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30 December, 2002

Jumeira Beach Hole

The world's dross, tack and riff-raff overrun the JBH - it must have the most downmarket clientele of any hotel in the Emirates. From shaven-headed British lobsters baking themselves on the crowded tiny beach - only a stage less appetising in appearance than the nightly buffet - to Eastern Europeans of questionable profession tottering around in bikinis and six-inch heels, hanging off the arms of their "grandfathers", this is a crucible of cringe.

Last night we fled this hell, escaping by abra over the creek just before sunset. Blustery winds drove huge flocks of gulls onto the water, the air was thick with white wings, we sailed past skyscrapers gleaming with reflected gold, big wooden dhows unloading dubious wares from Iran, all the way to Deira-side and a long trek on foot to Cucina at the Marriott.

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