Some names are synonymous with luxury. Carlton is one of the best known. The original Carlton hotel opened in London, named after Carlton House, the 18th-century home of the Prince of Wales, whose site it occupied.
Dozens of hotels have since associated themselves with the name, including the Ritz-Carlton brand and the Carlton Cannes, scene last month of one of the biggest jewel thefts in history. Such glamour and excitement might not have attached themselves to the original Carlton hotel in Dubai, but when it opened in the mid 1960s, it was one of the first modern hotels in the city. Its presence signalled a city on the up. Street lighting had recently been installed, there was running water in every home and a major port was under construction.
There is a Carlton Tower Hotel in Dubai today, as well as two Ritz-Carltons in the city and another in Abu Dhabi. But no matter how luxurious by today’s standards, it is doubtful they can match the relief of weary travellers arriving at the original Dubai Carlton back in the 1960s.
* James Langton