“From its eclectic selection of freshly prepared drinks, the 360 views of the city, and lavishly gastronomic experiences, Stratos promises to take guests on a true journey of the senses.” Stratos
After you have partaken in a jolly delicious brunch served at your table in Market Kitchen (read all about it here in my Divine Dining post), have over-indulged to the max and drunk your way through the mixology menu you would think you should just go home for a little snooze, but no we powered through the urge to collapse in a heap and ascended to the top of the Le Royal Méridien Hotel to try the newly opened 360-degree revolving Lounge, Bar and Grill, Stratos.
I will be totally honest and say that I once went to brunch at the hotel’s revolving restaurant when it was called Al Fanar back in 2009 and it wasn’t that great. It was a tired and old-fashioned restaurant with less than remarkable food and with so many other brunch options available in the capital we never returned, but that was back in the old days and way before the recent extensive refurbishments at the hotel.
The only thing that remains the same is the location on the hotel’s rooftop because now along with a new name on the door, the decor oozes art deco style glamour and sophistication, a spectacular central well-stocked cocktail bar (complete with gold chain curtains) and even a new view across the skyline as the city continuously reinvents itself. First impressions were very good and you know what they say about that!
Master mixologist at work
We were off to a good start when the friendly restaurant manager told us that as ‘brunchers’ from Market Kitchen we were entitled to 50% off our bar bill, what an absolute result, so it was cocktails all round (as if we wouldn’t have indulged anyway without the discount!). The mixology master from the recent bloggers cocktail master class (read about that in Shaken or Stirred post) is the resident stirrer and shaker at Stratos, so I knew we were in for a treat. The leather-bound drinks menu fitted in nicely with the elegant setting as did the choices of classic, elevated (new one on me) and champagne cocktails.
Drinks with a view
The delicious Queen of Tarts
My friend and I took a while to decide on our first cocktail as they all sounded so divine but we finally settled on a ‘Queen of Tarts’ from the elevated cocktail selection, the other half went for a classic G ‘n’ T (his post-brunch drink of choice for longevity) and our friend selected a Tom Collins. As you can see from the photo above, when the Queen of Tarts arrived they were more like pieces of art rather than drinks and not only looked amazing but tasted amazing too. The elevated part being an iced bowl holding the fruit decoration, sat above the combination of Ketel One, Berries, Elderflower, Chambord and Lime Juice, so good I ordered a second! A new one on me and one I will most definitely have again!
The Tom Collins, a combination of Tanqueray Gin, lemon juice and soda water
Le Royal Méridien took their time to open Stratos, after the relaunch of all the other restaurants, to make sure they got it spot on and I think they definitely have! It’s uniqueness as the capitals only revolving lounge bar will attract cocktail lovers, diners and inquisitive tourists. As you take a slow spin around the city on the 26th floor, the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows give you fantastic panoramic views across the city skyline, the Corniche and out across the Arabian Gulf.
We were there at sunset and it was fantastic to watch the view and the bar evolve from day-to-night. Alongside the perfectly presented beverages are lounge and a la carte dining options and a swanky sounding Afternoon Tea (which I am looking forward to sampling at the beginning of next month at a bloggers event – watch this space for all the details).
Stratos (derived from Stratosphere informally meaning the very highest levels of something or the layer of the earth’s atmosphere above the troposphere) has the feel of an exclusive private members club but much less pompous and without the exorbitant membership fees, as its free to enter. The decor is old school chic bringing together a range of eclectic furniture, textiles and quirky artwork all partitioned off into several sections for drinking, dining and high-tea.
Plush, high-backed velvet armchairs sit alongside sofas in a palette of rich golds and black, sheer high gloss furniture gives an elegant feel and sumptuous cushions decorated with playing card motifs are complimented by minimalist sketches of animals dotted around the curved space. A large wall hanging full of keys greets you at the entrance as you leave the lift but it’s not just a piece of art as the keys are for the glass cabinets where regulars can store their wine selections, how very classy!
It’s all in the detail…….
As the various seating areas revolve you pass by the stationary centre section that houses the bar, open kitchen (where you can see the busy chefs at work), wine and champagne racks and bathrooms and if you time it just right you arrive at the toilets, so it isn’t to far to stumble after a brunch and a cocktail or two.
Stratos is most definitely quite posh, a place to see and be seen if you catch my drift, the cocktails are as decadent as the furnishings and I am looking forward to taking our visitors there later this week to show it off and check out the views, after all what’s a better way to see the capital at night but from above, seated in a plush armchair whilst gently revolving with a cocktail in hand! Congratulations Le Royal Méridien, Stratos really is a triumphant!
Stratos at night (source:www.stratosabudhabi.com)
Stratos Revolving Lounge, Bar and Grill
Open: Monday to Wednesday and Saturday – 3pm to 2am. Thursday and Friday – 3pm to 3am. Sunday – Closed.
Location: Le Royal Méridien Hotel
Telephone: 800 101 101
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.