Inside the Diff 2015 VIP lounge: what awaits the stars

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The 12th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival boasts a VIP lounge hidden deep inside Al Qasr Hotel, a veritable home away from home for celebrity guests: a place to relax, get pampered, indulge in manicures, pedicures and massages courtesy of the Divine Beauty Lounge stations, reenergise with gourmet goodies and leave laden down with bags containing exclusive and quirky items from local and international brands. We takes a peek inside the gift bags at Diff’s 2015 VIP Lounge, and pick out 10 of the standout items.

Monkey Cookies

Originally conceived and born in Kuwait, Monkey Cookies come in all shapes and sizes, and boast interesting flavour combinations. Just the thought of their marshmallow cookies, their Hershey’s cookie or their Nutella brownie bites has us drooling quite unattractively. Celebrities will need a serious workout session after indulging in this particular treat.

Ayaso Boutique

Dreamt up and designed by a mother-daughter duo, women’s clothing line Ayaso combines fashion elements from the United Kingdom, the UAE and Indonesia to create wearable abayas inspired by kimonos and capes. Each uniquely designed item of clothing is a fusion of retro with modern, and modesty with femininity. Celebrities will love adding a Middle Eastern element to their outfits by throwing on an Ayaso piece over a T-shirt and jeans.


A first-timer to the VIP lounge, Moresque’s haute parfumerie products – contained in collectable, beautifully designed bottles – pay tribute to Arabic perfumery through exclusive and modern fragrances that embody the scents of the region. Using rare and locally sourced raw materials, the collection consists of seven distinct, unisex scents from the Black, White and Art collections. This brand, founded in 2014, and based out of Milan, is what luxury would smell like, if it had a scent.


Created in Dubai by founder Hamdan Al Samt, Caliente Caps have become an Emirati brand synonymous with exclusivity. These high end, fashion-forward trucker caps, worn by the likes of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, come in a variety of designs and special editions. Printed with catchy phrases like “But first let me take a selfie” and “#my Dubai”, they are hot around the region right now and were also spotted in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix VIP lounge.

O’de rose

The Dubai-based boutique O’de rose, set up by three cousins who cover Beirut, London, New York and Dubai between them, will be showcasing its eclectic, handmade and hand-picked wares at the VIP Lounge this year, with everything from clothing, accessories, furniture, contemporary art and home decor. The display will feature statement pieces by renowned designers and artisans such as Nada Debs, Name Design Studio, Verreum, Iyad Naja, Sacha Walckhoff, Karen Chekerdjian, Rana Salam, Kafka Goes Pink, Sarah’s Bag, Nada Zeineh, Kalimah Brand, Maria Halios Design and many more.


Celebs are perhaps as well known for their flawless complexions as for their talent on the big screen, and it’s thanks to beauty brands like Shiseido that their skin glows with that star quality. One of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world, Shiseido will be bringing its expertise in skin and cosmetics technology to the VIP lounge this year, offering world-class skin products and treatments to guests. We predict that celebrities will snatch up anything that is SPF 30 and higher, to help protect them from Dubai’s sun.


Rawan Al Fassi studied jewellery at the Gemological Institute of America and has turned her studies into a unique jewellery collection of gold, diamonds and precious stones inspired by her time in New York and Saudi Arabia. The signature collection is based around the humble button, and we are in love with the button earrings (pictured), which come in yellow gold, white gold and rose gold.

Ahmad Kurdi

More jewellery, this time by Ahmad Kurdi. His work is a favourite among Arab heads of state. The Emirati designer has built a reputation for crafting precious, high-end jewellery pieces, and a single piece from the designer can easily become a family heirloom for decades to come. We’re particularly envious of this luxurious gift.

Make Up For Ever

As the lounge’s official make-up partner, celebrated go-to brand Make Up For Ever will have make-up artists on hand to doll up stars and VIPs and send them out to the red carpet with flawless make-up. Celebrities will also receive an Ultra-High Perfection Natural Beauty Box which includes the first 4K Ultra HD Foundation and stick foundation – a light-diffusing and moisturising formula created especially for Hollywood and made to look invisible on camera and to the naked eye. The box will include a multitude of other red carpet must-haves for make-up lovers.

Rivoli Sunglasses

Rivoli Group, renowned in the region for stocking some of the best designer eyewear in the world, will be showcasing sunglasses from new collections by Mont Blanc, Roberto Cavalli, Tod’s and Tom Ford. Celebrities can have their pick! We would love to get our hands on the tortoiseshell frames with green lenses by Tod’s, the classic aviator shape by Mont Blanc, the crystal-studded frames by Roberto Cavalli or the edgy cat-eye frames by Tom Ford.