30 September 2005

Grand Hyatt Lobby

You are lucky, the occassional series on my favourite hotel lobbies in Dubai gets a new instalment already. Today it's the mysteriously shaped Grand Hyatt hotel.

I mean to visit the Grand Hyatt every time I pass it on the way to the airport, or anyplace else that requires me to cross Garhoud bridge. The Hyatt's location on the edge of the creek means it straddles two areas of Dubai: Old Dubai, centred on the creek, with its abbras and trade port, souks and once-glamorous office blocks; and New Dubai on Sheik Zayed Rd (about to be overtaken by New New Dubai with Marina and sprawling developments). But there is nothing split-personality about this place, it exudes wealth and conspicuous consumption.

Unlike the Fairmont lobby's warren of dim rooms this is an open space, almost outdoorsy. This is mainly due to the tropical paradise that form the centre of its space, with tall palm trees and lush climbers, expansive ferns and bushy shrubs grouped around pools, streams and waterfalls. All the foliage is real, not of the ever-lasting plastic variety, unlike the boulders carved from dyed concrete to give that jungle look. Still the Koi carp don't seem to mind, and all that's missing is some parrots and the noise of growling panthers over the loudspeaker.




Light fittings galore

There is also a noticeable investment in strange light fittings, such as the oversized pineapple dangling from a UFO-shaped crystal chandelier, as well as four dhow hulls suspended from the ceiling above the aforementioned jungle. Oh, and then there is the pair of light panels on either side of the stairs covered in what seems to be the output of a Murano Glass Blowing for Beginners course, a mass of curled and twisted glass pieces in blue, red, turquoise and white. Quite stunning in size and sheer design nerve. All in all the quiet place, and if you like jungle, it's a must.

As to the mysterious shape of the hotel, the irregularly curved buildings describe the shape of the word 'Dubai' in Arabic when viewed from the air.

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