A Dubai hotel suite for those ‘very easily satisfied only with the best’

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DUBAI // A lavish suite named after British wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill was unveiled today at the St Regis Dubai hotel.

Anyone wanting book a stay however, better be prepared for a hefty bill as one night will set you back Dh75,000.

The 913 square metre, two-storey suite is furnished with antiques and art pieces from the Churchill archive.

The opening ceremony was attended by Randolph Churchill, the great-grandson of Sir Winston and Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group.

“My great-grandfather had this wonderful saying,” Mr Churchill said. “He said ‘we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us’.

“And I must say, for the modern vision of Dubai, what you have created here with the Churchill suite is absolutely remarkable. And I can absolutely tell you that when Churchill said ‘I am very easily satisfied only with the best’, you have created that here in absolute spades and I really pay tribute to you for doing that.”

The three-bedroom suite contains 15 paintings, including photographs and portraits of Churchill, some of which he painted himself. They will be permanently displayed in the suite, according to Ignace Bauwens, general manager of the St Regis Dubai.

The suite features a vast living room, a formal 12-seater dining room, a study, lounge area and a spacious majlis for meetings.

“You have truly transported a Churchill on a magic carpet today,” said Mr Churchill. “Everything I see simply delights the eye. This is a wonderful recognition of the bonds between Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates.”

The event was also attended by Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, which owns the hotel.

Mr Al Habtoor donated a 1949 Cuban cigar, La Corona Cubano, which was once given to Sir Churchill by Oscar Preuss, the manager of Parlophone Records. Worth about Dh37,000, the cigar has a special label bearing Churchill’s name.

“He was very rarely seen without a cigar in his hand, it was his signature piece,” Mr Al Habtoor said. “Our relationship with Britain is special. I am proud of Sir Winston Churchill. He was a military man and he was someone who never gave up. I read a lot about him, learnt about his courage and he was a decision-maker. Today, we need leaders.”

Mr Churchill called Dubai a “pure inspiration” for younger generations, in today’s “troubled” world.

“The way that Dubai has successfully used their resources to help educate, create opportunities, build diversified business sectors, and what Al Habtoor has done and created with Al Habtoor City is simply the most remarkable vision and it will last thousands of years,” he said.

“When I look at the difficulties across the Middle East, Dubai and other Gulf states really stand head and shoulders about how you can build a better world. And in today’s age, leadership is what we need so much of.”

As well as being a statesman, writer and orator, Churchill was a respected artist who produced more than 500 canvases over 48 years, although he only discovered the hobby of painting at the age of 40. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.