycation or other special occasion. Plus, the theatrical spectacular “La Perle” is next door, and perfect for a dinner-and-show experience.

Tick tock. Get booking.


Book Review: Rebuilding shattered Aleppo armed with faith and hope

Philip Mansel’s book “Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s great Merchant city,” has been updated and is also available in paperback. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Book Review: Rebuilding shattered Aleppo armed with faith and hope

BEIRUT: Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and once a model of coexistence, is now a mesh of rubble and shattered lives. 
Philip Mansel’s book “Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s great Merchant city,” has been updated and is also available in paperback.
An eminent specialist of the Levant, Mansel attempts in the first part of his book to explain how harmony gave way to an implacable cataclysm. In the second part, the author has carefully selected a collection of travel writings on Aleppo from the 16th century to the 21st century. 
The ruthless and pitiless destruction of Aleppo shows the vulnerability of cities. Mansel believes that cosmopolitanism, literally meaning cosmos (world) in a city (polis), is an elusive concept. When politics and economics go wrong, rules are broken, and anything can happen even in a city like Aleppo. 

The author focuses on Aleppo’s history since the Ottoman Empire. The people of Aleppo, angered by the Mamluk excessive taxation, welcomed their defeat by the Ottoman army. Aleppo remained loyal to the Ottoman rule for 400 years and became one of the most important trading centers in the Levant. 
Caravans from India, Iran, the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula passed through the city on their way to Iskenderun, Smyrna, and Constantinople. Already, in 1550, a French diplomat claimed that Aleppo was the most important commercial center of the Levant.
A century later, Aleppo was still trading with the Ottoman Empire and although its external trade with foreign countries was diminishing, its multiracial and multireligious population lived peacefully. Even during the French Mandate (1923-1946), the cosmopolitan population of Aleppo was united against the French.
Syria’s independence granted by France on Jan. 1, 1944, was followed by the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, triggering the departure of Aleppo’s Jewish population.
The subsequent establishment of the Assad regime caused a political and economic rift in the country, and particularly in Aleppo, with the affluent west and the impoverished east brutally attacked and decimated by Syrian and Russian armed forces with the help of Iranian soldiers, Lebanese and Kurdish militias.
While emigrants are preserving the memory of Aleppo in cities around the world, some inhabitants of East Aleppo are returning.
Destroyed but alive, destitute but armed with faith and hope, they embody the quality of those who have contributed to make Aleppo one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They are determined to rebuild knowing that their shattered lives remain the hardest to repair.