SINCE publication of James Hilton’s book Lost Horizon, the term Shangri-La has become synonymous with an earthly paradise and, while I wouldn’t go quite that far in fulsome praise of Dubai’s Shangri-La Hotel, I would have to agree that it has succeeded in its aim of ‘achieving definitive standards of modern luxury’.
The lobby is palatial and stylish with its themes of cream and gold yet at the same time welcoming with comfortable seating areas that positively encourage guests to linger.
I stayed in a horizon deluxe room, part of the Horizon Club which is located over two floors complete with health club, infinity pool and a lounge serving complimentary breakfast, snacks and drinks.
The Horizon Club also offers personalised check-in and out service, purser service and complimentary broadband access.
The property has 301 rooms and suites decorated in light woods, their relaxing curved surfaces providing more than ample cupboard space, full-sized desk area and state-of-the-art in-room communications technology.
And, after a long day of meetings, the super-soft bed and fine linens were very welcome as was the full-size bath with its top-of-the-range toiletries.
The Shangri-La Dubai is truly a venue which caters to the business community with three meeting rooms and two ballrooms, the largest of which can accommodate up to 570 people and all of which can be split into various useful configurations. With a dedicated events team the aim is to ensure the smooth running of anything from an international conference to a family wedding.
On the dining side there is something to suit virtually every taste from the seafood specialities of Amwaj to international all-day dining at the Dunes Café, Vietnamese flavours with a French influence beneath the ceiling fans and open rafters of Hoi An (my personal favourite), traditional Moroccan fair in the courtyard setting of Marrakech and the richest of Cantonese flavours in Shang Palace.
And there is also the popular Ikandy Ultra Lounge which opens during the winter months for drinks, light fare and entertainment attracting Dubai’s beautiful people to the chic pooldeck setting under the stars which has been described as ‘taking chillin’ out to another level’.
Further facilities include a fully-equipped health club, where helpful staff are happy to assist with creating individual programmes, an outdoor swimming pool and tennis and squash courts.
And for the ultimate in pampering The Spa has a range of treatments from the customised tension relaxer, perfect after a busy day, to Essence Raindrop Therapy, which uses seven pure essential oils and two synergistic blends to help ease muscles. There are also Jacuzzis, plunge pools, a sauna and steam rooms.
In fact the Shangri-La Dubai has everything you could need for a successful business or leisure visit topped by staff who go out of their way to make sure your stay is as enjoyable as they can make it. Paradise indeed.
By Liz O’Reilly
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