This hotel was one of the first “Arabian”themed hotels and the architecture is very traditional..in my humble opinion, this style of architecture works phenomenally well in this part of the world….it blends in with the surrounding landscape and creates hidden and mysterious courtyards with fountains and domed hallways. The sound of fountains gently trickling can be heard everywhere and the entrance to the main hotel features a fountain which is filled with rose petals daily…what luxury! The gardens are lush and green and exquisitely maintained and this resort is truly an escape from the dust and sand of the desert.
The decor is traditional with an Arabic feel, but the domes are really very traditional Arabic in design and decoration. We used traditional patterns and combined them with strong colour and touches of gold leaf …the whole concept was very tasteful and despite the hotel being over 5 years old, it still feels very current and fresh.
I was fortunate enough to get the project to work on some of the decorative domes in the Arabian Court,and I also worked on a massive dome in the spa entrance (see image above), which was about 25 meters off the ground…quite nerve wracking to say the least!We had to climb a set of stairs every day to get to a platform with a trapdoor and that was where you had to stay until you simply HAD to go back down to answer the call of nature!
The arches were plastered with alight gold Venetian Plaster and then we stenciled a design over that which complemented the dome design above.
I still frequent the hotel on a fairly regular basis as their afternoon tea is spectacular….my tea of choice is Earl Grey loose-leaf tea,which is served in a silver tea pot with linen napkins and china. The waiter then brings you a cake stand which holds small sandwiches, Arabic sweets and pastries or scones and cream…..it is positively decadent and the most wonderful and uplifting treat when one feels a bit down or if you have something to celebrate…..I have celebrated my birthday at the Royal Mirage for the last three years and I love it! It is very civilised and in the winter months, the outdoor terrace is the place to be…with the breeze coming off the sea and the sound of the pianist drifting out through the open doors. It is absolute bliss!
While browsing the fabulous blog Cote de Texas, I saw these wonderful images of stenciled columns in one of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s client’s houses-these images are from his new book…a definite must on my to buy list, that is for sure!!
This look fits in with Middle Eastern architecture exceptionally well and one of my first projects I did in the UAE involved emulating hand painted Moroccan tiles, because my client was unable to get the exact colour she wanted in real ceramic tiles…so we laser cut stencils and hand stenciled and painted each column….it took me months…but the result was incredible!
Unfortunately, as is so often the case, I never got to see the finished result as my work was completed before the upholstery and curtains were installed. The same client also had her bedroom painted by another decorative artist to look like an Egyptian themed room….it was magnificent , with 24 karat gold leaf applied to the walls and ceilings and Egyptian hieroglyphs on every surface . Neither of us saw that room completed either but I did manage to take a few images of my work just prior to leaving the site….
We added gold leaf to the very ornate cornice and around the top of the column.
Can you believe that this work was all done on a room which was a family room and breakfast area off the kitchen-the kitchen was fitted by a German company who flew their technicians out from Germany to personally take care of the installation…it was a spectacular kitchen, I have to say! My client was a wonderful Emirati lady whom I recently bumped into while doing some grocery shopping!
These images of my work below, are niches which I painted and gold leafed in the One and Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court Hotel…..the intricacy and precision of the designs are extremely difficult to maintain but somehow my assistant at the time, and I were able to accomplish what I believe was an accurate depiction of classic Moroccan style tiles.
Looking at what Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s decorative painter did for him has made me think that I actually like the aged look of his designs better!!