Right across from the Dubai Mall is a hotel, Damac Maison Mall Street. (There’s more than one Damac Maison in Dubai.) I headed there from the airport.
The cabbie from the airport was charming, entertaining and confident of his ability to drive at 120 kmph, three inches behind the car in front of him.
He knew how to pronounce “maison” correctly; which is amazing seeing as how his relentless English mispronunciation was matched only by his bizarre use of the article “the” (which he placed where he wanted) and then used the singular instead of the plural. (“I am driving the many foreigner to the Damac Maison hotels.”) But he said “maison” as if he had practised saying it in Paris until the previous evening.
The hotel that he delivered me to was, in contrast, an oasis of tranquility.
The hotel was a hotel apartment actually but you could not tell that from the staff. Right from the bellhops outside, through the reception and lobby; and then encountering them at different points during my stay, they were solicitous and properly helpful without being intrusive.
For a seasoned business traveller like me, it is increasingly rare to find a hotel that can rock the grace and old world charm that behoves a hotel.
And in the lobby — while I was waiting for my pal to come down so we could go somewhere to get dinner — was this one individual.
She was a security guard but she epitomised every quality of the hospitality that used to be the character of the great hotels of the world, many of which I have had the pleasure to have patronised.
There was nothing specific she did that I liked, it was merely that she was solicitous and the simple business of requesting her colleague to find me a cab was done as though I was a VIP (and here I have always thought of myself as a mere IP. I’ll settle for a P, even.) The point is that in the space of a conversation that lasted maybe 10 minutes, she made me feel like I was a valued guest of the Waldorf-Astoria at its prime.
Maybe she is in security, but she ought to be transferred to hospitality management.
She was from Africa and, because I insisted, she told me her name was Sirri. I could not resist. “Sirri, could you get me a cab please?”
I have an iPhone as you guessed.