Renault greeted us as we hopped excitedly out of our Chevrolet Aveo. The morning air was warm but not stifling. The heat of September was slowly dissipating to the cool breeze of October. The valet began writing us a parking ticket but I stopped him by saying, “We won’t be using the valet. Our driver is taking care of the car.”
Renault and the valet looked surprised, but why wouldn’t they. Alex, our “driver” had been sitting in the back seat as I drove the car up to the entrance of the hotel. Alex took the keys from my hand, waved a final goodbye, and drove our small white 4-door sedan past the Ferrari, down the pristine cobblestone driveway, and out of sight. We would not be in need of his services, or the car, because we would be staying at the Ritz-Carlton for the next 36 hours. But for frequent visitors like us we simply call it the Ritz. Harumph!
Renault, who was wearing an ornate turban and looked as though he should have been carrying a scimitar, gave our luggage to the bellman where it promptly disappeared. He escorted my wife and I into the lobby past three Renaissance women who greeted us with a smile. By renaissance, I was of course referring to their garb, not their multi-talented abilities, although I’m sure they are extraordinarily diverse. But the greeters were just one of many aspects in the lobby that caught our eye.
The chandeliers looked as though they had been cut from the ice caves of Salzburg. Altogether there were four that lined the ceiling; all drawing your attention to the marble staircase that led to the pool and beachfront. A beachfront that showcased the Grand Canal waters of Abu Dhabi. The transitioning guests sat casually amongst the high-backed chairs and golden floral displays. We checked in and Edwin made sure we knew all of the amenities that we were privy to as a guest at the hotel. We had both the early check-in and the late check-out the following day. As well as two brunches at the famous Giornotte restaurant located downstairs. Our package also included 200 dirhams to spend how we chose.
One of the greeters detached from the other two women and escorted us to our room where we entered with bridled excitement. She left the room and the reserved airs we had shown in the lobby and halls evaporated as the door said, ‘Click’.
“This room is amazing!” I shouted as I dove on the bed face first. There was a bathtub, a balcony, and two fine bathrobes. There was a cappuccino machine, a TV in the bathroom, and a rainforest shower. There was even an option to change your pillows if you didn’t like the feather count. I didn’t have to make any changes however – they must’ve known my face preferred Double Down Surround Tria.
It was 11:00 in the morning and we should’ve been preparing for brunch. But instead we were wrapped in our royal robes and snuggled between eight heavenly pillows. Maybe we would skip brunch.
…tune in tomorrow for Part 2: The Brunch