Fast-forward and this five-star international brand operates a revered property, even in a city where travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to fine dining and very fine hotels.
At first, the notion of a pyramid might seem incongruous. Then, in a city that created a palm-shaped set of islands in the ocean and put a ski slope in what was once desert, it actually seems rather fitting.
The theme continues inside the hotel and beyond to Wafi Mall, connected directly to Raffles Dubai beyond the lobby.
Hand your car keys to the valet and opulence and attentive service instantly take over.
The shape of the hotel makes for interesting geography, with each landing overlooking the huge lobby and leading to gently lit corridors.
Open the door to your room and the curtains begin to slide back automatically to allow sunshine into the unconventionally shaped room, a comfortable, stylish, yet more traditional environment than some parts of the building.
The decadent theme does, however, filter to the pool area.
Perched in the cooling water with a refreshing Raffles-invented Singapore Sling in hand is a good place to ponder how this level fits onto a pyramid.
TOMO serves authentic Japanese dishes on the 17th floor while Solo Bistronomia & Vino Bar trades in Italian goodies.
Azur is the all-day dining restaurant where you can start your day with breakfast and out front, by the entrance, you’ll find exquisite French cuisine at La Residence www.mustdodubai.com/blog/-amazing-mash-just-part-of-gallic-greatness.
With the nights getting cool enough to eat outside again, though, and there are few more tranquil places to enjoy al fresco dining than in the Raffles Garden.
The grassy area is cunningly located over the roof of Wafi Mall and features 12 open-air cabanas in a 1,500sq m “oasis” of greenery for an intimate experience.
The Arabic seating theme extends to a menu populated by familiar and less obvious options and all seem to come in generous portions, so take a hearty appetite.
That includes the starters.
Lamb Makanek - cocktail-sized Lebanese sausages - was a healthy helping of gently spiced meaty mouthfuls plentiful enough to share without our order of Chilli and Zaatar Fried Shrimps.
That said, the latter were not to be missed, the punchy sauce clinging to the seafood for a gorgeous treat ahead of the mains of Egyptian-style Lamb Tajine Bamia and Fish Tajine Moroccan Style.
The fish was not without enticing aromas either. A broad oval dish arrived with the large, whole fish set beside vegetables and a helping of couscous.
With the take-out box threatening a visit, there was little belly room for seeking out desserts. But that, along with the humidity subsiding, is reason enough to return to Raffles Garden, even without a reservation to stay in one of those inviting bedrooms.
And, if you fancy dancing away the calories, you could always head to the top of the pyramid to People By Crystal nightclub.
FIND Raffles Dubai on Sheikh Rashid Road, next to Wafi Mall and beside Healthcare City. To discover more about its facilities, including the Raffles Spa with its decadent 24-carat Egyptian Gold Facial, visit www.raffles.com/dubai/
Built around a centerpiece glass dome, the Eye of Horus, Raffles Garden takes its design inspiration from the four elements of life, namely water, air, fire and earth. To reserve a table, contact 04 324 8888 or email email@example.com