The Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel in Dubai, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has become a destination for ex pats and travelers from around the world who seek business and travel opportunities. It is exotic, water based, lavish and historical. The city offers a wide range of activities which are reflected in the microcosm of this hotel. Burj or, in Arabic, tower, is shaped like a cylindrical sail on an artificial island which is 250 km offshore Jumeriah Beach. Burj Al Arab stands 1,035 feet and is considered the only 7 star hotel property in the world. It has 201 suites which start at the price tag of $1,500 a night. The higher floors and penthouse, the size of a large home, cost considerably more. A fully designed bi level abode has a big TV screen, gold plated baths, jacuzzi, workspace, top sea view, fully stocked bar, personal butler and items such as; Hermes perfume and bath items. There is a helipad which brings the guests who fly in and the pad is used for professional tennis. One can ride across the bridge and The Burj will send a Rolls Royce for door to door service. Concierges provide top notch service for travelers, heads of state and royals. The view of the Arabian Sea with a top floor pool and observation deck is a spectacular place to relax and soak up the sun, socialize and watch the resort’s water sports from which guests can access below. There is a 26th floor Skyview Bar which lends to the nautical aura. The lobby has two aquariums, in addition, the Al Mahara Restaurant (Arabic for oyster) has a huge semicircular underground aquarium filled with plant and aquatic species. There are seven other restaurants; a tea room, French Mediterranean cuisine and Arabic food. Upscale boutiques, more private and exclusive than the malls, the spa, beach and water amenities, echo a high end experience. The entrance to the lobby is spectacular and visitors look up at the inside tower filled with vibrant colors, spaces of metallic color, gold plated and gold leaf decor, bold columns and hanging motifs, Swarovski crystals sway amongst ground level with plush velvet sofas. The suites mimic Moorish and modern influences. Whether one is a Quatari Sheik, a billionaire business person or a couple celebrating their honeymoon, it is property which should not be missed when visiting the UAE. The Burj was completed in 1999 and since its inception, the city state has grown and developed into a playground and work space.
“Inside Asprey: Luxury by Royal Appointment” is a docuseries which looks at London, England’s prominent 167 New Bond Street boutique designed by Lord Norman Foster. The setting is comprised of eight Georgian townhouses combining old world architecture and fashion. Asprey’s was founded by William Asprey in 1871 and, in the beginning, saw the patronage of Queen Victoria. Royals; Edward VII, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson and the majority of The Windsors have come here to shop. Sir Elton John and members of the House of Lords have frequented Asprey too, giving the house a long lineage. Yet, in current times, Hollywood and foreigners from the House of Saud and Qatar are frequent shoppers. Asprey received a Royal Warrant in 1886 from Queen Victoria and later, one from King Edward VII, Prince of Wales. Upon entering, one sees displays such as; a silver gorilla safe, a round champagne holder, silver decanters with antler heads and one of a kind crocodile bags encrusted with diamonds. Jewelry, handbags, home decor, embellished crystal and china seem straight out of Town and Country or Architectural Digest. Asprey was once a store which sold crowns and sceptres to the royal family. Watches by Asprey and Rolex are a main specialty as well as clocks. The store had a Regulator Clock in the window so the gentleman passing by could adjust their watches. The boutique recently recreated Queen Elizabeth’s diadem worn at her 1953 coronation, using 1000 white diamonds. Asprey’s goods have been a focus in movies such as; “Titanic”, “Match Point” and “Confessions of a Shopaholic”.
The documentary takes cameras, for the first time, on a store tour which is filled with an air of British aristocracy and finery, but it has modernity, with a black and white spiral staircase as a centerpiece. The viewer can see smiths who have spent their whole life creating jewelry, silverware and decorative merchandise for the discerning customer, private shopping sprees, events and shop talk from the manager, pr, sales and crafts people who know the secrets behind this prestigious shopping landmark. Outside, the picturesque street, its neighbors are; Louis Vuitton and Chanel. A Saudi princess, once the store has closed, buys 12 custom designed handbags, priced at 300,000 pounds and has them sent home by jet. Asprey is known for its alligator and lizard 1871 Pochette bags as well as the polo style bag. Polo sporting goods have been a staple of the store and are incorporated into fashion. A new shopper from Texas, clad in denim, comes in and buys unique silver owl salt and pepper shakers. Silver has been used for platters to sporting trophies. The marketing is discreet, yet, one gets an inside view as to what it takes to maintain the store’s caliber. Whether one is a long time shopper or a new visitor, each visit evokes an image of a future British socialite wearing an Asprey jewel collection, an elegantly dressed man going to Ascot or an estate in Yorkshire filled with their home decor. It takes effort to maintain the stores one of a kind inventory and exclusive upscale brand, much of the items are made on site. The jewelry, leather, silver and gold craft maker is shown cutting platinum and stringing blue and green gem stones for a necklace and earrings named “Chaos”, due to the free floating design. The Asprey diamond is known as the Asprey Cut which is handmade and flawless. They are the only company to have a letter A diamond above the crown symbol. Much of the jewelry is known for floral patterns, after English garden blossoms, designed as sunflowers and woodland flora. A rare fancy yellow diamond ring is brought out for show. There is a barrier between the have and have nots, old money and nouveau riche, but it is available to niche markets at the traditional Asprey. The intricate silverware, museum collection, gold gift boxes made with mercury are still part of the inventory, but a custom made haute couture ring, retailing at 4.6 million pounds, is a current seller. One can buy a less costly piece of heritage with a purchase of Purple Water Perfume, Purple Cream or Purple Bath Gel. Asprey uses purple as a signature color for branding and is recognized for their purple flag logo, the color symbolizes royalty. Asprey stores in: NYC on Madison Avenue, Beverly Hills in the Beverly Hills Hotel, South Beach, Miami in The Setai Hotel, Zurich, St. Moritz, Osaka in Takashimaya and Tokyo in The Ritz Carlton, grace the brand’s symbolic purple lettering and finery, but the English boutique is the original. The store can be reminiscent of scenes from Downton Abbey, Ralph Lauren’s take on the British or a twist on contemporary London shopping, but standards and old world traditions are upheld.