Earlier this year the Maybourne Hotel Group's senior management toured the Middle East to encourage travel agents to book with this super-luxury chain. When AME Info visited The Berkeley this summer it was clear that they had succeeded.
The first two floors of this bijoux boutique hotel in the heart of London's Knightsbridge shopping district was completely full with guests from Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. This is not so surprising. The Berkeley is a popular choice for Arabian visitors who enjoy its fashion-conscious designer interior and exquisitely appointed rooms.
AME Info narrowly missed trying the best suite, which sadly went to a Russian oligarch at the last minute, but the Wellington Suite also proved an excellent alternative. This traditionally furnished suite named after the victor of Waterloo is one of three to boast its own roof-top garden and conservatory, ideal for business or personal entertaining.
With just 214 rooms and suites, The Berkeley is a member of the exclusive super-luxury hotel group Maybourne, which also owns The Connaught and Claridges, and used to own The Savoy before it was acquired by Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed earlier this year.
The signature restaurant at The Berkeley is Petrus, named after the fabulously expensive eponymous French wine. This is master chef Marcus Wareing's creation and holds a Michelin star. Its elegant saloon is unforgettably lined in maroon-coloured velvet, so the restaurant feels as good as it tastes.
The designer theme continues in the famous Blue Bar, patronized by an arty fashionista set which it arguably the most striking bar in London with its blue interior by David Collins. So popular is the music in this bar that it has a inspired a pleasantly relaxing collection of CDs, the Blue Bar albums.
Perhaps inevitably in a London establishment of this exclusivity, Gordon Ramsay also gets a look in, and Dubai's leading chef has created the Boxwood Café as a British take on an upscale New York café scene.
On the roof of The Berkeley is one of only two swimming pools in London with a retractable roof, just in case the sun is actually shining. There is also a spacious health club to work up an appetite for the restaurants below.
London remains a city of choice for Arabian exiles from the long hot summer, and the streets of Knightsbridge are reminiscent of a shopping mall in Dubai at this time of year. Airline connections are therefore excellent, with Emirates providing the most frequent services at six times a day. But British Airways, Gulf Air, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways and Saudia, all operate regular services.
The competition for the premium passengers is also now very strong, and standards of service are higher than ever. Emirates appears to be back in top form, according to passengers AME Info met, with complaints about declining service standards now seemingly history despite the airline's rapid expansion.
But the acid test of a good hotel is whether you would choose to stay there again. On this score The Berkeley rated highly with room service that was second to none, and a unique location that is also most convenient for Heathrow Airport.