It’s not every day that six sphinx, a soaring four-metre-tall golden falcon and an ensemble of Egyptian dancers announce your arrival at a hotel, but Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk likes to do things a differently. An imposing monolith that pierces Dubai’s skyline, the new Franco-Egyptian hotel is representative of the Luxor Obelisk in Paris and majestically tells the tale of three worlds colliding, marrying modern French art de vivre and ancient Egyptian heritage with the essence and culture of the UAE.
The lobby is grand, lavish even, as guests enter through a grand ‘Pylon’ – the colossal gateway of an Egyptian temple – with immense pillars scribed with hieroglyphics, two vast stain-glass chandeliers and a ceramic floor that depicts the Nike river. It’s pretty sensational.
The rest of the hotel is subtle in comparison, with a more understated design approach allowing the more European notion of luxury to talk, resulting in a refined simplicity.
My one-bedroom suite follows suit, with Art Deco nuances, muted tones, and unfussed décor – quiet luxury that whispers, rather than shouts. Something that screams at you from the second you walk in, however, is the view... Huge windows frame Wafi’s pyramid, the Creek and city skyline to commanding effect, with hazy weather floating me amongst clouds from the 20th floor.
The suite is big at 136sqm, yet feels cosy too. There’s just the right amount of furniture and soft furnishings to warm the space, but nothing that makes it feel cluttered, and they’ve got the lighting just right. The sitting room has an L-shaped sofa, dining table, minibar and guest bathroom, while the bedroom has an incredibly comfy Sofitel MyBed King, seven-door walk-in wardrobe, vanity dressing table with mashrabiya-effect mirror, a swirly pattern in the carpet to represent the Arabian desert, a desk, Ottoman, and armchair perfectly positioned for sunrise/sunset viewing. The bathroom houses Jack ‘n’ Jill sinks, a deep standalone bath-tub and huge rain shower, while Hermès amenities, whiter-than-white bathrobes and complimentary glass bottles of filtered water (with tags that say ‘Sustainability is the new chic’)add the finishing touches. You also have access to Club Millésime, for private check-in/out, a dedicated butler, afternoon tea and L’Apéro Chic cocktails and canapés every night. Everything you need without overdoing it.
Back out into hotel and the sixth floor is dedicated to leisure and wellbeing; there’s the Soleil pool, complete with cabanas, lounge bar and kids pool; an AstroKids Club; a state-of-the-art Sofitel Fitness gym; and the first Sofitel Spa with L’Occitane in the region. With eight treatment rooms each named after flowers, divine aromas that transport you to Provence, and age-old rejuvenating traditions paired alongside the latest in French cosmetology, a visit here feels justly rewarding.
One of my favourite moments of my stay is breakfast at La Veranda, a beautiful, light-filled conservatory-designed room with high ceilings painted sky blue with clouds, and hanging baskets tumbling greenery everywhere. Avocado on toast tastes even better when eaten almost al fresco with soft French music serenading my morning cappuccino.
Another pleasing moment is at Brasserie Boulud, where dinner plays out to a backdrop of Daniel Boulud’s masterful gastronomie française, where I nibble on crispy fried artichokes with a Moroccan minted dip, sweet and sour eggplant, and French toast, with red berry compote and Tahitian vanilla ice cream. It’s an elegant setting, with an open kitchen, monochrome and marble features and a sultry ambience.
The Nine has good old-fashioned gastropub vibes, while Taiko’s dark and dramatic exploration into the Far East is full of flavour. Try the Petit Prince afternoon tea at Bijou if you have kids – it’s pretty magical with a treasure chest of patisseries to unlock with your own special key.
Whilst an arrival here may be undeniably grand, a stay is grounded in more low-key luxury – where simple pleasures really do reign supreme.
What: One Bedroom Suite
Where: Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk
TEL: +971 4 3249999