Bliss at the Park Gateway Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
One generally associates Dubai with its modern vertical heights, but the hardly-talked-about old Dubai is something else. Apart from being a shopper’s paradise Dubai is seeing a lot of Michelin chefs opening restaurants here. Having witnessed the scenario first hand recently, one can admit that what they say about Dubai is very much true - ten years down the line it will be a mecca of business. Dubai helps it’s citizens build a luxurious lifestyle that is attainable thanks to all the tax benefits and the food scenario is picking up at a fast pace due to it being reasonably priced.
A walk along the Dubai creek, which was once a home for traders and businessmen, offers an amazing sight of its awesome blue waters. On its banks is the Park Hyatt, which is a short distance from the airport, and Bur Dubai”s historic area, the Souks and the famous Deira. The architecture is very much Moroccan with hints of Arabic which defines the hotel from its Hyatt counterparts in the city and the white faced building and cottages with blue tiled domes make for an impressive sight against the tall towers in the distance, one of which is the Hyatt Regency(The Park Hyatt’s business counterpart).
As one enters the property of The Park Hyatt, the long driveway and the casualness of the place brings across well the message that the hotel is rightly known as an excellent relaxing spot. It is here that many of Dubai’s large golf tournaments take place. The opulence is shown in the simplicity of design. The rooms and long corridors, the artwork and spaciousness of the hotel all display an aura of calm with subtle shades of pastels and creams. The rooms offer a view overlooking the creek and seeing the little wildlife flitting about brings about a pleasant feeling, making the scorching heat all but a memory. Though one hardly has time to sleep in this exciting hotel the room and the amenities are all luxuriously thought of from the down pillows to comfortable beds to splendid furniture.
The Park Hyatt also houses the amazing Amara spa which is honestly hard to resist. I admit this has been my first ever spa experience and I’m proud to say so, thanks to the renewed vigour I felt after the massage - a welcome one after the rigours of the short flight from Mumbai.
Promoting their new food philosophy of using local ingredients and seasonal produce, the Park Hyatt is making strides in giving diners a unique experience. Aptly called “Food Thoughtfully Sourced Carefully Served”, this new initiative not only speaks about healthy eating for all, but also specifically keeps children's’ dietary needs in mind. They run a successful “For Kids By Kids” menu which has literally been designed by kids like 11 year old Haile Thomas, for kids. The menu boasts an interesting balance of kid-friendly flavours and nutrition in the form of dishes like Whole Wheat Tortilla Tacos, Waffle Dipping Sticks served with fruit sauces and peanut butter, salads made using chicken, vegetables, brown rice and yoghurt and Vegetable and Sesame Rice Noodles served with tofu, plenty of greens and tomatoes. Though exciting, I unfortunately could not sample the kids’ menu. However, the menu for grown-ups is no less exciting – in fact, it’s quite pampering!
Breakfast at the hotel’s round-the-clock Café Arabesque headed by Chef Ali Al Hajj (a Syrian national), is an amazing spread of Arabic dishes. It’s wonderful to begin your day with Labneh (thick yoghurt cream cheese) with loads of fresh fruit like strawberries, apples, pears, grapes, fresh figs, dry fruits, custard or honey. The wide variety of dates served really drives home the point that one is in Arabia. With such a beginning, one can be forgiven for avoiding the eggs and heading straight for the platter of cold meats and pink salmon. There are also grilled lamb with muttabel and baba ghanoush. For lunch and dinner, the Café has on offer some exquisite cold and hot mezze platters along with a selection of the most succulent grilled kebabs made from lamb, chicken and fish.
The café celebrates a cuisine from the Levant region and honours dishes from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Although I am not a fan of the buffet system myself, I did notice that the buffet section here has quite a varied and interesting spread. On the other hand, one also has a wonderful selection to choose from the a la carte menu. Sitting on the balcony with the setting sun and the lights reflecting off the water with delicious grills and kebabs being served, make for a wonderful dining experience.
Dining at The Terrace, their creek side restaurant, gives one a fine view of the Marina. The fresh salad of arugula leaves and lettuce, some white wine and platters of fresh oysters which come from the Arabian sea with a twist of lemon juice – the perfect setting for a romantic dinner date, with just one glitch in my case… I didn’t have a date with me. But then came the crumb fried salmon and I became quite happy and content sitting there all alone. fish is legendary in these parts for its delicate flavour and versatility with which it can be cooked using various cooking styles. Apart from salmon, one can indulge in a variety of seafood, quite different from the kind we’re used to in India. One only has to head to the Dubai fishing market with the chef to see the amazing catch available. The restaurant also serves an excellent version of a burger which is famous in Dubai and which I couldn’t resist tasting just a little bit. But then I faithfully headed back to my seafood – a lovely dish of coriander tossed prawns and smoked salmon. If one wants one could also sample some of the exotic caviar which is a part of the restaurant’s seafood menu.
The hummus and pita bread and fattoush salad is not so enticing an option though tasting it in its home country is a different kind of experience. On the list of things not to be missed are the fried calamari and mix fried platter of kibbeh, cheese, meat. The mix fried platter is served in a unique way here, with the lamb (the main source of meat) given separately, while vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, baby spinach, lettuce are given whole, so that the guest cuts them according to his or her own liking. The side dishes that come along with it constitute the vegetarian element there is to the menu, as the Arabian folk are clearly not big on vegetarian dishes.
The hotel’s French restaurant is enticing, but not so much in my opinion. Although it is considered to have the best brunch on a Friday (Friday being the off day in the middle east). The sea food buffet and champagne is, I am told, a value for the money one spends.