An Iftar Above the Rest
The one thing that I have always kept as a constant in my travels around the world, is to always explore the local culture to have a better experience wherever I can. ‘Living like a local’ is the best way to travel and it’s the only way to experience the pastimes, the traditions, and cuisine.
This year, the second half of May will mark the beginning of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar where Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to sunset. Once the sun goes down they break their fast with the iftar meal.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend many iftars during my time in Abu Dhabi and surrounds, but the one that will stand out in my mind the most is the exceptional and unique experience offered at The St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi; Iftar in the Sky.
The exceptionally exclusive event is held in the majestic Abu Dhabi Suite, suspended 722 feet (220 meters) in the sky for a maximum of 50 people per night.
A Memorable Moment
Arriving in the hotel lobby, the St. Regis impresses immediately. We were directed to the private, VIP access, elevator that would take us to the 48th floor for the exclusive dinner invite. The Abu Dhabi Suite is the world’s highest suspended suite and occupies two floors of the hotel and the adjacent Nation Towers.
We arrived in the foyer where we were greeted by waiters in long coat tails and white gloves who escorted us to the central suspended bridge, which had been set with tables for the evening meal. The 12,055 square foot (1,120 square meters) suite is accented by 24-karat gold leaf, velvet upholstered walls in jewel-toned colors, intricate glass mosaics and cascading crystals.
The views from either side of the suspended dining room are unlike any other. From the West side, they stretched North from Emirates Palace up the Corniche, and across the Arabian Gulf to the horizon. The tables are adorned with white table clothes, polished silverware, and green silk placemats beneath each hand painted dinner plate. Elegance and sophistication were spared no expense.
Adding to the Ramadan feel were soft lit lanterns and an array of cold mezze that included hummus, tabbouleh, dried fruits and dates – all waiting patiently for the sun to set so that we could break the fast.
An Array of Arabian Ambrosia
With an extensive array of traditional iftar fare, each of the individual rooms around the center sitting room of the suite are set for buffet style dining. But traditional is not the only option, the night we attended there was also steak, roast beef, lobster, king prawns, calamari, etc…which to my mind could be considered more of a feast fit for a special occasion rather than a nightly dining experience.
Juice drinks, soft drinks, and water are available for beverages and served promptly by the waitstaff who attentively brought us whatever we desired.
A dedicated dessert room with Arabic and international options was a necessary visit before we left. Fruit juices and mousse were available in stemmed Champagne glasses, and there were cakes and pastries from every corner of the world. If you wanted something lighter, there was fresh fruit, dried fruits, and an array of nuts and berries. Iftar would not be complete without a traditional Kunafa and Atayef, so a bit of those were an easy selection that made it to my plate.
The Art of Living
Following the magnificent meal, we were invited to view the remainder of the apartment which covers the 48th and 49th floors of the hotel. As we explored the suite, the three bedrooms are larger than some hotel rooms and exquisitely adorned in a traditional royal-Arabic style. The dedicated private spa has space to accommodate two, and the private, four-seat movie theatre allows for the latest screenings at your own leisure.
I have been invited to so many iftars that choosing which ones to attend is now carefully considered, most of them tend to be ‘more of the same’ in the presentation and experience. But Iftar in the Sky is one Iftar that I recommend to everybody in more ways than one. From the feeling of having a ‘special night out’ to the regal cuisine options, it is like no other iftar I have attended and one that I can get behind as a ‘foodie’ as well.
As far as Ramadan experiences go, the St. Regis in Abu Dhabi elevates the benchmark and sets the new standard for luxury dining during the Holy Month in the Capital. Ramadan Kareem!
The Abu Dhabi Suite – The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Every Thursday, Friday, & Saturday during the Holy Month
Dh320* inclusive of all taxes and VAT
Smart Business / Smart Casual
Email: Individual Reservations / Group Reservations
Photo Credit: Some photos were supplied by St. Regis Abu Dhabi
*Price is for 2018, subject to change without notice.